Justin Krebs

Justin Krebs

justin2021.org

Twitter: @justinmkrebs Instagram: instagram.com/justinkrebsnyc

Do you believe housing is a human right? Yes

What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)

As my first job in government, I helped constituents navigate complicated situations with landlords as a constituent liaison in the office of US Senator Hillary Clinton. That work showed me what I would later experience time and time again in NYC, especially as the co-founder of The Tank theater which has had to move multiple times in its existence — some landlords will kick you out to build luxury housing, increase your rent exorbitantly without warning, or fail to make basic repairs.

3. What type of housing do you currently live in?              

Limited Equity Coop

4. Are you, or have you ever been, a landlord? No

4a. If yes, where & how many apts. did you own?

5. Does your campaign accept contributions from real estate developers (including related individuals), corporate lobbyists, organizations that participate in the carceral system, and/or landlords? No

6. Have you ever worked in, or had another affiliation with, the Real Estate industry?  No

7. Have any of your campaign or advisory staff held a position as a corporate lobbyist or an executive role with the Real Estate industry? No

6. & 7. If so, how can we be assured you will have tenants’ interests in mind?  (250 characters)

8. What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a City Council Member?  (1000 characters)

In Council District 39, there have been numerous debates over creating housing for the unhoused, and often these conversations reflect how broken our public capacity to serve the homeless is. I want to increase investment in deeply affordable units and ensure that affordable housing built on public land is actually targeting low income households making less than 50% AMI. And we must do more to prevent homelessness. The number of unhoused children or children in transitional housing in our school system dwarfs the size of most school systems across the country. Part of it requires investing in mental health, public health, job training — as well as supportive services, high speed internet and other interventions for those in transitional housing. And I would work to protect against displacement from non-rent-stabilized units and support efforts to cancel rent for the many New Yorkers who have struggled to make ends meet this past year.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  In Council District 39, there have been numerous debates over creating housing for the unhoused, and often these conversations reflect how broken our public capacity to serve the homeless is. I want to increase investment in deeply affordable units and ensure that affordable housing built on public land is actually targeting low income households making less than 50% AMI. And we must do more to prevent homelessness. The number of unhoused children or children in transitional housing in our school system dwarfs the size of most school systems across the country. Part of it requires investing in mental health, public health, job training — as well as supportive services, high speed internet and other interventions for those in transitional housing. And I would work to protect against displacement from non-rent-stabilized units and support efforts to cancel rent for the many New Yorkers who have struggled to make ends meet this past year.

9a. What would you do as an elected representative to move that vision forward? (500 characters)

Maybe

10. Do you support the move to legalize basement apts?  Yes

11. Do you support the concept of rent regulation and eviction protections? Yes

12. Do you believe in publicly owned and controlled housing? Yes

13. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?

We need to provide additional City capital budget support for NYCHA repairs in tandem with greater state funding. I am opposed to privatizing NYCHA. I would support greater resident involvement in the governance of NYCHA as a requirement for any additional City funding. I would commit to working with NYCHA residents and community stakeholders to create and implement a resident-led oversight council that helps oversee spending and execution of repairs, capital improvements, and structures.

14. Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)/ PACT program and other privatization schemes? No

15. Would you support an immediate moratorium on the sale or lease of all City-owned land and air rights to for-profit developers? Depends

16. Would you require that any housing built on public land be 100% permanently affordable to low- and extremely-low income New Yorkers? Yes

17. Would you aggressively use City programs and eminent domain to take ownership of distressed properties and transfer them to community control such as Community Land Trusts?      Yes

18. Would you end the custom of deferring to local council members on land use decisions? Yes

19. What standards would a rezoning need to meet for you to support it? (500 characters)

First, the city has to be looking at racial impact as well as environmental impact. I am supportive of comprehensive planning; of identifying our real needs in affordable housing, community benefits, environmental infrastructure, and more; and of putting a community-centered need forward that we then develop with public, non-profit and private partners. We also need to have higher standards of demands for affordable housing, shared public space, and amenities.

20. What reforms to zoning would you propose to increase community input into development?  (500 characters)

First, the city has to be looking at racial impact as well as environmental impact. I am supportive of comprehensive planning; of identifying our real needs in affordable housing, community benefits, environmental infrastructure, and more; and of putting a community-centered need forward that we then develop with public, non-profit and private partners. We also need to have higher standards of demands for affordable housing, shared public space, and amenities.

21. Would you pass and enforce a true racial impact study as part of any rezoning?  Yes

Percentage of people who are below 200% of the poverty line 25% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  25%

23. What is/has been the most important land use fight in your district and what position did you take on it?  (500 characters)

The Gowanus Green development. I support the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice; if their dealbreakers are met, I would follow their lead in support of this project — which seems like an opportunity for community organizations to have the most leverage.  That leverage can be used to force the considerations on the environment, community investment and even outside of the actual rezoning area to reap benefits and attention to NYCHA tenants as well.

24. Would you support increased funding and oversight of NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Mayor’s Tenant Protection Unit to educate tenants on their rights to organize in NYC rental buildings? YesYes

25. Will you support the City seeking injunctions against the landlords on the Right to Counsel’s “worst evictors list,” barring worst evictors from bringing eviction cases while under investigation, and implementing good cause evictions protections? Yes

26. Do you support expanding funding and oversight of the City’s emergency repair program to correct hazardous violations and send the owner the bill? Yes

27. How would you use your office to put pressure on landlords to make repairs and stop harassing tenants?  (500 characters)

One important step is ensuring the Right to Counsel for all tenants and force mediations in all procedures so landlords can stop exploiting an unfair system to push tenants out rather than working with them. This past year has shown clearly how vulnerable our tenants are; many are unable to access the resources necessary to protect themselves. The expansion of the Right to Counsel has gone too slowly and this is an issue that we can fix legislatively.

28. Do you support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA—Int 0737-2018) and Commercial Rent Stabilization bill (Int 1796-2019) currently in committee in the City Council?Yes

29. Do you support converting hotel rooms into permanently affordable apts? Yes

30. Would you end the practice of police responding to people who are homeless?  Yes

31. Would you oppose homeless shelters being built in your district? No

31a. Why or why not?  (500 characters)

No — but we need to start thinking proactively about the best ways to address homelessness’ root cause, and not use reactive policies to address its outcomes. We need to increase investment in deeply affordable units; do everything we can to create supportive housing for the formerly homeless including buying bankrupt hotels, converting existing DHS shelters to higher quality, permanent, affordable housing with service enhanced transitional units; and support efforts to cancel rent.

32. Do you agree that all evictions are bad? Yes

32a. If no, why not?

33. Are you committed to making sure every tenant has free access to counsel in Housing Court? Yes

34. Would you support an eviction moratorium every winter (Heat Season Oct. 1-May 31)?  Yes

35. Do you believe that the Rent Guidelines Board should lower rents for rent stabilized tenants? Yes

35a. If yes, what will you do to influence the board to do so?  (500 characters)
Yes, but the avenues through which we can do so pragmatically are varied. First, we can be changing the guidelines for rent increases for MCI and IAI so landlords aren’t able to take advantage of loopholes and make previously affordable housing, unaffordable. Second, we need to work with the future mayor to appoint a board that puts tenant rights first. Third, we can use the power of the office to organize proactive coalitions of tenants that will pressure the board to make the right decision.

36. Have you ever testified on behalf of tenants at a public hearing of the RGB? No

37. Do you support restricting the ability of landlords to discriminate and surveil tenants through the use of technologies such as key fobs, smartphone apps, and facial recognition to gain entry into their apartment units and/or buildings? Yes

38. Will you commit to only vote for a budget that decreases funding to the NYPD? Yes