“This comes down to the inefficiencies of government,” said Councilmember Crystal Hudson, who represents Brooklyn’s 35th District. “We need to create systems that work for people, not against them.”
Central Brooklyn’s newest councilmember is urging New York City and state to streamline assistance for renters in need as she settles into her first term in office amid an affordable housing shortage.
Councilmember Crystal Hudson, who represents Brooklyn’s 35th District, appeared on City Watch on WBAI 99.5 FM Sunday to discuss her priorities for her first term in office. Hudson was appointed chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging earlier this month.
She said one of her goals is to connect seniors with rental assistance and permanent housing after eviction protections expired Jan. 15.
“Ultimately we need to keep everybody in their homes,” Hudson told host Jeff Simmons.
Too often, she added, applicants for city and state assistance face administrative barriers like onerous paperwork and limited communication from government officials. She cited her experience helping constituents in her district—which includes Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, and parts of Bedford–Stuyvesant and Crown Heights—apply for back rent through the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Applicants submitted their complicated forms with little feedback from state officials, she said.
“It shouldn’t be so incredibly difficult especially when people are in a time of need,” she said.
Low- and middle-income New Yorkers who qualify for housing assistance face similar bureaucratic hurdles when they seek approval to use CityFHEPS subsidies to rent affordable apartments, when they apply for supportive housing or when they try to access emergency housing vouchers provided by the federal government.
“This comes down to the inefficiencies of government,” she added. “We need to create systems that work for people, not against them.”
Hudson, one of the first openly LGBTQ Black women elected to the Council, also described her priorities for better serving the LGBTQ community, such as creating more housing for young people.
Later in the program, Brooklyn Councilmember Shahana Hanif, who represents Park Slope, Kensington and other nearby neighborhoods in District 39, joined Simmons to discuss her plans for her first term in office. Hanif was named chair of the Council’s Immigration Committee and said she will continue to uplift New York City’s Muslim community and address the years-long surveillance of Muslim New Yorkers by the NYPD. She is the first Muslim woman ever elected to the Council.
Listen to the full episode and interviews with the two new councilmembers here: