by Chris Banks, Candidate for New York City Council 42nd District, covering East New York, Starrett City, Brownsville, Canarsie, East Flatbush
This is an open letter to the Mayor and City Council members, who have the ability and power to freeze rent hikes for community members who are living in rent stabilized apartments.
Last week the Rent Guidelines Board voted for proposed rent hikes on rent-stabilized apartments throughout New York City, including District 42, which covers our communities of East New York, Brownsville, Starrett City, Canarsie, and East Flatbush.
Families in our communities are already suffering with unaffordable rents and high inflation. Residents in our district are paying upwards of 40% to 50% of their income on rent, which is not sustainable.
The final vote on this latest rent increase is scheduled for June 21, and can increase rents by as much as 7%. We need the Mayor and City Council to act on behalf of community members who have been receiving unequal treatment for many years.
The city has yet to come up with a plan to ease the pain of high rents, at a time when living expenses continue to increase and quality full-time employment remains scarce for our community members.
The City Council and the Mayor should be discussing a rent freeze during this time of uncertainty for so many families, not a rent increase. Our community cannot afford a rent increase of any kind. Homelessness in our district continues to rise at a rate higher than most communities in New York City. This situation will contribute to the looming gentrification crisis facing long time hardworking residents.
We must be strong in making our case to the Mayor and the City Council members, urging them that this move by the Rent Guidelines Board will cause undue hardship for too many residents of the 42nd district.
We must get serious about equity and fairness. Rents were raised last year by 3.25%. Another increase will devastate thousands of families.
I understand that property owners suffer from increased costs for heating and maintaining their buildings. The city should look at easing the pain for property owners by cutting the exorbitant amount of fees and taxes that they must pay to maintain their buildings. New York City has become a fee-based city, which is crushing property owners and tenants. The city cannot create fees for everything and expect people to be able to afford to continue to live in the city.
I have to wonder if this is a well thought out plan to force middle class and poor families to move out of New York City. There are members in our community who work for the US Postal Service, the Department of Education and other city agencies, who are homeless. This is shameful, and with decisions to raise rents the future looks bleak for New Yorkers.
This is a direct request to the Mayor, who appoints all 9 members of the Rent Guidelines Board, and City Council to please put a freeze on all rent increases at this time, until wages increase, and cost of living expenses decrease. While you’re at it please look at all the fees New Yorkers are paying, tenants and landlords alike. The bleeding must stop.
Chris Banks is running to become the next New York City Council Member for District 42, which covers East New York, Starrett City, Brownsville, Canarsie and East Flatbush. You can find out more about Chris Banks at his campaign website at voteforchrisbanks.com