Protecting Affordable Housing & Tenant Rights in Our Community
New York City has an affordable housing crisis, and we need a fighter to solve it. Jen has been that fighter for years, working hard to preserve our city’s limited supply of affordable housing so that working families can continue to call New York City their home. Jen is not afraid to call out landlords for harassment, just as she did when tenants in Prospect Lefferts Gardens received unlawful eviction notices over the July 4th weekend back in 2014. It was Jen who went directly to the building to devise a plan of action, so that to this day those families still call 60 Clarkson Avenue their home. Jen will be ready from day one to take our communities back from unscrupulous landlords and the real estate industry.
What Jen will do:
- Establish a live database of landlords and management companies that have unreasonably high rates of no-cause/hold over evictions so we can hold them accountable and sanction them appropriately.
- Provide resources for community-based tenant organizers so that tenants know their rights and have the skills to fight back against aggressive developers and landlords who knowingly break the law and force tenants out of their homes.
- Lobby hard in Albany to eliminate "preferential rents" -- a loop hole in the state's rent laws that allow landlords to offer initial leases at lower cost with the legal right to raise the rent significantly upon renewal, forcing tenants to either pay a lot more for their apartments, or move out.
- Mandate that apartment buildings being built or subsidized by the city (with our hard earned tax dollars!) must maintain long-term affordability in over 50% of the units for perpetuity. City Council Members have the final say in these projects and Jen will work to create legislation to require elected officials to hold at least one Town Hall meeting BEFORE voting on these deep subsidies to make sure that the City is financing its citizens, not developers. A list of these buildings in District 40 can be found here. (Data Coming Soon!)
Caring for Our Children
No New Yorker should have to choose between caring for their loved ones and keeping their jobs. Jen is committed to creating a free or subsidized child care program for working parents in our existing public schools, which will be open to all elementary and middle school-aged children who live in the district. Jen believes parents work hard enough and shouldn't have to worry about being able to afford child care and after-school enrichment programs in their communities. As our next City Councilwoman, Jen will ensure all parents have access to the care that fits their schedules and the peace of mind they need.
What Jen Will do:
- Ensure all parents in the district who need child care or after-school care (including age-appropriate enrichment) will be able to access these services at no cost or low cost, depending on income and family size, even if their children attend private, charter, or religious schools during the school day.
- Work to expand the number of child care providers in the district and the number of slots available in the most desirable enrichment activities in the community.
- Build our area's first youth/teen community center by 2021.
Keep Our Community Moving
Most of us rely on the subway and buses to get around in our part of Brooklyn. Jen will demand better public transportation throughout the district and secure funding to revitalize our district's aging infrastructure. Jen will develop a 10-year plan of how our current infrastructure is going to support the massive influx of newcomers who will be moving into all the new construction being built across the district. We must tackle the dreadful congestion on Parkside and Caton Avenues, expand safe bicycle lanes on our main arteries, cut down on the double parking and abandoned cars on our narrow residential streets, and install more traffic calming measures to keep people safe. Accidents and crashes must be reduced in our neighborhoods.
What Jen will do:
- Demand the State and the City stop bickering about who pays for the capital improvements needed to repair our subway system. We need to reconsider congestion pricing at the state level to help pay for these costly system-wide upgrades without a fare hike from straphangers to foot the bill. We simply can't tolerate the poor service on the Q train that has been getting gradually worse since the line expanded into Manhattan's East Side. The near-daily service-related delays effect all of us and we must work to improve to the service. Jen will work with our state-level elected officials to secure the funding for these infrastructure improvements to make sure the entire city keeps moving along.
- Bring back full-time B train service, as we need it desperately, especially on the weekends. There is a similar situation with the 2 and 3 lines in District 40, with frequent weekend service outages effecting both lines. I would support the addition of more Select Bus Service routes, specifically the B41 and B35.
Protecting Our Small Businesses
Small, independently owned businesses are the anchor of our communities throughout District 40, and also employ many of us. But rising commercial rents threaten their existence. Jen will ensure that appropriate resources are available to small business owners to negotiate with their landlords to lock in rents for a long term period of time, at least 5-10 years as opposed to 2-3 years as is common. Jen will work with her colleagues in the City Council to create and pass a tax credit for commercial landlords who agree to provide long-term leases for their tenants.
What Jen will do:
- Provide resources and training for small business owners to negotiate on a level playing field with landlords with the help of free legal consultations through the City Council office.
- Create and pass legislation to help small business owners with more than 10 employees who are facing financial hardships due to fixed-price setting of their merchandise (gas stations, bookstores, local pharmacies) with an annual tax credit to offset their city tax payments.
- District 40 sees the third lowest investment in discretionary spending in the city, which hurts our district's economy and overall quality-of-life. Jen will make sure adequate resources are spent in our District and properly invest in our neighborhoods.