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CMS and its Housing Coalition Partners Gain Insight into the Rent Guidelines Boards

QHC March 2014On Wednesday March 26th CMS and its housing coalition partners gathered at St. Sebastian parish. Members learned about the power of building community coalitions to influence rent guideline policies. CMS’ Legal Intern Megan Leo presented information to members about workers’ rights in the workplace.

Legal Aid Society’s staff attorney,Kenneth Schaefer urged members of the housing coalition to pay close attention to all news that concerns the Rent Guidelines Board. The Rent Guidelines Board decides each year how much regulated rents will increase. On Thursday, March 27th, Mayor Bill de Blasio selected five new people to the board. The new members are Sarah Williams Willard, who will serve as an owners’ representative; Cecilia Joza and Steven Flax who will serve as public members; and Sheila Garcia who will serve as a tenant representative. Since rent laws are in the hands of the governor and state legislators, the rent board is one of the few methods through which the mayor can directly influence the rental market in the city. Tenants are hoping that the mayor will stay true to his campaign promise to implement a rent freeze. Kenneth Schaefer spoke about the power of coalition and cohesion to influence Mayor de Blasio and other city officials to make changes to the rent guidelines that consider the exorbitant rise in tenants’ rent last year. Kenneth also called attention to the Campaign for NYC Home Rule. This campaign supports the restoration of NYC’s ability to pass stronger rent and eviction protections. This campaign demands that NYC should have the autonomy to create rent laws.

CMS’ Legal Intern Megan Leo spoke about CMS’ Workers’ Rights Program and gave the members a greater understanding of the resources that are currently available to them to report workplace abuse or unsafe working conditions. Megan encouraged coalition members to contact CMS’ Linea Laboral if they have been a victim of workplace abuse or if they are currently working in unsafe conditions. Linea Laboral Operator Benjamin Petersen will help callers file a complaint against their employer.

After the meeting members received information about city programs and benefits from representatives from:  Fidelis Health Care, Catholic Charities , Sunnyside Community Services, the Queens Public Library , and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

For more information about Home Rule click here.

For more information about the recent appointments to the Rent Guidelines Board click here.

To file your complaint against your employer call our Linea Laboral 1-877-525-2267