A Plan to Ensure Fair, Equitable Housing for all of Peekskill’s Residents
Housing is a human right. That’s the idea at the heart of our housing platform, and it’s something we pledge to remember every time we need to make a decision that will impact the availability, affordability, and equity of housing in Peekskill.
The Hudson Valley is experiencing a housing crisis. As costs of living rise, more and more people are finding it hard to afford to live in the place they’ve called home. Peekskill’s homeowners and tenants are being hit the hardest by the housing crisis, as shown by the recent Westchester County Housing Needs Assessment. Peekskill has the highest rate of foreclosure and the highest percentage of tenants paying over half their income toward rent in the entire county.
In response, we’ll enact legislation to protect tenants by adopting rent-control programs, mandating affordable and workforce units in new development, and spurring creation of new affordable housing on underutilized city properties. Our full housing platform is below.
Strengthen protections for tenants.
- Take the required steps to expand the state Emergency Tenant Protection Act to include Peekskill, which would provide rent-control for tenants in buildings built before 1974 with six or more units.
- Adopt the state Good Cause Eviction Law in Peekskill to ensure that every tenant is entitled to a lease renewal and protected against unreasonable rent hikes unless the landlord provides a good cause for eviction.
- Ensure officials appointed by the city administration are committed to protecting public housing in Peekskill and are sympathetic to the challenges these residents face.
- Work collaboratively with the Peekskill Housing Authority to pursue federal money for public housing improvements.
Increase the amount of available housing, particularly middle-class and affordable units.
- Partner with nonprofit organizations to create new housing on underutilized city properties that is affordable to working and middle class Peekskill residents. This would include mixed-use development downtown to expand the tax base.
- Update city codes to foster the creation of housing units, including legalizing accessory dwelling units, expanding multi-family use, providing density bonuses, and streamlining the approval process.
- Investigate the creation of nonprofit community land trusts to obtain and develop abandoned property to meet housing needs.
Enact legislation to leverage new development to strengthen our city and community.
- Adopt legislation to require that at least 20 percent of units in new private development are designated workforce and affordable, targeted for working and middle class residents.
- Require that affordable components of residential development projects be based on a lower portion of the area median income that encompasses the actual income of Peekskill residents. This will require developers to price their “affordable” units at rates that Peekskill residents can afford, rather than using rates that reflect the much higher average Westchester County income.
- Require developers to contribute to a fund to help pay for the creation of new affordable housing on city land and to maintain affordability and maintenance in existing housing.
- Require developers to provide additional community benefits including transportation options such as ebike share, public shuttle service subsidies and broadband Internet.
- Reduce parking requirements for new developments, especially downtown and near the train, which will mean lower construction costs and more space for affordable units and community space in new buildings.
Maintain and improve the quality of life in Peekskill.
- Enforce codes against banks and absentee landlords to ensure appropriate maintenance and livable conditions.
- Use some of the funds from the new developer requirements to introduce programs for homeowner rehab or rental assistance.
Advocate for housing justice.
- Put pressure on the Peekskill Housing Authority to accept partial rent payments from public housing residents as they try to get back on their feet.
- Advocate for improved County services and funding including for transitional housing and to support the relocation and expansion of the Jan Peek shelter.
- Work with federal representatives and advocate for funding from HUD for housing improvements in public housing and to keep buildings under public ownership.
- Host educational programming and training regarding tenant rights and how to start your own tenant’s association.
- Create a tenant relations board to ensure compliance with state law requiring acceptance of choice vouchers and other benefits, and prevent income-based discrimination.