Letter: State should pass tenant-protection laws

We the undersigned write to encourage the New York State legislature to approve the nine tenant-protection bills currently under consideration. These bills aim to support tenants in the enjoyment of their homes. They serve to clarify the relationships and duties between landlord and tenant while also ensuring that tenants can safely call their house their home.

We recognize that these bills are only a part of the solution to our housing concerns. Our recently concluded housing hearings have demonstrated that housing is a crisis for many of our friends, family members and neighbors. The hearings also revealed that there are many stakeholders beyond renters — including homeowners, landlords, real estate developers, social service providers, and others — who are essential to the conversation about housing. As we continue to seek out and implement new housing strategies, our aim is to work with all these involved parties.

Our support for these bills grows naturally out of our firm commitment to improving housing throughout the city. We have worked toward remedying the problems faced by our neighbors who seek affordable housing. We have encouraged the development of new units in RUPCO projects such as the Lace Mill, Energy Square, and Landmark Place. We have supported the much-needed renovation of affordable housing for the elderly at the Governor Clinton and Yosman Towers. We have created a land bank to expand affordable home ownership for first-time home buyers. The city, along with agencies such as RUPCO and Family of Woodstock, provides a number of programs to financially assist first-time home buyers and low-income residents.

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We have more to do. We must investigate and implement an array of policies, from regulating short-term rentals to providing for quality inspection of rental units to expanding the availability of housing at affordable and middle-income levels. As public officials, we are dedicated to moving beyond slogans and rhetoric to encourage the further development of healthy, safe, and affordable places to live. We call on all Kingstonians to join us in generating community-based solutions. We will continue listening and working toward an ever-better Kingston for all.

Steve Noble, mayor, City of Kingston
Reynolds Scott-Childress, alderman, Ward 3
Andrea Shaut, alderwoman, Ward 9

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