Why is this year different than all other years?
Tenants & Neighbors has been seeking an answer to that question, to no avail. When asked, the RGB chair responded that renting a space is expensive, and testimonies have dwindled at public hearings. We countered with the offer of a large space in the
available free of charge, and a mobilized base of tenants who are genuinely
interested in testifying before the RGB. In a letter dated April 26th,
Tenants & Neighbors and New Settlement Apartments’ Community Action for
Safe Apartments (CASA) invited the RGB to a public forum we are hosting on June
5th. The letter read as follows:
Dear Members of the
New York CityRent Guidelines Board,
We would like to invite you to an exciting public hearing to discuss issues in rent stabilized housing in the
Bronxon Wednesday, June 5th, at 5PM.
As you know, it has been customary for the Rent Guidelines Board to hold one public hearing in
Manhattanand one in an outer borough, in the evening. This year, however, there has been just one hearing scheduled for June 13th in Manhattan. We are concerned that only holding a day-time hearing in Manhattanwill make it impossible for tenants in the rest of the city to testify. Many tenants cannot afford to take time off work to testify, since doing so for many New Yorkers means risking a day’s pay and even their jobs. We therefore urge you not only to attend this evening hearing in the Bronxbut to also make this hearing an official RGB Public Hearing.
While we acknowledge that turnout at outer borough hearings has been waning in recent years and that the RGB’s budget is constrained, this year tenants have been reaching out to us and demanding another opportunity to be heard. Demand for this hearing has been most concentrated in the
Bronx, where, as UNHP’s Gregory Lobo Jost discussed in his invited testimony, tenants are facing severe crises of affordability.
To meet this demand, New Settlement Apartments’ Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA) and Tenants & Neighbors invite you to participate in a forum on Wednesday, June 5th at New Settlement’s Community Campus,
1501 Jerome Avenue(at 172nd St) in the Bronx, starting at 5:00 pm. We expect a full house of tenants who would otherwise not be able to testify.
We strongly encourage the Board to attend this community-supported Public Hearing and to add it to the RGB’s calendar of official hearings. We know that you are all busy, but we believe it is incredibly important to provide this community with an opportunity to have its voices heard, and share crucial testimonies that may inform your deliberations. This year, tenants in the
Bronxare coming together to speak out about the affordability of their homes. Will you be there to hear them?
Director of Housing Organizing
CASA- New Settlement Apartments
Rent Regulation Campaign Coordinator
Tenants & Neighbors
This letter was distributed to every member of the Rent Guidelines Board; to this day, we have received no response. We strongly encourage members of the Rent Guidelines Board to attend, and hear from a broader range of testifiers than those available to speak during the day in
Manhattan. This will be
an important event with a large showing. It is a gesture in good faith, and an
opportunity for the Board to make itself available to people in one of the most
densely rent stabilized districts in the city, as well as the tenants from all
5 boroughs who will convene there.
Whether or not the RGB holds an outer-borough hearing, the people will speak out. Will the Rent Guidelines Board be there to listen?
This community-sponsored RGB hearing will take place Wednesday, June 5th at New Settlement’s Community Campus, 1501 Jerome Avenue (at 172nd St, near the 4 or D train stops at 170th street) in the Bronx, starting at 5:00 pm. All are invited to attend, speak, and listen.