Housing crisis

Charlie Kratovil Releases Plan to Tackle New Brunswick’s Growing Housing Crisis

Policy platform emphasizes affordability, strengthens tenants’ rights, promotes homeownership and sets New Brunswick on the path to ending homelessness

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – At a rally with supporters and community members outside the city’s Housing Authority offices, New Brunswick mayoral candidate Charlie Kratovil presented his Declaration of housing justice rights, a 10-point policy proposal to address the growing housing crisis in the city.

“Our city is increasingly unaffordable. And one of the biggest driving forces for people leaving New Brunswick is the high cost of housing,” said candidate Charlie Kratovil. “After conversations with the community and organizations engaged in addressing the housing crisis, I am announcing my Housing Justice Bill of Rights. This 10-point policy proposal will provide the basic framework for making in the face of this crisis, making more housing affordable and finally ending homelessness in our city.

The full text of Charlie Kratovil’s Housing Justice Bill of Rights can be viewed below:

Housing Justice Bill of Rights for New Brunswick

Safe and affordable housing is a human right. However, in New Brunswick, it is a luxury that many can no longer afford. In the midst of a national housing crisis, rent prices in New Brunswick have risen faster than almost anywhere else in the country. Over the past 30 years, our city’s leaders have actively worked with corporations and real estate developers to demolish affordable housing and erect thousands of “luxury” apartments, leading to a situation where the city has thousands of ‘vacant units while hundreds of people here have no homes at all.

As Mayor of New Brunswick, Charlie Kratovil would put our residents first and work to create affordable, quality, safe and accessible housing for all.

The four fundamental tenets of Charlie’s housing justice policy:

Affordability at the center of all housing policies
Strong tenant rights
Compassionate and Effective Approach to Addressing Homelessness
Promotion of home ownership
These are the guiding values ​​that Charlie will consider in his housing policy decisions and that have informed the 10 policies below that Charlie will strive to implement if elected mayor.

1. Lease-to-own program

New Brunswick has the lowest homeownership rate of any city in New Jersey. To promote stable, long-term housing that will allow our residents to put down roots and create wealth in our community, we will launch a city-supported rent-to-own program aimed at helping residents low and middle income to pay a deposit to buy the house they rent. This program will help bridge the growing gap between tenants and landlords and provide tenants with a sustainable pathway to establish stability.

2. Reinforcement of rent control measures

Rent control is an essential tool to keep housing prices stable and affordable for current residents. Although New Brunswick has rent control for some rental housing, annual rent increase caps are arbitrarily set, poorly enforced, and the Rent Control Board has been largely inactive in protecting and promoting new rent control housing. The Board has met only once during this calendar year. If elected, Charlie would reform the culture of inaction within the Rent Control Board, eliminate the arbitrary minimum annual increase, and allocate funds to staff responsible for educating tenants about their rights, protecting and respond effectively to tenant complaints and actively enforce rent control caps. to protect affordability.

3. Right to a lawyer for tenants facing eviction

Evictions are on the rise and fears of impending homelessness plague many of our residents. And while nearly all professional landlords have an attorney to represent their interests, the vast majority of tenants must navigate this complex process on their own, unaware of their legal rights or the resources available to help them. Establishing a right to counsel, like the one adopted by New Jersey’s largest city, Newark, will address this extreme power imbalance, prevent people from losing their homes and becoming homeless. shelter, and will help ensure tenants finally get a fair deal here in New Brunswick.

4. Improve the quality of existing housing

Much of our city’s housing is deteriorating due to a lack of resources for landlords or due to negligent and predatory landlords. Charlie would work with landlords to enforce and enforce the housing code with a focus on violations that affect tenant safety and quality of life. We will also create a better system to monitor existing homes to determine which properties are most in need of repairs and support rehabilitation of distressed homes.

5. Inclusive zoning

If elected, Charlie will enact an inclusive zoning ordinance that ensures affordable housing is part of all major new developments and will end the practice of developers being able to buy their way of not including affordable housing in their development plans. luxury apartments. To that end, we propose setting a minimum standard of affordable units in all major developments similar to the standards set by Mayor Ras Baraka and his administration in Newark.

6. Remove redevelopment powers from the New Brunswick Housing Authority

The NBHA’s mission is to provide decent and affordable housing for families in need. But the agency has been given an entirely separate mission to act as a redevelopment agency, which regularly conflicts with its remit as a housing authority. With skewed priorities pushed by the current administration, the NBHA has all but abandoned its mission of affordability and proceeded to automatically approve gentrified luxury apartment projects that have driven up the cost of housing for all of us. If elected, Charlie would withdraw their powers and reassign the responsibility for redevelopment to the elected members of the city council.

7. Housing First

Homelessness has long been a crisis in our city, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it exponentially worse. We know that criminalizing homelessness is as ineffective as it is inhumane, and half-hearted attempts to provide temporary shelter or sporadic resources do nothing to address the root problem. Addressing homelessness means providing stable, permanent housing, and to do that, we will build emergency housing units to provide safety and dignity to those struggling and deserving here. As mayor, Charlie would work with major local nonprofits and invest in building permanent supportive housing for members of the New Brunswick community who need it. Charlie would also facilitate comprehensive services for newly housed residents who need help getting back on their feet, finding employment, and accessing mental health and addictions services.

8. Incentivize landlords to set affordable housing prices

Over the past three decades, the current administration has engaged in a pattern of inaction on affordable housing and systemic patronage to the wealthy. As a result, thousands of housing units in our city remain empty, despite the immense need for affordable housing among our residents. For many landlords, it pays more to set high rental prices and wait for wealthier tenants to arrive, than to set affordable rents to meet the needs of current city residents. Our administration would provide resources to tenants and landlords to modify this incentive structure and prioritize the needs of current low-income residents.

9. Environmental Justice Zoning

Housing, health and environmental issues are interconnected areas that affect the quality of life in our city. In New Brunswick, it is not uncommon to see homes near industrial sites and contaminated land. If elected, Charlie would work to protect residents from the negative health effects associated with residing next to industrial areas and shape future zoning decisions to create a better future for all residents of our city.

10. Reject long-term tax exemptions for developers who do not fund our schools

Good housing and good schools must go hand in hand. The current administration has promoted a culture of toxic development that sabotages our school system. Our schools serve children from all living areas of the city and depend on property taxes to support their vital functions. But the current administration has a habit of rubber-stamping every long-term tax holiday that comes its way, widening the gap between rich and poor and allowing them to skip property taxes and fund our schools. public. These agreements last up to 30 years. As mayor, Charlie would ban this practice and defend our children and public schools by demanding that developers of new housing support our school systems and pay their fair share for the next generation.

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