Today our hearts are filled with joy as 83-85 Bowery tenants are finally able to return to the home they were forced to evacuate on a cold winter night. Since the beginning of this nightmare, my office has worked tirelessly advocating for a just and transparent process. Our office remained vigilant, monitoring the ongoing progress of the construction and tenants welfare. Throughout the many unexpected turns and delays due to staircase repairs, the discovery of asbestos and even personal possessions being disposed into massive garbage containers, 83-85 Bowery has stood strong. Im happy to congratulate and applaud 83-85 Bowery tenants for their unwavering perseverance. You have shown that tenant voices matter and landlords must be kept accountable for providing a safe and habitable home.
I am grateful to the organizations, attorneys, along with the elected officials who have supported 83-85 Bowery tenants during some of the most challenging times. Together we worked to ensure that seniors, children and families, returned safely to their homes. As a result of tenants determination, victories were also achieved in the court through an unprecedented settlement.
While it brings me great joy to see 83-85 Bowery tenants return home, our work is far from done. At the State level we must continue to fight for our tenants by expanding tenant protections that guarantee that our housing laws can prevent tragedies like the one we witnessed at 83-85 Bowery, and ensure that our agencies can better serve our communities. Housing should be a right, not a privilege. No person should ever have to be displaced or experience what our tenants at 83-85 Bowery have, and we must do better so that events like these never again occur. Currently, New York continues to be one of the most unaffordable states to live in, thus it is imperative that we not only build new buildings, but that we also enact strong rent regulations to keep existing affordable housing in stock. Safe and affordable housing is a right which is clearly not reflected in the current state of housing in New York.