February 22, 2023 (Kingston, NY) – Today, leaders of Citizen Action of New York’s Hudson Valley chapter and Kingston residents were joined by County Legislator Phil Erner and Kingston City Councilmember Michele Hirsch to thank Assemblymember Sarahana Shrestha and Senator Michelle Hinchey for their support of statewide tenant protections in the face of the recent court decision that further escalates the local housing crisis.
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 Hudson Valley residents want prioritized. By making the wealthy and big corporations pay what they owe, people and communities have what they need to thrive.
“Advocating for guaranteed safe and dignified housing for yourself and your neighbors should not put you at risk of an eviction,” said Citizen Action Community Organizer Yupha Lwin. “Passing our statewide housing agenda will ensure that New York tenants are no longer threatened with retribution or uphill legal battles when they do so.”
“When we knocked doors for Senator Hinchey and Assemblymember Shrestha this summer, housing was voters’ number one concern. It’s so gratifying to see our legislators support Good Cause tenant protections,” said Tyler Vanderhaag, Lead Organizer for Citizen Action’s Hudson Valley Chapter. “Hudson Valley tenants can’t wait any longer–we need statewide Good Cause now.”
“Affordable housing will always be scarce as long as the private market can make endless profits from real estate. As a society, we must choose to invest in homes, not properties. This session, we have the opportunity to alleviate the housing crisis immediately by passing protections for those who are furthest away from homeownership,” said Assemblymember Sarahana Shrestha. “Good Cause Eviction would allow the landlord to evict a tenant only if there is a good reason, such as non-payment of rent or the need to free up the unit for the landlord’s personal use. Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act would enable tenants to collectively purchase a building when it goes for sale, an effective way to increase homeownership and convert existing housing stock into social housing stock. Housing Access Voucher Program would ensure that the most vulnerable—those who are already homeless or are about to lose housing—can safely transition from unsustainable housing to stable housing. These are top priorities for me this session, and I’m glad to fight for them alongside advocates all over the state.”
“State-wide Good Cause tenant protections would stop the speculation we saw here in Kingston by making it more difficult for large investors to flip rental housing and hike up the rents on tenants,” said Kingston City Councilmember Michele Hirsch. “Here in Kingston, those rent hikes were de-facto eviction notices which pushed many good community members out of Kingston because they could no longer afford to live here.”
“Last year, For the Many went to one of Senator Hinchey’s fundraisers to ask about her position on Good Cause Eviction. This week, Hinchey finally broke her silence and publicly supported the core principles of Good Cause. This comes after months of organizing by her constituents, who are struggling under skyrocketing rents and mounting threats of eviction. Just ask the Stony Run Tenants Union,” said Brahvan Ranga, Political Director at For the Many. “We thank Hinchey for speaking up and look forward to her putting words into action by co-sponsoring the Good Cause bill and the entire Our Homes, Our Power legislative package.”
“Passage of Good Cause at the state level will put every tenant on an equal playing field, rather than having a patchwork of laws where tenants are often left behind and navigate their housing rights on their own. Though we in Kingston are protected by Good Cause, we need to join our voices with tenants living outside this right, as they spoke for and alongside us in our ETPA hearings,” said Kingston Rent Guidelines Board Member Michael Tierney.
The press conference was held outside of the County Office Building in Kingston, NY 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 Kingston to 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.