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Mayor Eric Adams Announces Launch of New York City’s First-Ever Tenant Protection Cabinet

 – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the launch of the Tenant Protection Cabinet, a multi-agency collaboration to better serve renters in New York City by developing policies and long-term strategies that support tenants and ensure safer, fairer housing conditions. Following the model of the successful New York City Cabinet for Older New Yorkers, the Tenant Protection Cabinet — co-chaired by Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer and New York City Executive Director for Housing Leila Bozorg — builds on the Adams administration’s record of investments and policies that uplift and support tenants across New York City, and was a key initiative of Mayor Adams’ State of the City address.

“Every day, New Yorkers work hard to build a better future for themselves, their kids and their families, but we cannot have a truly livable city with a housing and affordability crisis,” said Mayor Adams. “The data is clear: the demand to live in our city is far outpacing our ability to build housing, but we will not accept a city where renters are priced out of a chance to build their future. New Yorkers need our support now, and the Tenant Protection Cabinet is going to deliver it to them. Homes are more than brick and mortar — they are places where New Yorkers who rent can build their American Dreams. Together, this cabinet will work to deliver relief for tenants and working-class New Yorkers.”

“Protecting tenants is fundamental to our administration’s vision for housing, and we’re not only using every tool available, but also creating new ones to ensure all New Yorkers have recourse against bad landlords,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “Mayor Adams has pushed us to take a whole-of-government approach to fulfilling the needs of New Yorkers, and the Tenant Protection Cabinet brings together over two dozen agencies working on tenant issues to help New Yorkers better navigate the city’s resources, and have the safe, quality housing they deserve.”

“As a city with millions of tenants, it is crucial that New York City’s leaders come together to provide safe and stable housing for our renters,” said Executive Director Leila Bozorg. “This year, rents are high and our rental vacancy rate is at its lowest, making this a particularly hard time to find and stay in affordable, high-quality housing. As we continue to advocate in Albany for tools that allow us to build more homes, the Tenant Protection Cabinet will be working hard to develop policies and implement solutions that make it easier for tenants to navigate services and access the important supports the city offers. Thank you to all the city agencies who work hard day in and out to serve the many tenants who call New York home.

The Tenant Protection Cabinet will facilitate better information sharing and coordination amongst agencies to:

  • Ensure that tenants are connected to the same information and resources regardless of the hotline or agency they contact;
  • Focus attention on underutilized tenant services to match New Yorkers with the supports they need; and
  • Use data strategically to identify and target areas of highest need, and track progress towards better, more stable housing for tenants.

The launch of the Tenant Protection Cabinet comes at a time of great urgency, following last month’s release of the New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey that found a clear disparity in housing quality by race/ethnicity of heads of household. The survey found that 23 percent of Black and 20 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers reported three or more problems with their housing, compared to 9 percent among those households headed by both a white New Yorker or Asian New Yorker. TPC aims to bolster resources and develop tenant supportive policies to ensure they are living in safe, fair housing conditions, regardless of race or income.

Today’s announcement is part of an ongoing commitment by the Adams administration to develop policies and invest in programs to support tenants. Last summer, the Public Engagement Unit (PEU) launched a live operator tenant helpline to provide immediate support to New York tenants who face potential eviction, landlord harassment, or unacceptable living conditions. New Yorkers seeking the PEU Tenant Helpline can call 311 and be referred to a live operator.

Mayor Adams has recently taken strong enforcement action against landlords who do not properly maintain their properties — most recently obtaining over $4 million and the appointment of a 7A administrator (an individual appointed by a court to operate privately-owned buildings that have conditions that are dangerous to the tenants’ life, health, and safety) against a single landlord with a portfolio of buildings.

This announcement also builds on the Adams administration’s advocacy for state lawmakers to consider a package of new affordable housing tools to help deliver relief to New Yorkers in the midst of a housing and affordability crisis. The administration continues to use every tool at its disposal to ease the pressure of the housing crisis, including launching a new $50 million initiative to help minority business enterprises developers overcome historical financial barriers and fully participate in the development of critically-needed affordable housing for New Yorkers.

The Tenant Protection Cabinet includes the following city offices:

  • New York City Mayor’s Office
  • Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY)
  • New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)
  • New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)
  • New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA)
  • New York City Department of Buildings (DOB)
  • New York City Department of Finance (DOF)
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
  • New York City Department of Social Services (DSS)
  • New York City Department of Veterans Services (DVS)
  • New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)
  • New York City Director of Rodent Mitigation
  • New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM)
  • New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
  • New York City Law Department
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ)
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice (MOERJ)
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE)
  • New York City Mayor’s Office of Technology Innovation
  • New York City Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV)
  • New York City Police Department (NYPD)
  • PEU

To accelerate housing production and deliver relief to New Yorkers, the Adams administration has advanced a number of creative solutions, including launching its “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” proposal to build 100,000 additional homes through significant pro-housing reforms to the city’s zoning code; laying out an office conversion accelerator to advance conversions more quickly; unveiling new proposed rules to streamline approvals for sustainable housing; and debuting several pilot programs to help fund the creation of accessory dwelling unitshelp move New Yorkers out of shelters and into renovated apartments, and help fuel mixed-income developments in neighborhoods across the city; among other innovative efforts.

New York City continues to face a serious housing shortage with a record-high shelter population totaling more than 120,000 individuals in the city’s care. But under Mayor Adams’ leadership, the city expanded the number of New Yorkers in shelter who are eligible to access city-funded rental assistance through City Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) housing vouchers, and then made further innovations to CityFHEPS to immediately and significantly expand access to the housing vouchers by allowing them to be utilized in any county or locality across New York state. 

“New York City is committed to an upstream approach when supporting children and families, and, as part of that work, families must have access to a safe place to live where they can easily access the resources and support they need,” said ACS Commissioner Jess Dannhauser. “This new cabinet will help us to collaborate with our fellow agencies to work together and provide the highest level of service to families so that they can thrive.”

“Safe and stable housing is essential for communities to thrive. New York City has one of the broadest civil rights laws in the nation that protects New Yorkers from discrimination while in their home or in the process of finding one,” said CCHR Commissioner and Chair Annabel Palma. “This administration values teamwork and understands the importance of multi-agency collaboration. Together, as one city government, we can provide the essential services and resources to New Yorkers who need them.”

“As we continue building an age-inclusive city, housing remains among the most critical issues impacting all New Yorkers, including older ones,” said DFTA Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “By bringing agencies together to help older adults remain in their apartments, they can continue living in the communities they know best. This model has worked for the Cabinet for Older New Yorkers, where we have taken significant steps to reduce ageism and ensure that older residents are aware of all available resources. I commend the administration’s deep commitment to taking a collaborative approach to the critically important issue of housing and look forward to working with my colleagues to continue this progress through in the newly-formed Tenant Protection Cabinet.”

“The creation of the city’s first-ever Tenant Protection Cabinet shows the administration’s commitment to supporting the fundamental rights of all tenants living in our city, and, at DOB, the commitment to protect New Yorkers from the clutches of negligent landlords remains paramount,” said DOB Commissioner Jimmy Oddo. “To that end, we look forward to working closely with our partners in the New York City Council to increase DOB’s access to new enforcement tools that will hold the worst actors accountable for their legal responsibilities to maintain their buildings. From the oversight of DOB’s Office of the Tenant Advocate to the enforcement of mandatory Tenant Protection Plans in occupied multiple dwellings, our mandate to safeguard tenants is resolute and joining this multi-agency cabinet will boost our efforts to advocate for the enhanced enforcement tools we need.”

“We are excited to be a part of the Tenant Protection Cabinet, partnering with city agencies to provide New Yorkers with better access to essential city resources and services,” said DOF Commissioner Preston Niblack. “At DOF, we are dedicated to helping eligible tenants receive the full benefits they are entitled to through programs such as the NYC Rent Freeze Program, which allows older adults and those with disabilities to stay in affordable housing. We look forward to joining in this multi-agency initiative to continue to elevate crucial programs and services, safeguard tenants, and promote housing stability in our city.”

“It’s simple, in the greatest city in the world, every tenant deserves protection from negligent landlords, harassment, and displacement,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrion Jr. “The new Tenant Protection Cabinet brings together leaders and experts to break down silos, streamline efforts, and find new solutions to keep families in their homes and keep those homes in safe and in good condition. Mayor Adams has given us a clear mission: make New York a stronger, better, and fairer city for tenants. Under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer and Executive Director for Housing Leila Bozorg, we are ready to make that mission a reality.”

“With the announcement of the first-ever Tenant Protection Cabinet, the Adams administration is reaffirming its commitment to New York City renters by taking meaningful action to improve access to the city’s robust and varied tenant supports,” said DSS Commissioner Molly Wasow Park. “DSS provides an array of vital housing supports, including rental assistance and no-cost legal representation to low-income New Yorkers in housing court, that help keep New Yorkers in their homes, and we look forward to working with Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, Executive Director Bozorg, and the other members of the cabinet to bolster theses services and better assist New York City’s tenants.”

“Access to safe and fair housing is not just a basic need, it is a critical pillar of stability for all veterans, especially those making the transition to civilian life,” said DVS Commissioner James Hendon. “By ensuring equitable access to housing resources and addressing housing disparities, the Tenant Protection Cabinet not only supports the well-being of New Yorkers but also honors the sacrifices of those who served our nation.”

“DYCD’s role on the Tenant Protection Cabinet builds on our agency’s existing work through runaway and homeless youth and healthy families programs — connecting young people and adults to more stable housing and helping New Yorkers prevent eviction and housing discrimination,” said DYCD Commissioner Keith Howard. “Mayor Adams has a bold vision for fair, safe, and affordable housing, and DYCD is excited to join our agency partners in making sure it is a reality for all.”

“All New Yorkers deserve a living space that is pest free,” said Citywide Director of Rodent Mitigation Kathleen Corradi. “The Tenant Protection Cabinet will support and empower tenants to make this a reality. I look forward to collaborating, building more efficient systems, and delivering results for our city’s renters.”

“Homes, as critical lifelines to resilience, anchor New York City’s communities during emergencies, and the Tenant Protection Cabinet emphasizes housing’s role as an essential element in emergency readiness,” said NYCEM Commissioner Zach Iscol. “Under Mayor Adams’s administration, the Tenant Protection Cabinet will enhance coordination and resource sharing among city agencies, streamlining solutions and delivering real benefits to New Yorkers.”

“The city’s first-ever Tenant Protection Cabinet will serve as a collaborative conduit, connecting tenants to invaluable resources and ensuring safe and equitable conditions for residents,” said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “We look forward to working in close coordination with Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, Executive Director Bozorg, and our partner agencies to provide enhanced access to housing programs and services to New Yorkers, particularly NYCHA residents.”

“The establishment of the city’s Tenant Protection Cabinet is a win for the millions of tenants residing in our city,” said Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix. “The Law Department has a strong record of holding landlords accountable in court whenever they violate our housing laws and risk the safety of New Yorkers. We look forward to continuing that good work with our agency partners and furthering the goals of fairness and equity in housing through this comprehensive new initiative.”

“Safe and secure housing is a fundamental building block of public safety, and a critical part of this office’s mission,” said MOCJ Director Deanna Logan. “I look forward to working with our sister agencies to ensure that New York’s renters have access to essential city services, further demonstrating Mayor Adams’s commitment to safety and fairness for all New Yorkers.” 

“Access to safe, affordable, and secure housing is essential to our health, well-being, and social ties. We must ensure that every tenant, regardless of race or income, is protected and has access to the resources and support they need,” said Chief Equity Officer and MOERJ Commissioner Sideya Sherman. “We welcome the launch of the city’s first-ever Tenant Protection Cabinet, a major step forward in promoting problem-solving and collaboration across agencies to ensure all New Yorkers have access to the safe, quality housing they deserve.”

“The Tenant Protection Cabinet demonstrates this administration’s deep commitment to providing all New Yorkers with resources and support critical to safe and fair housing,” said Chief Technology Officer and OTI Commissioner Matthew Fraser. “As a trusted source of reliable information on city services and programs, including housing rules and tenant rights, NYC311 will be an invaluable contributor to the cabinet’s important mission.”

“The Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement has a proven track record of collaborating with sister agencies to ensure housing is kept available to the tenants of New York City,” said OSE Executive Director Christian Klossner. “OSE is excited to see these efforts amplified by the enhanced coordination and effectiveness tenants can expect from the Tenant Protection Cabinet.”

“The men and women of the NYPD work hand-in-hand with our neighbors throughout the five boroughs every day, and we embrace this new multi-agency effort to ensure that all New York City tenants have safe, fair, and equitable access to the services they expect and deserve,” said NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban.

“The launch of the Tenant Protection Cabinet is a significant step forward in our mission to protect the rights of New York City’s tenants,” said PEU Executive Director Adrienne Lever. “I’m proud of the dedicated efforts of our Tenant Support Unit and Tenant Helpline in advocating for tenants across the city. Their grassroots outreach efforts have been essential in laying the groundwork for the Tenant Protection Cabinet, emphasizing the importance of collaborative approaches in addressing complex housing challenges.”

“As a formerly homeless New Yorker who has personally experienced the challenges of navigating housing instability, growing up in the South Bronx, and facing homelessness as a single parent, I am pleased to see the Adams administration, under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, taking decisive action to prevent homelessness through a focus on tenant protections,” said Shams DaBaron aka “Da Homeless Hero.” “The launch of the city’s first-ever Tenant Protection Cabinet marks a significant step forward in ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to the support and resources they need to secure and maintain stable housing. The cabinet’s commitment to bringing together leaders from over two dozen agencies will streamline access to impactful services, help tenants more easily navigate city government, and provide much-needed support for working New Yorkers, ensuring that no one is left behind in the fight for safe, affordable housing. As a voucher holder myself, I am grateful for the opportunity to live in stable housing, and I commend the city for advocating for affordable housing in Albany while simultaneously taking action to protect tenants here in New York City. The Tenant Protection Cabinet represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to build a more equitable and compassionate city for all.”

“In our collective efforts to deliver more affordable housing to communities in need, we must not lose sight of the equally important work that is tenant and housing stability,” said Baaba Halm, vice president and market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “Many renters across the city are struggling with rental arrears and rising housing costs, issues that require comprehensive programmatic and policy solutions. To that end, we applaud the creation of the Tenant Protection Cabinet and look forward to supporting its critical, cross-agency work to tackle these urgent issues.” 

“The need for clear communication and strategic coordination between different city agencies is crucial to ensuring that tenant protection policies are actually implemented in a way that serves the people who need them most effectively,” said Aaron Carr, founder and executive director, Housing Rights Initiative. “We are hopeful that this new Tenant Protection Cabinet will provide a forum for exactly this type of interagency collaboration and we applaud City Hall for their decision to convene it.”

March 15, 2024 Manhattan NY

Source: NYC.gov – Midtown Tribune news
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March 2024

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