State Senate 17 Francoise Olivas

Website: www.olivasforny.com

Social media: @olivasforny @olivasforny

  1. What type of housing do you currently live in?
    Regulated Rental Apt
  2. Are you, or have you ever been, a landlord?
    No
    1. If yes, where & how many apts. do/did you own?
      N/A
  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?
    No
  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?
     No
    1. If so, how can we be assured you will have tenants’ interests in mind?  (250 characters) 
      N/A

Values and Vision

  • Do you believe housing is a human right?
    Yes
    • If so, what does that mean to you?   (500 characters)      
      Everyone is entitled to a safe, secure, and clean home. Having a stable home not only improves someone’s quality of life, it improves a child’s mental and emotional development, and home ownership adds to a person’s financial stability.
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    • As someone who was homeless when I was 14, which my mother bravely disguised as  sleepaway camp on scholarship, a safe place to call home is deeply personal to me. When the pandemic hit, I went into overdrive making sure my neighbors had what they needed.
  • What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)             
    I have advocated and continue to advocate for affordable, clean housing for our seniors. THe amount of seniors who have lived decades without heat and hot water in NYCHA/now RAD developments is unacceptable. No human should live in these conditions. 
  • I am also organizing tenants who live in  socio-economic segregation along the Greenpoint waterfront under the guides of 421A. The buildings are separated and have been neglected by management and elected officials.
  • What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a state representative?  (1000 characters)
    Affordability
  • New York City is the largest landlord in the 5-boroughs. Studies prove that long-term and lifelong renters keep people in poverty. I will work with city agencies and lenders to get low-income New Yorkers off the rent rolls and make them homeowners for the first time in their lives. I will realign the “rent to income” ratio to make existing affordable units more manageable. The current formula is too high for city salaries.
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  • NYCHA
  • NYCHA residents have been disrespected by the city, state, and federal governments for decades, and it needs to stop. When a system is divided up among Federal, State, and City agencies the result is multi-level blame-fest with no accountability.
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  • Homeless Shelters
  • We need to replace the current failed system with a Provisional Housing Program (PHP) that provides supportive services in a safe, well-maintained environment. PHP or Supportive Service Housing provides a roadmap to a better life for those among us who need our help.
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  • Have you or anyone close to you (relation, friend, etc) been evicted or been threatened with eviction?
    Yes
  • Have you ever had to fight a landlord for repairs or faced harassment?
    No
  • Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?
    Yes
    • Please explain your answer (500 characters)       
      We need to look into this a little further.  We look forward to discussing this at the interview, along with many other topics. A families wealth lies in their property and without a stable home we are failing so many in our society. I will fight for the right of everyone person to have a safe, stable, and secure home. And I know I am the right candidate to defend and support the residents of District 17. Together with the MET Council I know we can get this done.
  • Do you believe in publicly owned and controlled housing?
    Yes
  • What is one rent and/or eviction protection you would enact if you had the opportunity?   (500 characters)
    I would ensure that everyone had free legal services from start to finish and emergency programs, provisions and grants  that help people stay in their homes. As well we need additional public housing built.
  • Do you agree that all evictions are bad?
    Yes
    • If no, why not?   (500 characters)
      N/A
  • Do you support the concept of universal rent control?
    Yes

Overview on Housing

  • Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and other privatization schemes?
    No
    • Please explain why or why not (250 characters)
      With privatization specifically, we are seeing an increase in rents which will lead to more low income residents becoming homeless. We need to fully support these programs. RAD has done more damage to tenants than help.
  • NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect, and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?             (500 characters)            
    We need to get funding from the state and federal legislatures. Without more funding these programs will collapse, leaving so many behind after years of helping low income families find homes. We need to continue to find ways to expand affordable housing and the NYCHA program. Our low income residents deserve better and higher quality properties, the neglected NYCHA properties are a stain on our city and they need to be fixed.
  • Do you support setting aside 15% of all units created in new state-subsidized affordable housing projects for homeless families and individuals?
    Yes
  • How would you use your office to put pressure on landlords to make repairs and stop harassing tenants?  (500 characters)
    We will do a roundtable with landlords and tenants associations to discover how we can resolve these issues. Opening the discussion is the beginning to fix this problem. Coming together we can begin to work together. Limiting rent hikes, ensuring repairs and improvements are made, and ending harassment from landlords that so many deal with.
  • Do you support regulating the 300,000 deregulated rent-stabilized apartments?
    Yes
  • Will you support increased funding and oversight hearings of DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration to ensure timely responses?
    Yes
  • How will you ensure people who owe back rent due to COVID are not evicted and do not continue to owe money?   (500 characters)
    The state needs to expand the rental assistance programs. We need to find a way to help those with back rent while ensuring landlords are able to pay their mortgage and property taxes.  Many landlords own one or two properties, making them small businesses. We can not say we support small businesses and those with other sources of income if we leave them behind in forgiving millions of dollars in rent.  When forgiving rent, mortgages need to be forgiven and property taxes need to be reevaluated.
  • Would you support financial and criminal penalties against landlords and brokers that deny a prospective tenant housing based on using a tenant blacklist?
    Yes

Current Bills and Campaigns

  • Do you support Good Cause Eviction Protections?
    Yes
  • If Good Cause is not passed this session, what will you do to ensure it gets passed in 2023?  (500 characters)
    If not passed, I will work with the sponsors of the bill to bring on those that voted no. Working with tenant organizations and other leaders to help propose a bill that will get to the Governor’s desk. Capping rent prices will help control our rent crises, keep New York competitive and attractive to new residents, and ensure our residents can afford quality housing.
  • Will you support ending MCIs?
    Yes
  • Will you commit to fully funding the Housing Access Voucher Program?
    Yes
  • Do you support the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA)?
    Yes
  • How will you support tenants in your district opting into TOPA?  (500 characters)
    First, I would support senate Bill S3175 when I am elected to the state senate. This bill establishes  the TOPA program and creates a path for homeownership. This is incredibly important for stability, wealth creation, and family security. I will work with those in my district to help move as many of our residents into this program and fight for those lacking the means to enter the program. We owe it to those like our seniors and others that deserve a stable, safe place to live.
  • Do you support the move to legalize basement apartments and ADUs?
    Yes
  • Do you support tenants’ right to collective bargaining?
    Yes
  • Do you support 421a or Gov Hochul’s proposed 485w?
    No
  • Do you support fully funding the Excluded Workers fund?
    Yes
  • Do you support the “Excluded No More” bill?
    Yes
  • Are you committed to making sure every tenant in the state has free access to counsel in Housing Court?
    Yes
  • Will you commit to fully funding statewide Right to Counsel in 2023’s budget?
    Yes