State Senate 21 Kaegan Mays-Williams


Social media:

  1. What type of housing do you currently live in?
    Own a co-op, condo or private home
  2. Are you, or have you ever been, a landlord?
    1. If yes, where & how many apts. do/did you own?
      My mother did own a property in my name for 10yrs where one family lived for 8 years after which my mother sold it 2years later. I was never a landlord, but technically a co-owner.
  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) 
      Witnessing too many BIPOC families getting priced out and displaced from their homes is one of the main reasons why I decided to run for office. I reject all real estate and corporate PAC money.

Values and Vision

  • Do you believe housing is a human right?
    • If so, what does that mean to you?   (500 characters)      
      Everyone deserves a safe place to live where there is heat when it’s cold out, functioning A/C or other cooling methods when it’s hot out, running hot and cold water that is potable, plumbing that works, and doors and windows that lock securely. Housing should have functioning appliances, should not have ongoing leaks or rodent/insect infestations, and should be a safe place for individuals and families to find shelter and peace when times are tough.
  • What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)             
    Last winter, I attended a rally and march to extend the housing moratorium and have posted my views on social media. I do realize that the housing moratorium was a band-aid that simply exposed that our housing system does not operate to shelter the most vulnerable within society.
  • What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a state representative?  (1000 characters)
    In SD 21, many homeowners are working-class BIPOC and/or immigrant families who rent part of their home to help pay their mortgage. Even before the pandemic, they’ve struggled with mortgage payments and rising property taxes. They need to be included in the conversation because they are often the providers of the only truly affordable rental housing in the City. If small landlords lose their homes, those who rent from them will also lose their homes. While corporate landlords definitely need to be held accountable, these smaller landlords feel villainized and left behind, even though there were relief funds and protections for them in the Good Cause Eviction Bill, ERAP, and HAF. Small BIPOC and/or immigrant landlords and renters alike need support from multi-lingual, culturally competent local non-profits to get the relief they need. SD 21’s small BIPOC homeowners need to be protected from predatory lending practices and greedy developers to prevent further displacement.
  • 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)       
      The ideal of housing de-commodification is laudable. Housing is a human right and human beings need shelter for survival and that need should not be fulfilled strictly based upon ones ability to pay. It is also true that housing structures require investment to remain habitable and safe, and thus someone must undertake that investment. Rising property and utility taxes costs should also be considered — those taxes fund local education — which is also terribly underfunded. I want to ensure that the costs are not just passed from one consumer — tenants — to other vulnerable consumers — small landlords.
  • 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)
    The protections provided in ERAP and the Tenant Safe Harbor Act prevented a lot of evictions during the pandemic, but a lot of folks in low-income communities of color, working class communities, and immigrant communities with limited English proficiency didn’t know about it or struggled to apply. Legislators and housing activists both need to build trust in these communities that have been left out and do outreach in more languages.
  • Do you agree that all evictions are bad?
    • If no, why not?   (500 characters)
      Losing ones shelter is always destabilizing and destructive. And while I agree that housing is a human right, I do not think that right extends to being able to live wherever you want. If you are living in a private one or two family home, where the owner has strict parameters of the conditions upon which someone may live in their home, such as excluding drug use, etc., the homeowner should retain the right to remove someone from their home.
  • 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)
      Private RAD conversions do not guarantee that the long overdue repairs will be completed and lack the oversight necessary to ensure that these public housing units stay affordable for low-income communities. NYCHA tenants/TAs should have more input.
  2. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect, and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?             (500 characters)            
    Give NYCHA tenant associations the resources they need to fund the repairs and manage the execution, and then hold TA presidents accountable for regular maintenance and abusing public funds and ensuring repairs are getting done in a timely manner.
  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)
    About 10 years ago, I lived in an apartment in the City where there were rodents, a toilet that was often broken and worst yet — I lived with a hole in my ceiling so deep that the tenant above could look into my living room from his bathroom FOR TWO WEEKS! I could not get in touch with the landlord so I spoke with the broker, whose only offer of relief was to rent the apartment next door. I would use my office to publicize to tenants that they do NOT need to pay rent under those circumstances.
  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)
    We need to replenish ERAP/HAF funds in the next budget and make sure  homeowners who are worried about foreclosure get the mortgage relief they need and that tenants don’t owe any more back rent. We need to ensure multi-lingual, culturally competent staff is available to help immigrant and/or BIPOC tenants and homeowners with the application process and educate them on the protections and relief funds available to them in these programs.
  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)
    On the campaign trail, I’ve encountered many small homeowners who rent part of their homes but don’t know there are protections for them carved out in Good Cause, so we need to build broader support for the bill with an education campaign with non-corporate landlords. I will work with my Senate colleagues upstate to persuade them to vote for it and mobilize tenants across the state to call their legislators and the next Governor to make sure it passes.
  • 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)
    If the bill passes, tenants need to be educated about it and be supported through the whole process. I would use my office’s discretionary funds to support mediators and non-profits who can maintain and monitor the entire process and ensure all parties have received proper representation during the final negotiation. Many small landlords in the district are from immigrant communities, so we need to make sure there are culturally competent translators available to support this process as well.
  • 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?