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With less than 40 days until NY State starts its new scal year on April 1, New Yorkers and aock o advocacy communities raced to Albany – during the 41st Annual Black, Puerto Rican,Hispanic and Asian Legislative Conerence – to discuss (and display via vendor booths) over 30critical issues concerning the state and make sure the new start includes resh rounds o unding.When NYC Comptroller John Lui, Neighborhood Housing Services Executive Director BernellGrier, Maggie Russell-Ciardi, Executive Director, enants & Neighbors, and State SenatorAdriano Espaillat spoke on the panel on housing none had nearly enough time to touch on allthe core issues regarding the lack o aordable housing.“Yes! I was a banker or 30 years, but I ound religion [and] I’m angry,” said Grier. “I am upsetthat I am up here this weekend and see all the dierent agendas that speak to what’s needed.Yes education is important, job creation is important, but where are we going to live? wo yearsago I came into this room and I gave a presentation and the room was maybe one-ourth lled.Now we have about hal o the room. I want this to be an overow room or next year. I wantto have to ght to have a orum on aordable housing. But I’m angry. I’m angry that there isthe voice and groundswell, there isn’t the millions mortgage march that’s happening across thiscountry or the assault that has been done to our communities. Tey are communities o colorand immigrants.”Russell-Ciardi used slides to illustrate the neighborhoods in NYC most directly impactedby tenant and homeowner displacements, as she conveyed her group’s support o legislativebills that would abolish Maximum Base Rents, inuse accountability in Rent GuidelinesBoard members selection process, adjust income denitions or Senior Citizen Rent IncreaseExemption (SCRIE), and expand the statute o limitations on arcane rent raud.Gladys Puglia o Make the Road NY bilingually spoke her plea that echoed the remarks o Russell-Ciardi as she urged people in the audience to go back into their communities with vigilance to organize and stay involved in 2012.Yet, it was news o upcoming changes to HCR that evoked the most response rom audiencemembers, afer Senator Espaillat revealed to them the agency’s plans to create a new website thatallows the public to access previous rents or rent-stabilized apartments. HCR currently has anonline tool that allows authorized users (landlords) to submit and access this inormation. In thepast HCR has treated this inormation as outside the explicit public domain. Speaking on any caveats with respect to privacy issues Espaillat said. “I don’t think it would be an issue, but we’reworking with them [HCR] right now on this.”Also, last week the agency Homes and Community Renewal announced the launch o a housingand neighborhood impact study to “explore how HCR’s investments have impacted New York’sresidents and neighborhoods.” Te selective survey will be mailed to renters and homeownersin more than 9,000 units that were constructed or rehabilitated since 2007 with unds romHCR’s capital and locally-administered programs.
Maggie Russell-Ciardi, Executive Director, Tenants & Neighbors speaks to the audience during thepanel “Housing: Building, Finding and Sustaining Affordable Housing” at the BPRHALC.
Photo: Brooklyn Free Press