Jovia Radix Aims to Make “Affordable” Housing, Affordable for 45th District Residents

By Chereen James, Special to Caribbean American Weekly

Jovia Radix Aims to Make “Affordable” Housing, Affordable for 45th District Residents

Jovia Radix, Esq.

As New York City’s 45th district of the City Council prepares for its special election on May 14th, candidate Jovia Radix, Esq. seeks to improve NYC renters’ accessibility to housing, and she aims to protect homeowners from the city’s Third-Party Transfer, “deed theft” program. Among the 8 candidates vying for Jumaane Williams’ vacant seat, Ms. Radix, the only attorney, will use her expertise to not only write legislation that improves the lives of the district’s residents, but she will also use her experience as a VP of Legislation for a consulting firm, to interpret proposed legislation that threaten residents’ interests.

Ms. Radix expressed that she does not support the city program known as the Third-Party Transfer (TPT) program. Through the TPT program, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development forecloses on unpaid real estate taxes and water bills, then transfers the property at a heavily discounted rate to developers. In an interview, she said, “to have spent 30 or 40 years paying off your house, and being successful in that, and then having that home stolen from under you is modern day deed theft in this city, and we are allowing that to happen at an alarming rate in communities across the city, especially in communities of color.” To combat this issue, she wants to ensure that homeowners are aware of, and educated about the program, and she wants to develop ways to protect homeowners from losing their generational wealth, through foreclosure protection and legal help.

In a district where 62.7 percent of the population, are renters according to NYC Open Data, Ms. Radix wants to ensure that residents who rent, can actually afford to pay the going rate so that they won’t have to resort to moving out of the district in order to live comfortably. She expressed her own difficulty as a resident of the district, “When I got out of law school, paying student loans and housing costs in the 45th district, it’s like…I might really have to think of leaving.” She added, “We don’t want our young people to come back from school and say, ‘I can’t afford to live here. I have to find somewhere else to go.’ Then, they can’t come back and give back to the communities that have worked so hard to turn them into who they are.”

To change the rising costs of housing in the district, Ms. Radix said that she wants to implement income-targeted housing and to propose more senior targeted housing. With income targeted housing, she would use an Area Median Income (AMI), which is the income that determines the criteria for affordable housing, based on the district’s income only and not based on the metropolitan area income. The difference between the two is that the AMI, assessed by HUD, includes not only the 5 NYC boroughs, but also Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties. Those counties have higher median incomes than Manhattan’s median income, which is the highest of the five boroughs. By using the AMI for the district, the affordable housing will be in the income brackets of those already living in the district. Ms. Radix said that buildings “are built on an AMI for the city of New York and not an AMI for the 45th district, which is almost a $40,000 disparity. So, we need to ensure that what affordable means, is that it’s affordable for the people who already live there.” Ms. Radix said that she wants to fill vacant housing by lowering the income criteria to benefit low income earners and people in shelters.

Although immigration is a federal issue, Ms. Radix also expressed that she would create programs that support immigrants in the community. Praising her mother, the Hon. Sylvia Hinds-Radix, for implementing the first immigration program at DC 37, a public employee union, she expressed her aim to create similar programs for immigrants, which will provide language accessible services. Ms. Radix also said that she would support programs that provide a safe place for immigrants where they can get legal help and knowledge despite their immigration status. As the next City Council member for the 45th district, Ms. Radix said that she would push to set up after school programs for students and to provide resources to succeed. She supports a curriculum to prepare students for college, college access high schools and an alternative backup plan for high schoolers, such as a vocational program they can use while they’re still deciding a career path; beautician or culinary licenses to name a few. She said, “when we have a specialized high school exam where our children make up 70% of the school population in the city, and of 697 seats, only 7 of them go to students like us, we are starting to fail their children.” To further the students’ interest, she advocates for test prep programs and working with the local libraries in developing coding programs to “prepare them for the technological economy.”

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