NY Curbed reports that the city is taking extra steps to ensure that low-income residents in some of the city’s most rapidly changing neighborhoods aren’t unlawfully ousted from their homes. Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the city is allocating an additional $1 million in funding to his Tenant Support Unit in order to increase door-to-door outreach.
The 15-person TSU team will expand into nine more neighborhoods in efforts to educate low-income tenants that are facing eviction in housing court of their right to free legal representation under new legislation. The neighborhoods that are included in the outreach program are Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, Crown Heights, Harlem, Jamaica, Mariners Harbor, Port Richmond, Tremont, and Williamsbridge.
“Rather than waiting for New Yorkers to reach a crisis or call 311, the Tenant Support Unit is knocking on doors in New York’s most rapidly changing neighborhoods to make sure tenants are aware of their legal rights and get the services they need,” said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. “Make no mistake about it, as we build and protect 200,000 affordable homes across this city, we are also confronting landlords who ignore their duty to provide safe homes.”
The boost in funding will also allow the Transit Support Unit to launch a multilingual paid ad campaign in the neighborhoods to further ensure that tenants are aware of the new law. The TSU is part of Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to curb the city’s affordable housing crisis and to prevent displacement among New Yorkers.
Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years has been making strides toward its goal, with 77,650 units already under its belt, however, the plan has its critics. A recent study conducted by the Real Affordability for All coalition (RAFA) found that the mayor’s initiative isn’t serving the city’s extremely low-income New Yorkers and low-income New Yorkers recently rallied for an alternative affordable housing plan that would transform the city’s vacant New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) sites into housing for low-income seniors.