Michael Hollingsworth

Michael Hollingsworth

m4bk.com

Twitter: @mike4brooklyn Instagram: www.instagram.com/mike4brooklyn/

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)

I have organized dozens of buildings with the CHTU, building tenant power. I have fought alongside Met Council starting in 2018 just prior to us winning the HSTPA, and in the RJC and RTC coalitions where we secured a rent freeze and the establishment and extension of eviction moratoriums. Along with 2 of my neighbors, I won the annulment of the 2018 Franklin Avenue Rezoning in order to protect my neighbors from displacement. I’m working to #CancelRent alongside CHTU and MCH members.

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

Regulated Rental Apt

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)

N/A

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)

My fellow tenants and I spent several months developing a housing platform that centered our needs and experiences as tenants in a working-class community of color, as well as our work as volunteer organizers within the broader movement. The categories we chose to focus on include:

– #EvictionFreeNY and the permanent end to all evictions

– Building tenant power to grow the movement

– Strengthening and expanding Social and Public Housing

– Empowering Black and brown working-class communities, not corporate developers

– Ending homelessness

– Protecting homeowners

You can find details of the platform at m4bk.com/housing, and I’d love to hear Met Council’s feedback and talk about ways we can partner together to make this vision a reality.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  My fellow tenants and I spent several months developing a housing platform that centered our needs and experiences as tenants in a working-class community of color, as well as our work as volunteer organizers within the broader movement. The categories we chose to focus on include:

– #EvictionFreeNY and the permanent end to all evictions

– Building tenant power to grow the movement

– Strengthening and expanding Social and Public Housing

– Empowering Black and brown working-class communities, not corporate developers

– Ending homelessness

– Protecting homeowners

You can find details of the platform at m4bk.com/housing, and I’d love to hear Met Council’s feedback and talk about ways we can partner together to make this vision a reality.

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

Yes

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?

NYS must pass the Invest in our New York Act; the federal government must pass a Green New Deal for Public Housing. NYC needs to make a significant increase in its capital budget for NYCHA. Our leaders have been robbing NYCHA of  resources, and, much as with our state electeds’ rent relief, it makes no sense to create a program for tenants but not allow them to lead its development and implementation. NYCHA residents must finally be trusted to make these choices themselves.

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? Yes

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)

As rezonings are currently saddled with MIH, an altogether unworkable program, I would not support rezoning under the current structure and will hold myself to a moratorium on all rezonings until a new system is in place. CHTU and Met Council teamed up in 2016 to push back on the passage of this program because we knew it would displace our neighbors. We need an entirely new program, one centering tenants and local residents rather than compromising for meager scraps of “affordable” housing.

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

Community Boards should be elected and have a binding say in the approval process. We must require developers to come to a community when the process begins before they talk to agencies or politicians to ensure ULURP actually reflects communities’ needs. We need comprehensive citywide planning that isn’t top-down and accounts for the nuances of every neighborhood. Tenants must be at the wheel because we have the most to lose and the most people affected by development.

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 20% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  10%

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 Bedford-Union Armory ushered in a slew of additional spot rezonings we’ve had to fight over the last 4 years. We lost that fight, but we learned lessons that led us to get one of those spot rezonings annulled. The Our Armory Coalition (CHTU included) took the position that public land shouldn’t be developed as for-profit housing, and that it was feasible to build a CLT as a new community-controlled type of public housing providing deeply affordable units along with units for all incomes.

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)

What will move landlords is substantial fines, public shaming, and taking away their ability to abuse tenants. I can hold press conferences at landlords’ offices and homes and give tenants the power of the office to fight back. Above all, we can build power by organizing new TAs to grow the movement. Press conferences, grilling HPD, or court appearances all help, but organizing our neighbors is the sustainable way to ensure no one falls through the cracks or faces their landlord on their own.

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)

The man-made homelessness crisis in our city is unconscionable. To resolve it, we have to stop displacement and get homeless folks into supportive, stable housing. But until we eliminate homelessness, we’ll continue to need safe, clean, accessible shelters, and every district needs to make room; I’ll fight to make sure that the wealthier areas of NYC can’t shirk their responsibility, and that reactionaries like Bob Holden don’t win the narrative by demonizing our unhoused neighbors.

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

32a. If no, why not? ALL evictions are violent. An #EvictionFreeNY is absolutely possible—the past year proves that!

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)
I will invite the Rent Justice Coalition to use my position and influence to win a rollback. Since the RGB increasingly limits tenant testimony and participation,we need to lobby the full council, mayor, and RGB to attend a People’s RGB Hearing. There should be a total blackout of all official hearings and meetings. We must also pass legislation giving the council a role in the process of RGB member appointments immediately!

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