The needs of homeowners and tenants are something Council Member Williams understands intimately, having built his young career of advocating for their needs. As a member of the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, he has brought his experience to continue the hard work on these issues.
The lack of affordable housing across the city is a growing crisis, and Jumaane has been on the frontlines to protect rent regulation and to call for essential reforms that will keep New Yorkers in their communities. In June 2011, he allocated $250,000 of his capital budget towards the construction of Crystal Towers, a project that will bring reasonably priced units to Flatbush. He believes a fundamental reorganization of the Rent Guidelines Board is needed to ensure the voice of tenants is properly weighed. For years, he has advocated for the repeal of the Urstadt Law, which would bring home rule on housing policy from Albany back to New York City and allow local legislators to address problems such as landlord abuse of high income and vacancy decontrol.
Jumaane has hosted numerous housing forums and office hours to connect property owners to City agencies and empower them with information on their legal rights. He has been deeply involved in the transformation of conditions at Flatbush Gardens, from rallying against the lockout of workouts and poor living conditions to working with new management in an effort to bring resources to residents. He is a strong supporter of local block associations and civic associations, assisting them with beautification projects and helping to make neighborhood conditions safer. When Jumaane joined with the Nieuw Amersfort Civic Association to highlight a blighted house on East 40th Street, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development promptly committed to tear down the unsafe structure. He is also a big advocate for public housing, funding thousands of dollars towards programs at Glenwood Houses and working with the New York City Housing Authority to confront the backlog of maintenance requests from tenants.
As a member of both the Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses and the Council’s Committee on Land Use, Jumaane has backed efforts to preserve the rich culture and history of neighborhoods across the city, including in his district. In April 2013, he launched a campaign to have the Landmarks Preservation Commission provide protection to the Jackie Robinson House on Tilden Avenue, an effort he hopes may one day lead to the creation of a local museum celebrating the baseball icon’s role in Brooklyn and the civil rights movement. He has also stood with the South Midwood Residents Association and homeowners throughout Victorian Flatbush as they work to “complete the quilt” of having all of the unique architecture in their micro-neighborhoods receive city landmark status. Jumaane is a staunch believer in responsible development that keeps our communities safe, as he demonstrated when he successfully organized local residents from the East 59th Street Block Association in May 2012 to fight back against a proposed hotel on Foster Avenue that many felt could result in seedy behavior and increased crime. To address this issue going forward, he hopes to pass Intro 861, his legislation to require hotel developers to present their plans to affected community boards.