As a foreclosure prevention counselor, I see the suffering caused by New York’s housing crisis up close every day: families forced out of the homes they worked their whole lives to earn; tenants evicted after unconscionable rent hikes; neighbors on the brink of homelessness due to illness, injury, or job loss.
Even worse, it’s a crisis of our own making. For years, our representatives in Albany have enabled an out-of-control real estate industry that turned family homes into investment properties and drove up rents to unattainable levels, all while letting our public housing fall into decay and disrepair. They did it because their careers were bankrolled by the very industry that profited off of all this misery.
A crisis of this scale requires solutions to match. We need ironclad tenant and homeowner protections from unscrupulous landlords and predatory lenders, a dramatic expansion of social housing, and support for alternative housing models like community land trusts. Above all, we must enact a homes guarantee and work to decommidify housing.
But none of this will be possible unless we end the pernicious influence of the real estate industry over our politics. Some politicians have pledged to no longer accept their money, but these promises are often vague and fail to specify the many tools the industry has to buy their votes.
That’s why I want to be very clear about what I mean when I say our campaign won’t be taking any real estate money. I pledge not to take a dime from:
- Real estate companies giving direct corporate contributions
- Real estate developers, executives, and big landlords giving as individuals
- Corporate PACs funded by the real estate industry to promote their interests
- LLCs used by landlords to give to politicians anonymously
This is the most comprehensive pledge to date of any candidate who claims to not accept real estate money, and I call on all such candidates to clarify the nature of their pledge.