Governor Andrew Cuomo,
My name is Gloria Tellez-Tovar and I live in a rent stabilized building for more than 20yrs. The building where I live is probably one of the few rent stabilized buildings that still exist in Bushwick. When my parents migrated from Mexico years ago we moved a lot, even back then it was very hard to find a place to live.
My daughter has been in Bushwick her whole life, we love our neighborhood but unfortunately it's changing slowly. A lot of people that used to live here are being forced out, and when I say that I mean that they have no other choice because they can no longer afford to pay the high rent increase. Public schools are dropping in enrollments and charters are starting to pop up, buildings are being renovated and prices are beyond of what we can afford and its getting out of control.
I don't know how long my building will stay rent stabilized, maybe until the landlord decides to sell it or finds a way to deem it unsafe to live. Where would someone go if they have been living there for 20 years? The rent amount is not going to be the same and we don't have the means to be traveling elsewhere because we were so accustom to the transportation system here and I don’t own a car so we’re left with very few options. I can't work at the moment because I’m still recovering from an illness. When I first got sick, I started having trouble paying rent on time and I had to go to court. Just the whole court process and trying to prevent an eviction prompt me to ask and see if there were any resources for people of low income. Now I’m actively trying to inform others about their rights and to help them get the necessary repairs they desperately need.
At the rate how the neighborhood is changing, I don't know how long I'm able to keep my apartment. The fear of gentrification is surreal, for now I'm able to stay and fight nonstop in court to get my apartment fix. When he discriminates against people with economic disadvantages or simply because they lack the knowledge of knowing their rights, he purposely neglects the building to drive us out.
For me, if I had to move I would have to go far from Bushwick because it's impossible to live here with the prices they are charging. I can't even imagine what would happen to those who are elderly or disable and have a fix income, where are they supposed to go? With so much development going on around the area, they are thinking more about condominiums and not in senior centers and deep affordable housing. Even with affordable housing they say they reserve for us we don’t qualify simply because we don’t have the Credit score to match their criteria. So I don't know who are you supposed to be caring about Governor, but you’re definitely not caring about those who need it the most.
After 20 wonderful years living in this neighborhood, the place that has seen me grow and create a family of my own, I see myself with one foot out the door because you have failed to address the housing crisis. Rents are increasing everywhere, and we can only dream for regulations that would allow tenants like me to hold our landlords accountable. The state needs to audit these landlords to see if they are in fact filing the right paperwork and giving the residents a chance regardless of immigration status or financial status or vouchers they hold. You develop in our community but don’t give back to our community. Stop segregating us!
Governor Cuomo: you need to stand up for what is right. Stand up for immigrant families and people of color who are struggling, and who deserve the right to housing. You must strengthen and expand tenants’ rights across New York State, and invest in code enforcement and housing quality in New York State’s 2018 budget.
Bushwick, New York