After a lengthy public hearing Monday night, the Newburgh City Council adopted a local law that restricts evictions in certain housing situations.
The law passed by a vote of 6-0 with one abstention, making Newburgh the first Mid Hudson Valley municipality, and third in the state, to pass this kind of legislation that other governments have hesitated to put in place.
Rene Mejia Jr., a 28-year-old lifelong Newburgh resident and local organizer at For the Many, said he has lived in all four city wards and in 15 different apartments.
Mejia wouldn’t give his address during the hearing, as is standard when speakers identify themselves, for fear of retaliation from his landlord, he said.
“I urge you on the City Council to listen to the tenants,” Mejia told the council. “We can throw numbers around all day but at the end of the night, 68% of people here in the city of Newburgh are renters. So anything against that majority is just taking the minority into account but not really listening to the people that are here.”
Support for the law on Monday was mostly driven by renters and activists with the social justice organization For the Many, formerly called Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson.