Statement of Chhaya CDC

in support of Street Vending Modernization Act

Speaker Mark-Viverito and New York City Council Members,
On behalf of CHHAYA CDC, I write to support the Street Vending Modernization Act that aims
to reform the current street vending system in New York City.
Chhaya CDA was founded in 2000 to work with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate
for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. Our headquarters is
located in Jackson Heights, Queens, where vendors can be found on almost every corner. Some
of our best clients are vendors whom we have helped to navigate the system, develop business
plans and grow their businesses.
Selling on streets without a permit seriously impedes the growth of any vendor’s business. Many
vendors must pay money to a “middleman” to find a permit in first place. Once they find a
permit, vendors face the risk that the permit holder will renege on the contract, raising the price.
We’ve even heard stories of scammers who trick vendors into paying a deposit, then disappear.
Unfortunately, because renting a permit is illegal in nature, when incidents like this happen,
vendors have no recourse. In a nutshell, high rents, unsafe transactions and strict regulations
create unnecessary burdens to these immigrant entrepreneurs while they are working hard to
serve our community. Adding new permits and legalizing food carts which are already in
operation would greatly 1) reduce the financial risk vendors encounter, 2) create a better and
healthier environment for local business development and 3) lead to a more sustainable
community.
In conclusion, the Street Vending Modernization Act is a great start to modernize the current
outdated street vending system. Queens is the home for many South Asian communities. More
sustainable and low-risk business opportunities for our immigrant entrepreneurs would not only
contribute greatly to the local economy but also make our community stronger and more
prosperous.

October 26, 2016