ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The legislative session and agenda will begin on Wednesday, and the big topics will be affordable housing and the fight over bail reform. This will also be Governor Kathy Hochul’s first year as elected Governor. According to the Governor’s office, housing initiatives will be the focus of her state-of-state address that will take place on January 10th.
On December 30th, the governor awarded funding to help provide services for up to 5,000 units of supportive housing to serve older adults, survivors of domestic violence, veterans, individuals with mental illness, and homeless families. This is all a part of her $25 billion five-year plan to build or preserve 10,000 units of supportive planning.
“All New Yorkers should have a safe, affordable place to call home, especially the most vulnerable among us,” Governor Hochul said. “The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative continues to be a critical component in our efforts to address the root causes of housing instability and provide those who experience homelessness with the services they can rely on to live safely in independent settings.”
Housing advocates are also expected to continue to push for the ‘Good Cause Eviction’ bill and housing access voucher program. Oscar Brewer is from Housing Justice for All and explains the importance.
“The ‘Good Cause Eviction’ is supposed to protect people like myself and other tenants of the state; you know what I mean? You got landlords that can just raise their rent; that’s not right,” he said. “You got violations on the property; you should not be able to evict somebody. fix the property; everybody has a right to adequate housing.”
Another topic that is expected to be on the docket is bail reform. The ‘Clean Slate Act’ is expected to be up for debate, and that bill will help wipe the criminal records of most individuals if they go a certain amount of time without being arrested. The purpose is to help those who were formerly incarcerated find jobs and housing.
It is also expected that the legislative session may explore modifying the bail laws that were passed in 2019. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor have already shared a list of possible modifications, including that judges should be allowed to set bail- even if the crime is not “bail eligible.”