A coalition of community groups will hold a rally and march on Saturday to urge elected officials to do more to solve the regional housing crisis.
Organized by New York Communities for Change, the rally will be held outside the Community Housing Innovations shelter at 450 Moreland Road in Commack at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 17 and the march kicks off at 10:45 a.m. at the Rockville Centre Long Island Rail Road station. The march will make stops at the Freeport LIRR station, the Western Beef supermarket on Nassau Road in Roosevelt, the Hempstead LIRR station and end at the Nassau Legislature building in Mineola.
The coalition, calling itself H4ALI (Housing for All Long Island), includes the Long Island Progressive Coalition, the Huntington Township Housing Coalition, the Long Island Social Justice Network, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Long Island Region of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign, and many others, and is advocating for the passage of proposed state legislation that would protect tenants. Those bills include Good Cause Eviction, which would cap annual rent increases to 3 percent, and Right to Counsel, which would establish the right to a free attorney for tenants in the state.
The H4ALI group is also demanding reparations for “centuries of racist housing policies and Indigenous land theft.”
William Bailey, a Long Island organizer for New York Communities for Change, said Long Island renters are suffering and its state representatives are doing nothing to lead the region out of the housing crisis.
“Despite the widespread rent hikes and evictions, the rising homelessness across Suffolk and Nassau counties, none of our five state senators have signed on to Good Cause Eviction,” Bailey told LIBN. “We are marching on them on Saturday to demand that they stand with their constituents over the real estate industry.”
A statement issued by the coalition urged elected officials to take immediate action.
“The members of H4ALI believe housing is a human right and should not be treated as a commodity, and that every human being should be guaranteed decent housing regardless of ability to pay,” according to the statement.
Rents in the New York area are up 26.7 percent in just the last year, according to a new report from Rent.com.
Real estate trade groups have lobbied against the bills supported by the H4ALI coalition, especially the proposed Good Cause Eviction legislation, claiming it would force property tax hikes on single-family homes, devalue rental properties and do nothing to increase the availability of affordable housing.