In a recent policy op-ed, District Leader Josue (Josh) Pierre, a progressive Democrat in Flatbush running for the City’s 40th Council District (currently held by term-limited by Mathieu Eugene) proposes a New York City Tenant Protection Unit Under the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to ensure that all of the City’s renters fully benefit from the new all rent laws in Albany.
“A robust enforcement system requires three prongs: educating tenants, engaging communities, and holding bad landlords accountable. As a member of the City Council, I will push for the creation of a permanent Tenant Protection Unit within the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The NYC Tenant Protection Unit would be a revolutionary new type of city agency; a new nexus of activist leaders, investigators, community stakeholders, local non-profits and civil servants, all collaborating and fully equipped with the resources to protect every tenant in New York City,” writes Pierre in an original op-ed for another publication.
Pierre, long considered one of the few progressive electeds in Central Brooklyn, traveled to Albany recently to advocate in support of pending legislation that aims to address the affordable housing crisis as well as the rising homelessness that is impacting the city.
In his policy proposal, Pierre suggests that through the creation of an “NYC Tenant Protection Unit,” renters would receive the support they cannot currently access or are just unaware of.
“Unfortunately, our communities suffer from a systematic lack of resources and information, this is where the state Tenant Protection Unit has failed. Let’s take matters into our own hands through the creation of a city agency that more closely engages tenants, meeting them where they are in our diverse languages, and funding local non-profits, we can prevent those unfair evictions and rent increases experienced by tenants neighborhoods like Flatbush,” said Pierre.
This is all in line with some of Pierre’s other progressive style proposals. During his short state senate run, he proposed that all new housing built on publicly owned land sold by the city or state be made 100% affordable and opined that the methodology used to compute Area Median Income (AMI) for affordable housing development’s should be based on local zip codes or community boards.
“New York City and New York State rely on the federal government’s definition of Area Median Income, or AMI, when determining affordability. That’s ridiculous,” said Pierre. “Under their standards, the median income is nearly $75,000 for an individual living alone and over $106,000 for a family of four . That is not the reality for families in East Flatbush and Flatbush — the actual median household income in my district is just $55,000, and the individual income in $28,000 . We need homes for those working families, not more displacement.”
During his time as the Senior Financial Analyst for the New York City Comptroller’s Bureau for Economically Targeted Investment (ETI), Pierre worked to invest millions of pension dollars to help create thousands of units of affordable housing throughout the City. The ETI program is designed to address market inefficiencies by providing capital or liquidity to underserved communities, and the program has invested over $2 billion across the City since its creation in the 1980s.