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CMS Attends RGB Hearing

On June 15th Catholic Migration Services was part of the public hearing that the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) was hosting. Tenant members from different neighborhoods including Woodside, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights and Elmhurst attended the hearing and testified for a much needed Rent Roll Back. Tenants spoke about how much of a burden rent has become and how they would have to leave their apartments and NYC in general if another increase was implemented. The tenants wore white T-shirts which they made colorful by writing messages and drawing images of how much of their income is spent on rent. Their testimonies included some data, but mainly their own stories which made them very powerful. Other groups that attended the RGB hearing were Minkwon, Centro Hispano Cuzcatlan, Make the Road NY and Chhaya.


RGB Preliminary Hearing

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On Wednesday, April 29th tenants and community groups rallied together to advocate for a rent roll-back for rent stabilized apartments by the New York City Rent Guidelines Board (RGB). CMS’ ITAP and BHIP, CASA, Los Sures, RENA and many other tenant advocacy organizations were present to show their support of a rent roll-back. Community members marched from Herald Square to The CUNY Graduate Center where the RGB preliminary vote was held. New York City Council Members Corey Johnson, Ben Kallos, and Jumaane Williams spoke at a press conference outside of The CUNY Graduate Center. They discussed the hardships tenants are facing with the high cost of rent and why they support a rent roll-back.

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After the press conference community members attended the preliminary vote held by the RGB. Both, RGB members representing the landlords and members representing tenants made proposals for this year’s increase, but it was the Chair, Rachel D. Godsil’s proposal, that got approved. Now the Rent Guidelines Board will only take into account the following range for the final vote. 0 to 2% increase for One-year leases and 0.5 to 3.5% increase for Two-year leases.


Public hearings will now be held in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx to provide the community with an opportunity to testify and advocate for a rent freeze or the lowest possible increase given the proposal approved by the RGB.

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Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings

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Catholic Migration Services’ Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Program will be hosting a Queens Town Hall on the right to counsel in Housing Court.  This event is an opportunity for community members to discuss Intro 214, a bill currently before the New York City Council which, if passed, would provide tenants the right to an attorney in eviction proceedings.  The town hall is an opportunity for community members to share their thoughts on the implications of going to court in eviction proceedings without an attorney and how it creates an additional incentive for landlords to harass and displace tenants. At the town hall, we will introduce Intro 214, and discuss how community members can achieve the historic goal of making New York City the first city in the United States to guarantee tenants a right to counsel in eviction proceedings. Please RSVP if you would like to attend.


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Vice Chair Crowley, Assemblyman Moya Host Immigration Forum


On Wednesday, April 8th, Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, and NYS Assembly Member Francisco Moya hosted an immigration forum in Jackson Heights, Queens. During this meeting leaders and experts on immigration discussed the status of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, the future of the NY DREAM Act, fraud prevention, the Central American Minors program, and different benefits and services available to immigrants in New York. This meeting provided members of the local community an opportunity to receive information and ask questions on the various programs that effect immigrants. CMS Immigration Counselor Marisol Canales was a member of the panel, she discussed CMS’ role in empowering immigrant communities and providing valuable resources and services. Other participating organizations included the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Legal Aid Society, SCO Family of Services, International Rescue Committee, Make the Road New York, Emerald Isle Immigration Center,, Queens Community House, and CUNY Citizenship Now. New York State Senator Jose Peralta also joined the meeting held by Crowley and Moya.