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25 million Blacks, Latinos missing from voter databases; major news organizations urge Biden and Trump to commit to presidential debates; NM gun-control advocates praise federal rule closing 'gun show loophole; Arkansas group raising awareness during Black Maternal Health Week.

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House Republicans want citizenship proof for federal election voting, under White House pressure Israel shows restraint after Iran's attack and Trump's hush money trial starts.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Critics: NY State of State Address Misses Needed Solutions

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Monday, January 16, 2023   

While Gov. Kathy Hochul's State of the State speech addressed key issues affecting New Yorkers, some feel the solutions fell short.

In her speech, Hochul spoke about building more housing to combat the housing crisis, strengthening mental-health care, public-safety improvements and raising the minimum wage to combat the high cost of living.

But Rebecca Garrard - legislative director for Citizen Action of New York - said she feels Hochul's solutions and their implementation missed the mark for what New Yorkers need. She cited the current housing crisis as an example.

"What we heard nothing about and what we know is desperately necessary are increased tenant protections," said Garrard, "such as Good Cause tenant protections, and increased and new voucher programs that help tenants pay their rent."

Garrard added that more should have been said about investing public money into community and public housing systems.

According to a 2022 report from the New York State Association of Realtors, affordability remains a barrier to home purchasing.

In her speech, Hochul announced the creation of the New York Housing Compact - which will be a series of policy changes to develop 800,000 new homes across the state in the coming decade.

As the state's legislative session is already under way, Garrard said she is optimistic about upcoming policy priorities. She said she feels the Legislature has a solid foundation for what New York should look like for its residents.

Garrard noted that any package of housing legislation needs to include "good cause" tenant protections.

"'Good cause' tenant protections simply say that a tenant who is following every aspect of their lease agreement cannot be evicted without cause," said Garrard. "And, there cannot be predatory rent increases that aren't associated with the cost of owning the building."

Garrard said implementing these in upcoming housing legislation could help triage the crisis.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 31 states and 66 localities across the country have passed good tenant-protection laws.




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