Housing activist and renter Juanita Velazquez-Amador commanded attention from aldermen and women and the other 50 renters in the Kingston common council chambers on Monday evening.

The council is holding seven hearings this winter and spring, in order to better shape policy, empower renters and protect landlords.

Each hearing solicits input from tenants, homeowners, landlords, developers and the homeless. Monday, it was the tenants’ turn.

“I’m living with feces in my bathroom,” Velazquez-Amador said. “I can show you the pictures. We have people who are living with no heat for two weeks on the coldest week of the year.”

Velazquez-Amador expressed that their should be strict policy against what has happened to her and several neighbors she was supporting.

Renters said landlords have forced tenants out of homes through eviction without cause, raising rent, and neglect. Velazquez-Amador said the crisis has split up her family.

“My son had to leave New York State,” she said with tears in her eyes, “because it’s not only here in Kingston. It is all over.”

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One Comment

  • I like the idea of a tenants union, very much. I would very much like to see all renters at least informed of your organization, what it means to be a good landlord, a good tenant, a good neighbor, and how that can greatly affect to quality of life in the city of Kingston.
    Good tenants are very very valuable clients and deserve thanks and recognition. And there is the reality of poor tenants, and poverty, isolation. I’d like to see some engagement, some success and some selection where we can help the tenants where they really can benefit, and step aside, with sympathy, when some deeper assistance is needed and find something proactive to improve the situation or work with social serviced to contain volatile situations.

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