Stand with us and #HouseNY

Governor Kathy Hochul, Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie

New York has a housing crisis.

Over the last decade homelessness has skyrocketed while the real estate industry gets richer and richer. 50% of our state’s renters can’t afford their homes, and across New York over 1.5 million households have no basic tenant protections.

In 2022, with new leadership in Albany, it’s time to turn the page on this #CuomosHousingCrisis once and for all. This year, we can take clear steps towards social housing: a publicly funded, people-controlled housing system that is democratically run by the people. Join us to fight for:

More tenant-power over our homes

✅ Pass Good Cause Eviction: Give tenants the right to remain in their homes and the ability to challenge exorbitant rent hikes.

✅ Tenant Opportunity to Purchase: Give tenants, community land trusts, and public housing authorities the right of first refusal to take over buildings at the point of sale.

More public investment in housing

✅ Eliminate 421-a and all tax breaks that drive luxury development

✅ Pass and full fund rental assistance for low income and homeless New Yorkers

✅ Expand and fully fund the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act, a law that allows the state to convert distressed commercial real estate into supportive and affordable housing.

To: Governor Kathy Hochul, Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie
From: [Your Name]

New York has a housing crisis.

92,000 other New Yorkers live in shelters and millions more are behind on rent. 50% of our state’s renters can’t afford their homes, and across New York over 1.5 million households have no basic tenant protections.
Over the last decade, under Governor Cuomo’s reign, this problem has gotten worse. Homelessness exploded by nearly 42%. The State’s emergency rental assistance program has been a colossal failure. And year after year, Governor Cuomo’s agencies dole out billions in tax subsidies to wealthy developers -- his campaign donors -- who have done little to address the affordable housing crisis.
This is the story of housing policy New York: homeless New Yorkers and renters versus big real estate. And Governor Cuomo has sided with real estate each and every time.

This year, with the 5-Year Housing Plan up for renewal and with new leadership in Albany, we have the chance to do something different. We are grateful for the work that your offices have done to improve emergency rental assistance and expand the eviction moratorium until January. But if you truly want to turn the page on Governor Cuomo’s misogyny, corruption, and ineptitude it’s time to move beyond emergency measures and enact permanent, lasting solutions to Cuomo’s housing crisis.

First, that means eliminating corporate subsidies that spur gentrification and do nothing to solve the housing crisis. The biggest of these, 421-a, costs New York State billions annually and is set to sunset in Albany next year. You should let it die, and with it, eliminate 485-a -- a similarly wasteful tax exemption that drives displacement in upstate New York. These two subsidies, a top priority for the real estate industry, cost our state billions in forgone revenue each year.

Second, we have to invest in ending evictions and homelessness in our State - permanently. There are two common sense bills before the state that make a huge difference: Good Cause Eviction, which would expand basic tenant protections in eviction court to millions of unprotected households across the State, and the Housing Access Voucher Program -- a rental assistance program for currently homeless and low income New Yorkers who cannot afford the rent. If implemented and robustly funded, Good Cause Eviction and the Housing Access Voucher Program could help families like mine exit the shelter system, and prevent me from returning because of an eviction.

Finally, we need new models for how to create and preserve affordable housing in our State. A housing crisis is not inevitable -- it’s just the result of broken and outdated programs that are designed to help Governor Cuomo’s donors instead of New Yorkers struggling to afford rent.Rather than a broken “affordable” housing system, we need social housing: housing that is not run for profit, is deeply and permanently affordable, designed to meet peoples’ diverse needs, and controlled democratically by people who live in it.

In order to bring social housing to New York, Governor Kathy Hochul should expand the recently-passed Housing Our Neighbors With Dignity Act (HONDA) -- a bill that would allow New Yorkers to convert distressed commercial real estate into housing for homeless and low income households. She should also explore Tenant Opportunity to Purchase (TOPA), which, if passed, would allow New York’s tenants to convert their homes to shared-equity cooperatives, community land trusts, mutual housing associations, or even public housing if they wish.

Governor Kathy Hochul, Majority Leader Stewart Cousins, and Speaker Heastie:
New Yorkers are tired of temporary solutions to the housing crisis -- it’s time for permanent interventions. Stand with us in 2022 and commit to #HouseNY!