During an interview in his dining room, Coc Xol told Spectrum News 1 the original agreement with his landlord was that Coc Xol’s family would rent the unit for $1,500 per month. Earlier this year, the monthly rent was raised to $1,600, and was raised again last month.
When landlord Ricardo Villa visited Coc Xol to tell the family to leave, he informed Coc Xol the rent would go up to $1,800 while the family searched for a new rental, Coc Xol said. The experience has led Coc Xol, an indigenous immigrant from northern Guatemala who has lived in Kingston for 15 years, to become active with local housing and immigrant rights advocates.
“I don’t want any problems,” he said in Spanish. “I just want a home that is safe and confortable for my family … The threat of eviction keeps me up at night.”
This week he joined organizers advocacy group Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson at Academy Green Park to rally for passage of several pieces of legislation including the ‘Good Cause Eviction’ bill. If enacted into law, monthly rent increases would be capped at 3% each year. And to evict a tenant, a landlord would have to obtain approval of a reason to evict by a judge.
NLMH Organizer Diana López said Kingston officials should join this coalition of activists to pressure lawmakers to move the bill with just days left in the legislative session.
“And Kingston right now … we are really in a bad housing crisis, worse than we thought,” López said, “and we really think that Kingston should be a leader for other counties and cities for this.”