Queens Community, Faith and Immigrant Leaders Rally for Universal Rent Control
Flushing, NY — On Friday, June 7, 2019, the MinKwon Center for Community Action, elected officials and community and faith-based organizations held a rally for Universal Rent Control and housing justice for all New Yorkers. Due to loopholes in state rent laws that favor landlords and developers, more than 100 New Yorkers are evicted from their homes every day. The Universal Rent Control platform is a package of nine bills in the state legislature that would enforce existing rent laws and expand access to affordable housing for millions of New Yorkers. Communities are demanding no more special treatment for the real estate lobby, and instead the passage of legislation that protects housing as a basic human right, not a privilege.
"Half of all New Yorkers are tenants, and immigrant communities across New York City are majority renting their homes,” said John Park, Executive Director at MinKwon Center for Community Action. “Weak and under-enforced rent laws disproportionately impact low-income, immigrant and limited English-proficient tenants. Housing justice and immigrant justice are inseparably linked and we cannot advocate for a New York that welcomes immigrants without access to affordable housing for all."
“Displacement and gentrification has led to homelessness in New York City at numbers greater than the Great Depression of the 1930s,” said Seonae Byeon, Housing Organizer at MinKwon Center for Community Action. “According to the Coalition for The Homeless, in February 2019 there were 64,000 homeless people in the city and 91,000 across the state. Ninety-three percent of homeless New Yorkers are people of color, and families make up three-quarters of the homeless shelter population. Tenants are still being pressured out of their homes with vacancy bonuses, vacancy decontrol, MCIs/IAIs, preferential rent and other loopholes. We have rallied today to fight against predatory landlords, preserve affordable housing, and pass all nine bills in the NY legislature.”
"I grew up in a rent-controlled apartment and I understand the need to protect tenants. For too long, Senate Democrats have had to fight just to keep rent regulations intact. With a new majority and under the leadership Andrea Stewart-Cousins we have proposed the strongest tenant protections New York State has ever seen," said New York Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. "I have proudly co-sponsored all nine bills in this package. I look forward to delivering historic change to the tenants and expanding affordable housing across this State. When the voters overwhelmingly elected a Democratic Senate last November, they sent us a message and this is the change they want. Housing in New York City is at a crisis level and our leadership is ready to bring solutions."
New York Assemblymember Ron Kim said, "I am proud to support all nine of the housing reform bills to protect tenants, ensure universal rent control, and bring more affordable housing to countless families in need of a safe and secure home. The exploitation of loopholes by landlords to pressure or evict New Yorkers is still continuing – a daily tragedy which we must do all that we can to end. Having a home to live in is a human right – nothing less. I join my colleagues in calling for the passage of these bills before the end of Session, and thank the MinKwon Center for Community Action for its advocacy on this issue."
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