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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’ve been a housing organizer for over 20 years, I founded the Bushwick Housing Independence Project, a tenant organizing initiative. I was also a founding member of CHANGER, a homeowners membership-based organizing initiative that organized black and latino homeowners during the financial crisis of 2008. I have been advancing social housing my entire public service career. I was also the citywide director of the Tenants Interim Lease program (TIL) at HPD, and became an HPD whistleblower.
3. What type of housing do you currently live in?
Unregulated 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)
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)
The city’s most pressing issue is a three decade long problem with administrative housing corruption, negligence, and mismanagement; HPD, NYCHA, and DHS are all plagued by these problems. We need more than just dedicated Housing Activists and pro-Tenant elected officials. We need pro-Tenant senior managers and that path to get that is through electing Pro-Tenant city council members like myself who have the direct experience and knowledge of how to conduct rigorous oversight hearings over housing programs and policies to root out corruption, negligence, and mismanagement from our city’s housing agencies. Our Mitchell Lama stock, HDFC stock, and rent-regulated housing stock are all in great peril because of failure to enforce the housing code and to allow negligent management to become chronic practice. HPD has had 7 different whistleblowers in the past 5 years alone, including myself. It’s time to bring the 3 decades long era of administrative housing corruption to an end!
9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified? The city’s most pressing issue is a three decade long problem with administrative housing corruption, negligence, and mismanagement; HPD, NYCHA, and DHS are all plagued by these problems. We need more than just dedicated Housing Activists and pro-Tenant elected officials. We need pro-Tenant senior managers and that path to get that is through electing Pro-Tenant city council members like myself who have the direct experience and knowledge of how to conduct rigorous oversight hearings over housing programs and policies to root out corruption, negligence, and mismanagement from our city’s housing agencies. Our Mitchell Lama stock, HDFC stock, and rent-regulated housing stock are all in great peril because of failure to enforce the housing code and to allow negligent management to become chronic practice. HPD has had 7 different whistleblowers in the past 5 years alone, including myself. It’s time to bring the 3 decades long era of administrative housing corruption to an end!
9a. What would you do as an elected representative to move that vision forward? (500 characters)
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?
Fully fund NYCHA! Oppose ALL RAD Conversions planned and in process! I am and intend to continue to be unequivocally and uncompromisingly committed to preserving public housing as 100% public in every aspect. I believe RAD is the most dangerous threat that the institution of public housing has every faced in this country. It must be stopped in its tracks. I believe that now, have always believed it, and will continue to believe it for every single day that I am in elected office.
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? No
19. What standards would a rezoning need to meet for you to support it? (500 characters)
100% affordability tied to local median income on a community district level with the primacy of cooperative ownership or community land trust over any other form or model of development.
20. What reforms to zoning would you propose to increase community input into development? (500 characters)
Essential workers, municipal workers, and low-income senior citizens should have the first rght to housing opportunities under a preferential development model. Any development project must provide a NET increase in the total number of affordable housing units with affordability determined by community district income levels.
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 10% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers 90%
23. What is/has been the most important land use fight in your district and what position did you take on it? (500 characters)
MIH. I vociferously opposed its implementation.
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)
I will introduce legislation to create a License for Landlords. Landlords who are serial violators of the housing code in 1 or more buildings, will lose their Licenses, and will be unable to operate as Landlords.
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)
I do not support HOTEL SHELTERS, but I do support well-run shelters to address the unique needs of certain homeless individuals and families.
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)
I would use every source of available current data to press the case every year to the RGB!
36. Have you ever testified on behalf of tenants at a public hearing of the RGB? Yes
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