Well before the pandemic, our city was in the midst of an affordability crisis. Housing costs were skyrocketing every year and wages in our city were not keeping up, putting a financial strain on millions of families across the city. The pandemic and ensuing economic fallout exacerbated and exposed this crisis, with over a million New Yorkers now rent-burdened and 400,000 families on the verge of eviction.
While temporary eviction moratoriums have provided some measure of relief, they have not gone far enough. We cannot allow this affordability crisis to lead to an eviction crisis and an ensuing homelessness crisis. It’s time to break the cycle. Especially within Black and brown communities, which have borne this burden harder than any other groups in our city. According to an analysis from the ACLU, Black renters are evicted at almost twice the rate of renters who are white. In addition, Black women face even higher rates of eviction. The cost of evictions for the public is conservatively estimated to be nearly $3.2 billion.
It is time to support New York City’s tenants and commit to real housing justice.
To accomplish this, a Wiley administration will:
- Fight for a True Eviction Moratorium for the Duration of the Crisis.
- Transform Rent Relief and Bail Out Tenants and Small Landlords.
- Enforce stronger eviction protections through increased legal representation.
- Put Families Back in Homes.
To fight for a true eviction moratorium, we will:
- Advocate at the state and federal level for a strong eviction moratorium long enough to ensure that we have averted an eviction crisis that would have otherwise triggered a wave of homelessness stemming from the pandemic.
- Work with state and federal agencies to fund an ongoing moratorium that recognizes that it has economic consequences.
- Clearly communicate an eviction moratorium timeline so that people have stability and the ability to plan.
To transform rent relief for tenants and small landlords, we will:
- Invest $251 million dollars of federal stimulus money in a direct rent relief program for tenants and small landlords, many of whom are people of color who do not have the assets or resources to go without rent collection for even a month.
- Ensure strong eviction protections for tenants of small landlords who receive direct aid and rent relief.
- Ease the burden for participation by determining qualification in the program based on existing filings and application processes to ensure that small landlords are not unfairly eliminated from participation.
- Offer additional property tax deferment to small landlords in exchange for giving tenants the right to renew their lease with limited rent increases for five years.
To enforce stronger protections through increased legal representation, we will:
- Invest $100 million to expand the income threshold for low-income tenants to receive legal representation in housing and eviction cases from 200% of the federal poverty line to 400%, ensuring right to counsel for over 70,000 additional New York City families.
- Create a new partnership with area law schools and pro-bono legal partners to introduce a community lawyering model.
- Provide legal counsel at the building level in cases where a significant number of tenants are facing eviction, enabling class action lawsuits and expanding right to counsel to more high-need New Yorkers.
To put families back in homes, we will:
- Create a rapid rehousing program designed to address some of the adverse impacts of the eviction crisis caused by the pandemic.
- Advocate for state action on application fees, security deposit relief for families at 400% of the Federal Poverty Line, and property tax forgiveness for landlords who voluntarily waive these expenses.
- Develop innovative solutions through land use and community development to build more affordable housing across the city.
- Invest $2 billion to repair and reinvest in NYCHA as our most reliable source of affordable housing in New York City.