State Assembly 57 Phara Souffrant Forrest


Social media:

  1. What type of housing do you currently live in?
    Regulated Rental Apt
  2. Are you, or have you ever been, a landlord?
    1. If yes, where & how many apts. do/did you own?
  3. Does your campaign accept contributions from real estate developers (including related individuals), corporate lobbyists, organizations that participate in the carceral system, and/or landlords?
  4. Have you ever worked in, or had another affiliation with, the Real Estate industry? No
  5. Have any of your campaign or advisory staff held a position as a corporate lobbyist or an executive role with the Real Estate industry?
    1. If so, how can we be assured you will have tenants’ interests in mind?  (250 characters) 

Values and Vision

  • Do you believe housing is a human right?
    • If so, what does that mean to you?   (500 characters)      
      I’m a tenant and believe that tenants, not landlords, should democratically control their apartment buildings.
  • What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)             
    I was first compelled to start organizing in response to my landlord’s attempts to evict my family and my neighbors in order to turn our apartments into luxury condos for the super-rich. My first trips to Albany were as part of the tenant movement during our push for the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, and I have been an active member of the Crown Heights Tenants Union.
  • What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a state representative?  (1000 characters)
    Evictions are a form of violence that inflict untold trauma on working-class communities, especially immigrant communities and communities of color. I am very proud to be a cosponsor of the bill to prohibit eviction without Good Cause (A5573), as I unequivocally believe all tenants should live without the fear of eviction when their lease comes up for renewal.
  • I am also a proud cosponsor for the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (A5971), which will provide a vital pathway for tenants who would otherwise be at risk of eviction and displacement to stay in their homes and take control over those homes back from landlords and wealthy real estate interests.
  • Have you or anyone close to you (relation, friend, etc) been evicted or been threatened with eviction?
  • Have you ever had to fight a landlord for repairs or faced harassment?
  • Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?
    • Please explain your answer (500 characters)       
      Every New Yorker has the right to a safe, stable and affordable place to live. Our current system to provide housing in New York is at the hands of profit-driven real estate developers that would rather evict an entire rent-stabilized building and convert it into luxury condos than work to create a world where we can live in peace, without fear of ending up on the streets if our landlords decide they can make more money from someone else. Roughly 1.6 million households in New York are vulnerable to losing their homes. We must transform housing from a vehicle for individuals’ profit into a collective, socially controlled good.
  • Do you believe in publicly owned and controlled housing?
  • What is one rent and/or eviction protection you would enact if you had the opportunity?   (500 characters)
    I am a proud cosponsor of the bill to prohibit eviction without good cause (A5573). Passing this has been and continues to be a major priority for me.
  • Do you agree that all evictions are bad?
    • If no, why not?   (500 characters)
  • Do you support the concept of universal rent control?

Overview on Housing

  1. Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and other privatization schemes?
    1. Please explain why or why not (250 characters)
      Any notion of private management or ownership would have brutal repercussions on NYCHA residents, workers and our city. Workplace safety and union labor must be a part of any public work. Any redevelopment for NYCHA housing must follow this premise.
  2. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect, and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?             (500 characters)            
    I am committed to keeping public housing in public ownership while addressing the drastic need for repairs. I support fully funding NYCHA, beginning with the State reassuming its financial responsibility by committing billions in Capital and Operating funds. In order to resolve the housing crisis, we need to expand the development of deeply affordable housing in a democratic, public way. A social housing authority would allow us to do this, creating quality jobs and guaranteeing housing for all.
  3. Do you support setting aside 15% of all units created in new state-subsidized affordable housing projects for homeless families and individuals?
  4. How would you use your office to put pressure on landlords to make repairs and stop harassing tenants?  (500 characters)
    I’m an organizer at heart, and I will continue to use my State Assembly office and our Constituent Services team to support tenants and homeowners in the district who are organizing for a more equitable community. We are currently helping connect tenants within a building with similar issues, and developing their capacity to work together to pressure landlords to complete neglected repairs.
  5. Do you support regulating the 300,000 deregulated rent-stabilized apartments?
  6. Will you support increased funding and oversight hearings of DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration to ensure timely responses?
  7. How will you ensure people who owe back rent due to COVID are not evicted and do not continue to owe money?   (500 characters)
    I support a universal rent cancellation (A2617A) for owed money and fees incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect truly small landlords and homeowners, I also support the creation of a mom and pop landlord hardship fund.
  8. Would you support financial and criminal penalties against landlords and brokers that deny a prospective tenant housing based on using a tenant blacklist?

Current Bills and Campaigns

  • Do you support Good Cause Eviction Protections?
  • If Good Cause is not passed this session, what will you do to ensure it gets passed in 2023?  (500 characters)
    I will continue to build the public pressure that I and other legislators supportive of Good Cause are mounting on our colleagues and on leadership to co-sponsor this legislation and to bring it to a vote. Our campaign and office will spread the word and encourage constituents to call their elected officials in support of Good Cause.
  • Will you support ending MCIs?
  • Will you commit to fully funding the Housing Access Voucher Program?
  • Do you support the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)?
  • How will you support tenants in your district opting into TOPA?  (500 characters)
    Our office, which has already spent the past year organizing tenants and providing guidance around complicated bureaucratic systems, can support tenants opting into TOPA by helping them to navigate the process, and by providing widespread education and information through teach-ins and our newsletter.
  • Do you support the move to legalize basement apartments and ADUs?
  • Do you support tenants’ right to collective bargaining?
  • Do you support 421a or Gov Hochul’s proposed 485w?
  • Do you support fully funding the Excluded Workers fund?
  • Do you support the “Excluded No More” bill?
  • Are you committed to making sure every tenant in the state has free access to counsel in Housing Court?
  • Will you commit to fully funding statewide Right to Counsel in 2023’s budget?