October 25, 2022 Dear Mayor Rolison,
We are writing to you as constituents and members of Community Voices Heard, a Black-led statewide organization with membership and a chapter in Poughkeepsie, in order to address our concerns regarding the housing crisis in the City of Poughkeepsie.
One in three renters in Poughkeepsie already spend more than half their income on rent and rents have been increasing at rates that far outpace growth in income and earnings. Sixty-five percent of our city’s residents are renters, and they need relief.
Community Voices Heard members in Poughkeepsie have engaged in over 700 conversations with tenants across our city about their housing needs and where they want to see the City invest its American Rescue Plan Act funds: the overwhelming answer has been rent relief and tenant protections.
The $8.83 million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the City of Poughkeepsie has received are intended by the Federal government to respond to the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Due to the extent of the city’s housing crisis and the public health risks it creates or exacerbates, we are calling on you to put $5 million dollars from the City’s ARPA funds into a rental assistance program to benefit tenants like us.
Given the extreme need a majority of our city’s tenants find themselves in and the time sensitive nature of the Poughkeepsie budget process, we are requesting to schedule a meeting with you within two weeks from today in order to discuss our demands and the city’s housing crisis.
Please contact Eli Berkowitz, CVH Lead Organizer, at 845-541-1122 or email@example.com to schedule this meeting.
Sincerely, Members of Community Voices Heard Poughkeepsie chapter