NEW YORK – Housing Justice for All, a statewide coalition of more than 80 organizations that represents tenants and homeless New Yorkers, released the following statement ahead of the end of the 2022 state legislative session. The statement below can be attributed to Cea Weaver, Campaign Coordinator of Housing Justice for All:
“Tomorrow, state lawmakers will go back to safe and healthy homes in their district. They’ll fall asleep soundly in their beds, secure in the knowledge that they and their families will have a roof over their heads for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will be up late, terrified that they’ll face a rent hike so high it will amount to an eviction. The number of these New Yorkers is proliferating as rents shoot through the roof. These New Yorkers were counting on their legislators to protect them by passing Good Cause. State lawmakers have utterly failed.
They include New Yorkers like Irene Cepeda in Bushwick, who’s facing a 120% rent hike at the apartment she’s lived in for 22 years. And Juan from Chelsea, who was just handed a 42% rent increase as payback for demanding safer living conditions. And Tylise Watts from Poughkeepsie, who’s scared of confronting her landlord about a mouse infestation because her rent has spiked every time she’s raised concerns in the past. And Joyce in Rochester, who has been living with over 70 code violations in her apartment, knowing that she could be evicted at any time just for speaking up.
Lawmakers in Albany had the chance to stand up for them. But Governor Kathy Hochul, Speaker Carl Heastie, and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins chose to cater to a small set of wealthy landlords over the needs of millions of working families. Their refusal to pass Good Cause is a moral failure.
Their cowardice will lead to devastation across New York. It will lead to people getting thrown out of their homes. It will lead to more homeless people on the street. The responsibility for the pain that awaits New Yorkers in the coming months is now squarely on the shoulders of Kathy Hochul, Carl Heastie, and Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
We are deeply disappointed that state lawmakers bought the real estate lobby’s campaign of misinformation about Good Cause, especially the cynical effort to turn Black tenants against Black homeowners. In truth, Good Cause would protect tenants and landlords alike from the corporate landlords and private equity firms who are preying on our neighborhoods, and who spent millions in a desperate effort to kill this bill.
But our fight is not over. The struggle to stop evictions and rent hikes is up to us — the tenants who make New York whole. We will keep reminding lawmakers every day of the people they left behind. Good Cause will become a reality, and when it does, we won’t forget those who looked away and stayed silent instead of taking action.”