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District 35

Crystal Hudson

Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights

Supporting our older neighbors in the New York City budget

By Adrienne Adams, Crystal Hudson & Beth Finkel

amNY, June 1, 2023

The number of older adults in New York City is soaring.

A recent report by the Center for an Urban Future highlights the trends shaping this massive demographic shift. New York City’s 65-and-older age group grew by 36 percent over the past decade. New Yorkers ages 50 and older comprise nearly one-third of the City’s population. Even more striking, the number of older adults living below the poverty line has increased by 37 percent.

These realities call for increased material support for our older neighbors.

However, the Mayor’s proposed budget falls well short of making the needed investments that allow us to ensure our parents, grandparents and other loved ones can live safely and with dignity in the city they call home as they age. The Council is united in efforts to close these gaps in funding.

Despite serving as linchpins to our city’s economy and cultural life, and making up the city’s biggest volunteer base, our older New Yorkers have been left to struggle. More than half spend too much of their income on housing. One in ten is food insecure. And because of the prohibitively expensive cost of medication, too many go without life-saving prescriptions.

Crystal’s Corner: Land Use by the People, for the People

Brooklyn Paper, April 28, 2023

Take a moment to imagine yourself standing in the middle of Downtown Brooklyn or Williamsburg or Prospect Heights. Look around. The overbearing luxury glass towers – residential, commercial, or both — beaming into the skyline, likely make up part of what you see. Ten, twenty years ago, these buildings weren’t there. Their blueprints likely didn’t even exist.

Yet, their ubiquitous presence today has undoubtedly reshaped entire neighborhoods and, in most cases, offered the communities in which they were built very little in return. So, how did we get to the point where huge projects spring up quicker than we’re able to keep track of them? And why do our communities play only a cursory role in the decision-making process, if they get the chance to participate at all?

Our Communities Need Fair Pay for Home Care Work; Albany Leaders Must Hear Them

Co-Authored with Bobbie Sackman, Gotham Gazette, April 18, 2023

For the first time in United States history, a president has declared April as Care Workers Recognition Month. Making the announcement, President Biden stated, “Care workers help raise our children, assist seniors as they age with dignity, and support people with disabilities.” Despite this, care workers remain among our nation’s least recognized heroes.

Today, home care workers are some of the lowest-paid workers in the country and routinely face harsh working conditions. Countless providers are forced to hold multiple jobs and overwhelmingly rely on public assistance programs. One in four home care workers lives under the federal poverty line. In an industry comprised primarily of women, particularly women of color, the impact of this chronic underpayment widens gender and racial pay gaps, and tangibly undermines the wellbeing of our communities. 

Crystal’s Corner: This Women’s History Month, we deserve action on reproductive rights

Brooklyn Paper, March 30, 2023

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last spring left the vast majority of the nation lurching. In the weeks after the decision was leaked to the press, we were forced to grapple with the reality that an unelected, undemocratic body could inflict such harsh consequences on our communities and scrambled to continue delivering necessary abortion and reproductive care to all who needed it.

The Dobbs decision left us in “a different world.” It made clear that long established legal protections can readily be struck down, and it dangerously undermined our faith in an institution meant to safeguard the very democratic principles this nation supposedly holds so high. More than that, the Dobbs decision showed us that the fight for reproductive justice––one where the struggle for racial equality, gender equity, and economic liberation converge to underscore the plight of Black women, Black LGBTQIA+ folks, and poor and working class people across the country, in particular––has not yet been won.

Crystal’s Corner: Protecting Black Futures is a Moral Obligation to Expand and Fully Fund Right to Counsel

Brooklyn Paper, February 28, 2023

From 2010 to 2020, New York City saw a 9% decline in its Black population. In just the last decade, the District I represent – which includes the neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bed-Stuy – has experienced a 20% loss in its Black population. In neighboring communities across the city, the same housing and affordability crisis wreaking havoc in traditionally Black neighborhoods is actively undermining the wellbeing of all poor and working class communities across the five boroughs.

In the last two decades, the city and state have taken outwardly hostile stances toward our most vulnerable tenants and moderate and low-income homeowners, worsening economic strain and deepening housing instability. Understanding, then, the mechanisms driving the affordability crisis and enacting meaningful solutions––those that adequately address the material needs of our most vulnerable neighbors — is critical.

Crystal’s Corner: Accountability matters. Why do we exempt the worst landlords?

Brooklyn Paper, January 20, 2023

Every New Yorker knows there are a handful of fundamental truths about living in the greatest city in the world: Times Square should be avoided at all costs, we have the best bagels, and your landlord is probably terrible. Horror stories of persistent leaks, ceiling collapses, and rodent infestations are all too common. To be clear, big, corporate landlords with several multi-unit buildings are disproportionately the problem, not smaller independent landlords who rely on rental incomes to get by.

Op-Ed | Crystal’s Corner: 311 is good. We’re better.

Brooklyn Paper, December 23, 2022

Crystal’s Corner is a monthly column written by New York City Council Member Crystal Hudson (District 35), Chair of the Committee on Aging.

I’m as local as it gets. My team and I see it all, and more: Noise complaints. Evictions. Alternate-side parking. Public safety. Sanitation. Our mission, since we’ve been in office together, is to make city government and its resources more accessible, reliable, and responsive to the needs of all our neighbors.

Consider Ms. Mobley. At ninety-six years old, she’s lived in Fort Greene for more than seven decades. After living in the same apartment all those years, she decided it was time to downsize. Moving around her home was difficult, and getting to her appointments became taxing. Yet, Ms. Mobley remains an independent woman, continuing to do the things that keep her happy, healthy, and thriving. She came to us seeking something that is too frequently denied to older New Yorkers across the five boroughs, and that is the opportunity to age in place affordably, with dignity and comfort in the city we call home.

Op-Ed: New York City isn’t ready for its aging population

New York Daily News, September 15, 2022

Our city’s affordability crisis knows no bounds. Its effects are not only unquestionably tangible today but also a harbinger of crises to come. Presently, skyrocketing rents undermine the health and wellbeing of our communities, forcing scores of long-time residents out of the neighborhoods they’ve long called home and making our city uninhabitable for the millions of poor and working class, Black and Brown New Yorkers continually pushed into the margins of society. But have you considered the effects this crisis has on older New Yorkers — those living on a fixed income, those with mobility limitations or chronic illness, those living close to the loved ones that care for them, or those who simply want to age in place in the comfort of their own homes?

Op-Ed: NYC’s homecare workers need care too

New York Daily News, March 6, 2022

Imagine spending two hours on a bus and sitting on three subway trains twice a day to get to your job. Once you get there, you work for 24 hours straight but only get paid for 13 because of an archaic state law. And you’re forced to go into work during a global pandemic even if you’re not feeling well. Odds are you’d likely join the millions of workers who are voluntarily quitting their jobs and try your luck finding a new one. But many workers don’t have that choice.