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Central New York residents and lawmakers want housing, school aid, and medical debt prevention in state budget

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Central New York, Press Releases

Citizen Action of New York members gathered in Syracuse to show support for  Our Justice Agenda bills


(Syracuse, NY)Today, Syracuse residents, community leaders, advocates and members of Citizen Action of New York were joined by Senator Rachel May for a press conference about the legislation that Central New Yorkers need. May has been a champion for many progressive issues, including education and child care. Area Assemblymember Pam Hunter, who was not able to attend, is one of the sponsors of Good Cause tenant protections, a bill that extends protection to all renters and makes it easier for everyone to stay in good, safe housing. 

These bills are all part of Citizen Action’s Our Justice Agenda, a comprehensive platform that recognizes the interconnectedness of progressive issues and the well-being of everyday New Yorkers. Strong and healthy communities require investment, this is what Harlem residents want prioritized. By making the wealthy and big corporations pay what they owe, people and communities have what they need to thrive. 

“Upstate tenants should not have to fear eviction because they advocate for better housing conditions,” said Senator Rachel May. “Good Cause Eviction is the common sense answer, giving tenants simple protections against arbitrary evictions. This bill will help tenants suffering through difficult living situations while also improving housing stock for our communities. Tenants know they deserve to live in safe, quality housing without fear of eviction.”

“This slate of legislation targets material issues that impact my constituents everyday,” said Assemblymember Pam Hunter, in a statement of support. “The housing crisis is squeezing families at a time of rapid inflation and must be addressed promptly. Good Cause Eviction will give tenants the housing stability they need and I will continue to push for its enactment.”

My daughter was suspended from public school for eight months–eight months without classrooms and teachers, her friends and her routine, her mental health supports. Like all of our kids, she deserved better,” said Citizen Action member Yvonne Griffin. “We need Solutions Not Suspensions so kids can stay in school with the support they need and we can give them the best chance for a good life.”

“I know from experience how devastating the lead crisis is. My children were poisoned by our own home,” said Citizen Action member Darlene Medley. “Because of it, they have learning and behavior challenges that affect every area of their lives. And the worst part is it’s a choice our communities make to allow this crisis to continue. We could end it right now but we choose not to. That’s why I’m here to support the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Safe Housing Act to remove lead from rental properties and hold landlords and towns accountable if they don’t. I fight for my kids and for yours because even though you’re a tenant you matter just as much as a homeowner!

“All of the bills that make up Our Justice Agenda are crucial, because these issues don’t stand alone,” said Citizen Action Statewide Health Care Organizer Ursula Rozum. “The changes people need in their lives, to live in a New York that works for everyone, they’re all interconnected. We need to pass all this legislation for true progressive change.”

I am a breast cancer survivor. One of the most stressful parts of fighting cancer is the hospital bills. I owe tens of thousands of dollars to Roswell and Upstate for visits related to my cancer treatment. I qualify for financial assistance but I can’t get it because of the application because it asks for documents I don’t have,” said Citizen Action member Donna Ce’Cartel. “It shouldn’t be so hard to access resources that are supposed to help patients. We need our lawmakers to fight for patients and hold the hospital industry accountable, so that when we are sick, we can focus on our health rather than the stress of hospital bills.”

The press conference was held at 333 East Washington Street in Syracuse at 12:00 PM on Wednesday, 2/22. It was one of seven press conferences happening simultaneously around the state, in each of Citizen Action’s chapter regions. In the coming days, Citizen Action members will meet with state legislators representing Syracuse to thank them for their support and urge them to stand up for Our Justice Agenda bills.

Citizen Action of New York is a grassroots membership organization with eight chapters and affiliates across New York State. We work on issues important to our communities, including fair elections, equitable school funding, housing for all, environmental justice, and possibility not punishment.