Advocates Ask Govenor Cuomo to Renew the State’s Commitment to Affordable Rents
Busloads of dedicated tenant activists travelled to Albany wearing their hearts on their sleeves to capture the attention of Governor Andrew Cuomo. One heart, probably because of its size, stole the show. North Brooklyn community advocates brought a giant heart-shaped valentine to the governor, which read, “Dear Governor Cuomo, Be Our Valentine! Repeal Deregulation! Save Our homes!”
“This Valentine’s Day we are inviting Governor Cuomo to show renting families some love by promising to keep rents affordable for millions of hardworking New Yorkers. We need Albany to stop the loss of affordable housing by passing stronger rent laws that repeal vacancy deregulation and close loopholes that landlords use to jack up rents and force people out of their homes,” said Rosario Hernandez, a Greenpoint tenant and Chair of United Neighbors Organization (UNO).
Under the current laws, 300,000–400,000 rent-regulated homes and more are lost each year due to a landlord-friendly policy called vacancy deregulation. Rent laws that protect over a million families are set to expire in June, tenants’ rights groups want to see these laws renewed and strengthened.
“Over a million families, with a median income of just $36,000 per year are counting on Albany to protect their homes. With housing costs skyrocketing, we need stronger rent laws to keep New York City and the suburban counties affordable for working families,” said Sergio Cuevas of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.
The subject of Rent Regulation is a hot topic this frigid February. The newly elected Speaker of the New York Assembly, Carl E. Heastie brought it up in the week before Valentine’s Day. He promised that renewing and strengthening the rent-regulation laws that affect a million city apartments would be his “No. 1 priority.”