Affordable housing advocates storm Rent Guidelines Board amid downpour

Affordable housing advocates storm Rent Guidelines Board amid downpour
They’re not gonna take it: Domingo Aponte makes his voice heard at a rally outside of the Rent Guidelines Board’s public hearing on rent-stabilized apartments on June 19.
Photo by Jason Speakman

A little rain didn’t stop their parade.

Brooklyn tenants met housing advocates and elected officials as dark clouds swirled over Downtown on June 19 to storm the last public hearing of the Rent Guidelines Board before it votes today on proposed rate increases for rent-stabilized units, which attendees said could result in chaos if approved.

“If they allow these greedy landlords to continue to milk the people, there is going to be robbing and killing just to survive,” said Crown Heights resident Betty Key, who attended the march and rally.

The crowd, led by the pro–affordable housing group Rent Justice Coalition, convened at Borough Hall Plaza before marching on Saint Francis Founders’ College Hall on Remsen Street between Clinton and Court streets, where its members met Council members Jumaane Williams (D–Marine Park) and Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park), and railed against the proposed 1 to 3 percent hikes to 1-year leases and 2 to 4 percent hikes to 2-year leases in front of the Rent Guidelines Board, which preliminarily voted for the increases in April.

The changes show just how out-of-touch the city panel is with the common citizen, according to Key.

“Our government is not thinking about the people and how to make things better,” she said. “Instead, they are making things worse.”

The increases, if passed, would go into effect this October, ending two consecutive years of freezes on rates for rent-stabilized units.

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