Housing is a human right. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone in our community to be without a clean, safe, affordable place to live. With that, I will propose and/or vote for the following legislation:
*For every dollar the City of Rochester uses to promote the creation or rehabilitation to rental housing, the same amount must be used to promote single home ownership (not expensive condos). This includes but is not limited to grants, loans, and tax breaks.
*All new housing built in the City of Rochester must use Universal Design principles.
*Designate 30% of Community Development Block Grant money into a fund to retrofit houses for accessibility.
*A property and school tax cap for elderly and impoverished homeowners.
*Create an environment so that the Rochester Housing Authority can focus more on home ownership than rentals.
*Expel banks from the City of Rochester who participate in redlining.
*Expand the use of eminent domain to take over slumlords’ property and abandoned houses and give these houses to those who will live in them.
*Change our housing inspection system to one that is complaint-based.
*Where safety issues are concerned, the City will fix all housing that the owner refuses to and then bill said owner.
*Development without displacement. This includes the freezing of tax bills in areas that experience new housing projects that drive up property values.
*Not allow the Rochester Police Department to participate in foreclosure evictions. It's not their job to do the bidding of banks.
The reason for the increase in focus on home-ownership is two-fold. One, the owning of a house is the acquisition of generational wealth, a key to breaking the cycle of poverty and helping balance the economic inequality we have in Rochester. Two, as you can see in current and future platform posts, I propose that we take over through eminent domain, abandoned houses in the City. By rehabbing them (through various non-profits as well as by the City itself), we will create home-owning opportunities, thus improving neighborhoods.
But it is understood that it is not appropriate for everyone to be a home-owner. Therefore, in keeping with the concept that housing is a human right, we must strengthen protections for tenants while not severely punishing landlords.
*Universal rent control in the City of Rochester.
*Just Cause Eviction legislation that does not allow landlords to evict people without an appropriate reason.
*A housing court that allows tenants to bring landlords to court for substandard housing and landlords bringing tenants to court for lease violations. (See an example here.)
*Adopt Inclusionary Zoning in Rochester.
While there was a recent improvement on how the City uses the concept of Area Median Income (AMI) to get developers to build affordable housing, the truth is, it still has not changed the fact that what is deemed "affordable" for many of our citizens isn't. Currently, we use the AMI of Monroe County to define the "area". That makes the median income much larger than it should be for those in the City.
*I will propose and support legislation that uses the AMI of the City of Rochester instead of Monroe County in the development of all affordable housing.
See platform plank on Land Use. (TBA)
See platform plank on homelessness. (TBA)