Housing advocates expand into Columbia County
The grassroots organization For the Many has announced a fundraising campaign to expand its reach into Columbia County.
For the Many advocates for affordable housing in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Middletown and Newburgh. The group hopes to raise $149,000 to open a new office in Hudson and hire new staff including an organizer and a part-time administrator.
“We’re so excited to be growing our movement in Hudson and the rest of Columbia County,” said Jonathan Bix, executive director of For the Many said in a statement. “From electing Assemblywoman Sarahana Shrestha to enacting a 15% rent reduction, we’re scoring major victories that are putting the Hudson Valley on the map. We plan to continue those fights for housing, climate and immigrant justice as we work to build a Columbia County For the Many.”
Aaron Narraph Fernando, the communications lead at For the Many expressed his excitement about The Hudson expansion and the importance of reaching their financial goal. “We’re hoping to fundraise $149,000 specifically for an office and staff in Columbia County,” spokesman Aaron Narraph Fernando said. “We’re confident that the potential to growth our movement north will excite our donors and allow us to meet our goal.” After meetings with representatives from the Hudson-Catskill Housing Coalition and Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, they were encouraged to venture into Columbia County. “We wanted to make sure they supported us becoming part of the ecosystem before we finalized our plans,” Fernando said. “We’ve had strong relationships with both for a while through the statewide campaigns we work on, and we think they’re both already doing amazing work in Columbia County and Hudson. So we had and are continuing to have conversations with them, and thankfully they’ve made it very clear they wanted us to join them in Columbia County, they’ve also been sharing lots of important information and relationships with us, which we’re extremely grateful for. We’re really excited to work closely with both of them on local and statewide politics impacting Columbia.” Hudson, like many other communities, is having a housing crisis. When For the Many acquires office property in Hudson, the plans call for addressing high rents and the lack of affordable housing.
“Hudson is in the middle of a housing crisis. One of For the Many top priorities would be passing local and state laws to address skyrocketing rents and a lack of affordable housing,” Fernando said. “Our ‘Homes not Hotels’ campaign seeks to work with local lawmakers to ban Airbnbs where the owner doesn’t actually live there, also known as “vacation rentals. “Vacation rentals are a large reason why it’s so difficult to find a place to rent or buy in Hudson,” Fernando said. “Out-of-town investors are coming in, buying up entire homes and listing them on Airbnb as shortterm rentals rather than long-term housing. This drives up housing costs for everyone else. By banning vacation rentals (while still allowing homeowners to rent out an extra room or floor in their house). We can free up housing for the people who actually live in Hudson. We have also had huge success in Kingston with passing rent stabilization and winning a 15% rent reduction. “The Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 allows cities to declare a housing emergency if their vacancy rate is under 5%. If so, all buildings built before 1974 with 6 or more units would become rent stabilized and annual rent adjustments would be set by a Rent Guidelines Board. Upstate cities weren’t allowed to opt into the ETPA until the 2019 rent laws were passed. We believe that Hudson tenants also deserve a rent reduction and all the protections that come with the ETPA.”