As a child, I lived with my grandmother during the week so my mother and my two older sisters could work. My mother was a single mom who did everything she could to provide for us and make us feel loved. Without public housing and rent-controlled apartments, we might not have managed. It breaks my heart to imagine folks in similar situations today without those benefits.
More than half of NY-16 rents their home, and tens of thousands of our renter constituents can’t afford the cost of their home. 31% of NY-16 -- over 40,000 households -- are severely rent burdened, meaning they pay over 50% of their monthly income on housing costs.
That means far too many of our families are starting every month with too little money for food, for their homes, for their kids.
The housing crisis is not just a big city crisis. Gentrification is pushing people out of cities to the suburbs, where there is a smaller social safety net and fewer housing options. 50% of renters in Westchester County are rent burdened, and over 55,000 families are at immediate risk of displacement. Tenants without any basic rights live on the brink of an eviction. Families may be evicted for speaking out about housing conditions, or by a rent increase that is simply too much. As a school principal, I know the costs an eviction has on a child’s ability to learn. No child can learn when their most fundamental security -- the roof over their head -- is threatened. That’s why, as a member of Congress, I will fight for a national homes guarantee and pursue the below policies, which together, would stem the rise in homelessness in NY-16 and across the state, keep families in their homes, and put more money in working people’s pockets.
Invest in social and public housing: In order to truly solve the housing and homelessness crisis, our nation needs to commit to a deep public reinvestment in public and social housing. In fact, NY-16 has a shortage of over 70,000 affordable rental homes.
The National Housing Trust Fund, designed to build affordable rental housing for low income households, if adequately resourced, could provide the tools to build the millions of new units of public and social housing communities like ours needs.
In addition, we need to reinvest in the public housing that already currently exists. Public housing, which is the only reliable source of truly permanent, affordable housing in this country, has been decimated - thanks to decades of attacks and divestment. The fundamental system that has kept a roof over the heads of millions of Americans is in severe disrepair. As a member of Congress, I would recommit to public and social housing, to make sure every resident of NY-16 has a guaranteed home. That means:
Invest in Ending Homelessness: At least 92,000 people in New York State sleep in shelters, and more than half a million people across the country are homeless. The cost of rent is a big part of the reason why. But protections against evictions alone cannot solve the problem.
As a member of Congress, I’d fight for:
Enforce fair housing standards: Our housing market is characterized by racial discrimination. Fifty years after the Fair Housing Act, people of color are disproportionately targeted by real estate brokers and landlords who refuse equal opportunities for buying or renting a home.
Re-envision homeownership to provide opportunities to the next generation: For some, homeownership has a sure-fire mechanism to build wealth in the United States. For others, it has long been a predatory scheme which creates the unequal education opportunities, an inability to get ahead, and racial and economic discrimination.
I would explore new models of homeownership that would make sure all families can get ahead. For example, Co-op City, in NY-16, provides nearly 16,000 families and over 50,000 people with modest means an opportunity for community, collective homeownership and multi-generational stability
Built with deep State and Federal investment, Co-op City is a successful homeownership model that I would look to expand in the district and across the Country.
Repeal The SALT Deduction Cap: Repeal Trump’s tax cut that was a wealth transfer from the working and middle class to the top 1%. Deliver relief for working and middle class families.