Local grassroots organization For The Many [FTM] hosted a community block party in Downing Park to meet and reconnect with community members and to share information on their newest local campaign “Homes Are Not Hotels”.
During the course of the early afternoon of Saturday, August 20, FTM volunteers and organizers spoke with community members who may have not heard about the group and their efforts prior or have been supportive of the group and work done so far. In addition to the information tables, games of cornhole and jenga, bounce houses, a photo booth and several platters of food and drink stations with music in the background allowed the gathered members and children to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
Several weeks ago, FTM held a press conference for local media outlets to announce a new local campaign “Homes Are Not Hotels”. The purpose of this campaign is to address the housing crisis in the Hudson Valley with the regulation of Airbnb affiliated occupancies in the varying cities in the Hudson Valley.
FTM Political Coordinator Brahvan Ranga, who led the press conference weeks before, shared his happiness to see the turnout for the block party and the additional support for the campaign since its announcement. Ranga again wanted to re-empahze that FTM is not looking to ban all Airbnb’s, rather regulate them within the communities that they operate out of.
Again, Ranga wanted to make the public aware that FTM is looking to increase the housing stock for the community and keep prices down. While there has been criticism and opposition for the campaign, Ranga is confident in the community and elected official support as the laws are planned to be introduced this coming fall.
“We’ve definitely started to hear from opposition, from Airbnb hosts, from other folks,” Ranga said. “Our goal isn’t to, you know, pass a law for the sake of passing a law. Our goal is to pass laws, that like, actually address the issues people are facing in their day to day lives.”
The next step that Ranga hopes to see is community members coming together at their municipal meetings, expressing their concerns and sharing their voices to their elected officials. The Airbnb topic has appeared before the Newburgh City Council during their public comment period with residents inquiring about the future of Airbnb’s in the city and matters related to it.
FTM Political Coordinator Daniel Atonna concurred with Ranga’s emphasis on seeing local community members coming together before their elected officials.“I just think we should be putting people over profits and making sure that everyone has a place to live,” Atonna said.
While the next FTM block party will be held in Kingston, FTM will be hosting a Newburgh/Beacon community meeting on Thursday, September 1 from 7-9 p.m. More information on the proposed law and additional resources can be found at forthemany.org.