June 9, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Paulette Soltani, Paulette@vocal-ny.org
Mariah McGough, Mariah@vocal-ny.org
VOCAL-NY APPLAUDS THE SENATE PASSAGE OF BILL TO CONVERT DISTRESSED HOTELS INTO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The Assembly Announced Earlier Today it Would Also Vote for the Passage of HONDA
ALBANY, N.Y. — Today, the New York State Senate passed the House Our Neighbors With Dignity Act (S5257/A659), legislation which would convert distressed hotels into affordable housing across the state. The Assembly is expected to pass HONDA before the end of session. VOCAL-NY released the following statements in response:
STATEMENT FROM PAULETTE SOLTANI, VOCAL-NY POLITICAL DIRECTOR:
“The Senate’s passage of HONDA and the Assembly’s expected passage is recognition of the daily struggle of New Yorkers living in shelters, the streets, and in constant instability. There are obvious tools to confront the state’s historic homelessness crisis and end the perpetual suffering of so many people, and converting hotels to permanent, high-quality affordable housing is one of them.
Thank you to Senate Deputy Majority Leader Gianaris and Assembly Member Reyes for sponsoring HONDA and for their courageous leadership to take on a crisis that has long been treated like it could be left for another day. Their leadership, along with the persistence of Senator Kavanagh, Assembly Member Rosenthal, and many other lawmakers committed to housing justice, have paved the way for the state to continue building on this progress.
We applaud Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for following through on their commitments to homeless New Yorkers. Now we can’t stop here. Governor Cuomo must sign the bill and we must ensure this program grows and is funded long into the future.”
STATEMENT FROM ALTHEA MATTHEWS, LEADER WITH VOCAL-NY’S HOMELESS UNION WHO HAS BEEN LIVING IN A SHELTER FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS:
“It’s about time. We applaud the legislature for prioritizing HONDA. This is a needed band-aid on the housing crisis and it will have a real impact on people’s lives. We still need a comprehensive plan to create even more non-profit housing, and we are never going to solve the problem of homelessness until we stop seeing it as a business.”
STATEMENT FROM MILTON PEREZ, LEADER WITH VOCAL-NY’S HOMELESS UNION WHO HAS BEEN LIVING IN A SHELTER FOR FIVE YEARS:
“Creating low-income housing is the most important thing the State can do right now for people experiencing homelessness. This is a huge step in the right direction. We need housing available specifically for low and no-income people, and any program that is non-profit—where we don’t have to deal with corrupt landlords—is what will work best.”