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.”