For many of us, last month's Rent Guidelines Board final vote was hard to watch. The increase was the lowest in history - but still an increase instead of a rent freeze: 1% increase for one year renewals and 2.75% increase for two year renewals passed.
It does show the Tenant Movement is alive and well. There's a tough fight ahead - in June of 2015, the rent laws will expire and the tenant movement has a great chance to repeal vacancy deregulation.
Let's transform the energy directed at this year's RGB fight and direct it towards saving the rent laws!
On Thursday, April 24th, Mayor Bill De Blasio named Rachel Godsil as the new chair of the NYC Rent Guidelines Board. This happened just in time to have a full board meeting .
Mayor de Blasio called for a rent freeze on the campaign trail last year. But we know that 2.5 million tenants have been hit with increase after increase while landlords made money hand over fist, and many New Yorkers can't afford rent right now.
That’s why we’re calling for a RENT ROLLBACK on when the Rent Guidelines Board has its preliminary vote on rent adjustments for the approximately one million rent stabilized apartments in NYC.
We need heavy turnout if we're going to make an impact on the board. The landlords are expected to be there in force. Help us fill the auditorium and join us for a victory rally after the vote.
What: RGB Preliminary Vote
Where: US Customs House 1 Bowling Green, Manhattan
Getting there: Click here for map and directions
R3 groups and allies have been active over the last few weeks on a number of campaigns. Here are a few announcements: if you'd like to see your announcements and press listed here (and we missed them), email us email@example.com.
Three Boro Pool/Predatory Equity is a hot topic thanks to work lead by UHAB, scoring press hits in the NY Times, WSJ, NY World, and City Limits. (Click on "read more" below for more on predatory equity.)
AirBnB has received a number of black-eyes in the press thanks to HCC and other allies. HCC slammed AirBnB in the NY Observer, while the Working Families Party, Real Affordability for All campaign, and Met Council piled on with press hits from the NY Times, the NY Daily News, and Channel 7's Eyewitness News.
On , the Stop Croman Coalition and GOLES are holding anAnti-Gentrification Parade. There will also be a press conference at ( ) in Tompkins Square Park, at the intersection of E. 7th Street and Avenue A. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
|Jaron Benjamin of Met Council|
|JEFFERSON SIEGEL FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS - THE AUDIENCE AT A RENT GUIDELINES BOARD MEETING. |
Last year, the tenant movement made headlines with a report that showed how landlords flood Albany with cash. State leaders have agreed that our elections need reform and that the loophole that allows big real estate to get around our lax laws needs to be closed.New York City is now the homeless capital of the United States. That's because Big Real Estate holds an outsized role in politics. Your organization can make that a reality: join the push. Sign on to the letter to reform elections, and go to Albany for the March 11th lobby day.
The letter is posted below. To sign your organization onto the letter, contact us at email@example.com.
Speaker Sheldon Silver
New York State Assembly
NYS Capitol Albany, New York
Dear Speaker Silver, As organizations dedicated to working to ensure safe, stable and affordable housing for all New Yorkers, we are depending on you ensure final passage of a robust campaign finance reform package as a part of the 2014 New York State Budget.
At a time where there are more homeless people in New York City than ever before, and an unsettling number of families are severely rent burden (that is to say a paycheck away from being homeless) there is clearly an outsized influence from Landlord and Real Estate Interest’s millions in the current campaign finance system.
New York needs an election system that reduces the political influence of real estate and the amount developers can spend on candidates and campaigns. Closing the LLC loopholes would stop real estate from sending endless amounts of cash to campaigns. A public campaign finance option would ensure that our elected officials are accountable to regular voters, amplifying their voices above those of Extell and other mega-developers.
We must enact a public funding of elections system for statewide and legislative races in New York. Greater transparency, lower contribution limits, closure of the LLC loophole are also necessary.
You have championed the cause for protecting New York City tenants and enacting public campaign finance, in Albany, for decades. But right now is the time to make that second fight a reality. As one of the state’s top leaders, your ability to keep public campaign finance reform in the final budget is vital. We are depending on you to be the champion you have always been.
The Undersigned Organizations
Mayor de Blasio has named heads of the New York City Housing Authority, the Housing and Preservation Department, and the NYC Planning Commission.
Shola Olatoye (top left) is now the NYCHA chair, and was an HSBC Bank vice president. She most recently held the same position at Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit affordable housing organization.
Vicki Been (bottom left) has been named HPD commissioner. Before the appointment, she was the director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Planning. She also has experience as a professor at NYU's Law School, and has a history of promoting environmental justice, studying the relationship between people of color, low-income tenants, and industrial pollution.
Carl Weisbrod (bottom right) now heads the Planning Department. While he was a lawyer who fought on behalf of squatters in the 1970s, Weisbrod was most recently employed by HR&A Advisors who planned the High Line project and the Brooklyn Bridge park. The High Line project has been slammed by many tenant advocates for not creating enough affordable housing. Weisbrod's firm has also backed AirBnB, an organization pushing for law changes that could have adverse effects on the city's rent regulation system.
Amid rumors that nearly 200 angry tenants planned to disrupt the first annual Landlord Symposium, the Barclays Center decided not to host the event for fear of "bad publicity."
Met Council on Housing, the Fifth Avenue Committee, Make the Road New York, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, Pratt Area Community Council, Picture the Homeless, Housing Conservation Coordinators, and VOCAL-NY were planning a protest. Once plans of the protest became public, LandlordsNY was told they would have to find another venue.
This shows that people are starting to take the tenant movement seriously again.
Everybody knows how bad the Bloomberg years were for our communities. Despite building "affordable housing," our former mayor plunged us into the city’s worst housing crisis with a record number of people sleeping in shelters and paying unsustainable rent burdens.What we do in the near future will determine whether you have to be a millionaire to live in New York City.
Mayor deBlasio has promised a departure from Bloomberg's failed housing policies, but you can be sure that real estate moguls and landlords will do their best to stop him.Let's capitalize on the progressive moment and rebuild the tenant movement to preserve affordable housing, responsibly build new affordable housing, and house the homeless.
Organizations are invited to a meeting hosted by Community Voices Heard, Make the Road NY, Met Council on Housing, NY Communities for Change, and VOCAL-NY.
WHAT: Citywide Housing Meeting
WHERE: 25 W 18th Street, Manhattan (32BJ Board Room, 5th Fl)
MORE INFO: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org