I am honored to be appointed the new Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Housing by Speaker Carl Heastie. Housing has always been deeply personal to me. Years ago, my landlord tried to evict my grandmother and me from our rent-regulated apartment on the Upper West Side. I remember being horrified that my beloved grandmother, who was in her 80s, was hauled into court to defend herself against a frivolous and frightening lawsuit. I carry that experience with me, and it inspired me to run for office to protect those who are often underrepresented and without a voice.
The COVID-19 pandemic shined a bright light on the many inequities around housing facing New York State and City. Tenants struggling to make ends meet feared homelessness. Small landlords desperate to pay their bills tried to stave off foreclosure. Those living in New York City Housing Authority developments quarantined in rundown and often dilapidated apartments. Housing providers and attorneys endlessly labored to provide anxious clients with invaluable legal support. These problems, however, persist and are not limited to New York City; they are happening throughout the State, and we need to convey tenants greater protections.
As we slowly recover from the pandemic, the need for safe and affordable housing, whether it be regulated, supportive, social, public, subsidized or something new, has truly never been greater. Skyrocketing rents, a looming eviction crisis, record rates of homelessness and bureaucratic delays have left far too many New Yorkers behind. Together, we can, and more importantly, must, thoughtfully and expeditiously address the crises plaguing communities across this State. I am grateful for the trust that has been placed in me, and I am excited by the opportunity to address the many housing issues facing New York State.