WE ACT and NYC Tenants to Rally in Albany to Demand Rent Reform
ALBANY, NY- Members from WE ACT for Environmental Justice joined tenants and activists from across New York City to demand tenant rights and protect rent-regulated housing in jeopardy in a rally called “Get on the Bus.” The rally comes at the dawn of the June 15th expiration date of state laws that limit rent increases, protect tenants from arbitrary eviction, and of 421-A. which gives a tax break to those engaged in new housing construction.
WE ACT members will go with participants to visit representatives, but hope to express the need for housing that is as healthy as it is affordable. According to James Burke, WE ACT’s Director of Membership & Organizing, this hasn’t always been the case.
“We have entire buildings where people are paying extremely high rents, only to live in a building that have rodent infestation, leaks, and constant issues with heat during the winter. We’re here because an affordable apartment doesn’t mean anything if you’re too busy being sick from place you call home.”
The tenant movement has been facing resistance from Albany and Gov. Cuomo to reform rent laws. WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s Community Organizer and Outreach Coordinator Hector Gerardo argues:
“Governor Cuomo takes the position that the rent laws should stay as they are, but if they leave them as is, we will continue to be pushed out of our neighborhood because the rents are too high.”
Get on the Bus is organized by the Metropolitan Council on Housing, involved organizations include; Real Rent Reform [R3], Alliance for Tenant Power, United Healthcare Workers East, and WE ACT. The rally is a continuation of the NYC tenant movement. According to The Metropolitan Council on Housing, the movement’s priorities include;
“Repeal of the vacancy-deregulation amendments (amendments that leave new tenants with no rent or eviction protection), re-regulation of the units that were deregulated, and closing the loopholes that landlords use to jack up stabilized and controlled rents to unaffordable levels.”