The courtyard of the Newburgh Free Library was the setting for a recent forum on what its organizers hope will be a discussion on what they believe to be an epidemic in the City of Newburgh: homelessness and the potential destabliization of rent control.
Deacon Donald Fryar, founder of the newly formed not-for-profit organization, True Insight Inc., initiated the community event and invited community participants that included Community Voices Heard, Melanin Unchained, Exodus, Newburgh Ministry, Catholic Charities, Minister Scott Young radio host of Pull Your Pants Up show, Clergies of Newburgh/Middletown and Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson.
Fryar began with his own person story. He had been living in his apartment for six year when his landlord decided to sell his unit. The new landlord promptly served him with an eviction notice. The new landlord, it seems, had a vision of turning his dwelling unit into a luxury apartment and charge a higher rent.
“I saw it as a problem that he wanted me to vacate right away,” Fryar said.
He turned to Legal Services of the Hudson Valley for help. The organization provided him with the services of an attorney.
“I was able to stay in my apartment,” he said.
In his years in Newburgh, he has observed homeless people sleeping on the steps of the courthouse and elsewhere. His concern for them grows with the easing of Pandemic restrictions that include a ban on evictions mandated by Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of his now-relinquished emergency powers. That ban expires at the end of August.
“Two or three months later brings us to the dead of winter,” Fryar said, envisioning more homeless people on the streets as the weather turns colder.
“This is about rent control and homelessness which goes hand and hand,” he added.
Fryar’s group is asking municipalities in Orange County to enact and enforce rent control regulations. He’s also asking the citizens of Newburgh to share their thoughts and concerns in addressing the issue. Concerned citizens are invited to call him at 845-541-2006.