Real Rent Reform Campaign
Community Voices Heard is on the Steering Committee of the Real Rent Reform (R3) Campaign. We were influential in getting this Campaign to add public housing concerns to its statewide agenda and continue to bring strong representation of public housing residents to the Coalition.
Millions of New Yorkers cannot afford a decent place to live. The most recent City data shows that 26% of New York City renters pay at least half of their income for rent. Thousands of affordable units in Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 buildings are being lost every year, public housing is being squeezed, and hundreds of thousands of rent-stabilized apartments have been lost to vacancy decontrol.
The City of New York has committed to create 94,000 new affordable units and preserve 71,000 existing units. But even with that commitment, we're losing our existing affordable housing faster than we're building new affordable units. And nearly 1.5 million existing affordable units are still at risk.
An unprecedented coalition including the Working Families Party, labor unions, and nearly every housing organization in New York City has united to form the New York is Our Home campaign. We want to cover more housing under rent stabilization rules, and we want rent regulations to be stronger. We're calling on the State to immediately:
Preserve Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 Housing
- Extend rent regulations to ALL Mitchell Lama and Section 8 buildings.
- Declare a moratorium on buyouts until a comprehensive preservation program is in place.
- Provide a tenant right of first refusal to purchase these buildings, at prices set by an appraisal board.
Preserve Rent-Regulated Units
- Repeal vacancy decontrol to eliminate the rent threshold that allows owners to decontrol units once a unit meets the threshold and become vacant.
- Prevent unfair rent increases by strengthening enforcement of the rent laws.
Preserve State-Built Public Housing
- Restore $70 million in funding for operating state public housing to the State budget to preserve 20,000 units of state public housing and help preserve thousands of Section 8 vouchers.
Limit Rental Payments for New Yorkers Living With AIDS
- End the State's discrimination against people living with AIDS who are being forced to contribute all income except $330 per month towards their rent. All other rental assistance programs cap the amount to just 30% of their income.
R3 works to ensure that homeless people, people living with HIV/AIDS and working class renters are represented. By keeping the message focused on housing justice, the Fix It Now campaign seeks to unite these diverse populations around common interests. New York Is Our Home's launch event, for example, involved the input and planning of shelter residents, Latino immigrants and working class African American residents. By highlighting common problems and solutions, we are able to develop a sense of camaraderie among grassroots leaders from very diverse but similarly disenfranchised constituencies.
Fix It Now secures involvement of mortgage holders in repairs, targets problem landlords and strengthens HPD code enforcement. To date we have won bank inspections in approximately 70 buildings containing over 2,000 units. With our coalition partners, we helped lead negotiations resulting in passage of the Safe Housing Act, which will oversee repair of 200 distressed buildings annually.
The NYIOH campaign seeks repeal of vacancy decontrol, adequate funding for public housing, and a strong preservation program for Mitchell Lama. One recent success-- the state's decision to end landlords' ability to use the "unique or peculiar" loophole to exempt units from regulation-- will ensure that the remaining 20,000+ pre-1974 Mitchell Lama units are regulated upon buy out. A second success, passage of the NYCHA shelter allowance increase at the state level, will ensure tens of millions of adding funding for NYCHA annually.
Steering Committee Members
Working Families Party
Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Village Tenant Association
NYS Tenants and Neighbors Coalition
Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
Make the Road by Walking
Good Old Lower Side (GOLES)
Community Voices Heard
Coalition for the Homeless
Bronx Tenant Action Coalition (BTAC)