Though a package of historically tenant-friendly rent reform bills was made official four months ago, housing advocates say their fight is far from over.
Housing Justice for All, an advocacy group comprising several different tenants’ rights organizations, has announced a new campaign calling for the state legislature to prioritize housing and invest in guaranteeing homes for New York state residents in 2020.
Only 3 percent of the state’s $170 billion budget is spent on housing, the group says, while half of New York residents can’t afford rent and 92,000 individuals experience homelessness. The new campaign is intended to address these issues.
In all, the initiative is centered around several demands including universal rent control; a commitment to repairing and resisting privatization of the state’s public housing stock by investing $3 billion each year, with $2 billion allocated to NYCHA; creating 600,000 new social housing units across the state targeted toward low-income renters; and constructing new affordable housing for the homeless.
Additionally, the group wants state legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pass the Home Stability Support Act, a rent supplement for low-income families experiencing hardship including homelessness, and the Good Cause Eviction bill, which was championed by some lawmakers but did not pass with other rent reforms earlier this year.
The group is also calling for new taxes that it believes can generate revenue for housing. Those include a pied-à-terre tax on second homes valued at $5 million or more, and an ultra-millionaires tax on individuals who earn more than $5 million each year.
“While the state passed historic reforms in 2019, there is still much work to be done,” Janet Sabel, attorney-in-chief and CEO at the Legal Aid Society, said in a statement. “We must keep pushing for meaningful tenant protections in 2020 and beyond.”