FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release: Over 100 Community Voices Heard Members From Across the State Rally for Money to Save Public Housing and Prevent Evictions by Taxing the Ultra-Rich
Senator Cordell Cleare speaks in support of CVH members' platform
Assembly Member Grace Lee rallies with CVH members
Contact: Zoë Johnson, Communications Manager, Community Voices Heard, email@example.com, 646-407-5557
Additional photos available here
Livestream recordings here
FEBRUARY 6, 2024 (ALBANY, NY) – Over 100 Community Voices Heard members from NYC, Yonkers, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, and Newburgh rallied at the Capitol on Tuesday morning to call on the State Legislature and Governor to preserve public housing, pass renter protections, and implement tax reform.
Low-income, primarily Black and brown New Yorkers from CVH chapters across the state spoke powerfully about their 2024 platform, calling on their elected officials to address the housing crisis in this year’s budget by committing funding to save public housing and provide support for low-income renters. The state can accomplish this by ensuring the ultra-wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. Speakers demanded that the State:
Preserve Public Housing by committing $4.5 billion for public housing capital repairs to preserve 40,000 public housing units and $500 million in rent arrears for public housing residents across New York State to prevent thousands of evictions
Pass Good Cause Eviction, the Housing Access Voucher Program, and the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act.
Invest in Our New York through a progressive income tax system, strengthening corporate tax laws, and taxing capital gains, billionaires’ assets that increase in value, and large inheritances.
"As a lifelong public housing resident and longtime CVH member, I'm here to demand that our State do better. In my own home, the Polo Grounds, nearly 800 families could be evicted because of back rent," said CVH New York City Member Leader Barbara Williams. "Today, I'm calling on the State legislature and Governor Hochul to invest in OUR New York. Make the ultra-rich pay their fair share so that public housing can make meaningful capital repairs and prevent thousands of evictions!"
"I joined CVH so I could become part of the solution to the housing crisis that my community was drowning in. I have experienced homelessness and housing insecurity more than once with my daughter," said CVH Poughkeepsie Member Leader Tonisha Kelly. "We created a platform to empower all of us to come together to address the problems we are all facing, and we're here to tell our representatives what it is: We can pay for public housing repairs and affordable housing if we put the needs of middle and working-class, low-income New Yorkers ahead of the ultra-rich!"
"I'm a lifelong Yonkers resident, and the rent keeps getting more and more unaffordable," said CVH Yonkers Member Leader Kumi Owusu. "Today, we're coming together as CVH members to make our voices heard: we can't wait any longer for the State to pass Good Cause eviction protections. Every tenant in New York State should have basic protections against unjust evictions and unreasonable rent increases. I also stand in solidarity with my public housing neighbors across the state, and demand just funding and a fair tax system that invests in all of us."
“I have been in Newburgh public housing for 20 years as both an employee and a tenant," said CVH Newburgh member Maxwell Rayford. "For decades, we have been promised repairs, but haven’t seen much done – cabinets are falling apart, floors are old and torn up. Roaches, mice, and bedbugs are all over our building. We are tired of being forced to live in these conditions. That’s why we're here demanding our State leaders step up and provide 4.5 billion dollars for capital repairs and 500 million for back rent for public housing all across New York State. Public housing residents deserve to live in safe and comfortable housing, just like everyone else in New York.”
"Today, Community Voices Heard members made their voices heard loud and clear: We must save public housing, protect renters across the state, and tax the ultra-rich to invest in our communities," said Community Voices Heard Executive Director Juanita O. Lewis. "As the largest Black-led organizing institution in New York State, we know all too well the ways our elected officials have ignored our communities in the past. No more. We call on our elected leaders to meaningfully invest in New Yorkers this legislative session."
Community Voices Heard(CVH) is a member-led, multi-racial organization principally comprised of women of color and low-income families in New York State. CVH tackles tough issues and builds power to secure racial, social, and economic justice for all New Yorkers. Through grassroots organizing, leadership development, policy changes, and creating new models of direct democracy, CVH is creating a truly equitable New York State.