I grew up in Rochester as a kid, Riding The Monorail at Midtown Mall. Downtown retail was starting to die but wasn't quite dead yet. Most of my family worked at Kodak. My dad owned almost 40 rental units in the City of Rochester. As the titans of Kodak, Bausch and Lomb, & Xerox toppled, I started to see our city rapidly descend into what looked like ruin to a child. I saw the monorail dissapear. I saw Midtown Mall go vacant. I saw family members, Aunts and Uncles, get laid off. I saw my father lose all of his working class tenants and the once lively communities in which he owned property, the rise of neighboring properties go vacant, get boarded up or turn into drug houses. He ended up having to sell all of those properties, all at a loss.
As a city resident, over the past 5-10 years, I've started seeing investment come back into our city; and the revitalization of city communities. This little transformation gave me a glimmer of hope that our community can not only become prosperous but experience what it never had before: UNIVERSAL PROSPERITY.
For those of you who know me I am a pretty positive person. However, as Lobby Day nears I cannot help but feel disappointment that more of my colleagues involved in housing are not registered to join us this Monday as we advocate to save upstate housing from legislation which will fundamentally change our community. Which will lead to one inevitable conclusion: DISINVESTMENT.
If you do not know what disinvestment means, I can express to you what it looks like. It looks like boarded up homes in our communities. It looks like further deteriorating housing stock. It looks like homeless shelters exploding in population. It looks like poverty (worse poverty in our case.)
The reason why I am disappointed is, over 550 tenants showed up to the capitol on Friday to advocate for their form of housing justice. How many people does our Landlord Tenant coalition Under One Roof have registered coming from Rochester? About 50. Do you think we are going to have a chance to stop the passage of Rent Control with those numbers? Universal Statewide Rent control won't only affect our low income communities (it will eviscerate them), it will lead to statewide structural disinvestment in ALL HOUSING in New York.
What's frustrating to me is that there are groups who have a very strong opinion on housing that have never: created housing or managed housing. However, they are the only ones controlling the narrative of housing in Western NY to Albany, which is this: That our entire state's housing stock is controlled by Ron Zours and Peter Hungerfords, unscrupulous landlords. Who they fail to hold accountable is our local government who already has the legal mechanisms to use a scalpel to scoop out these cancers of our community. Instead of a scalpel, they are proposing an atomic bomb with the creation of policy levers which will leave our most vulnerable communities in a nuclear winter.
You still have a choice. Get Registered for Under One Roof Lobby Day, right now. If you are interested in joining us on the bus, please reach out to me directly. The bus leaves promptly at 5:30 AM from Boylan Code at the Culver Road Armory Monday January 13th.
Event Registration Link:
For a long form interview of the Spectrum News broadcast what Under One Roof is about, check out the YouTube video below!
Matthew Drouin is a full time real estate investor and REALTOR with 12 years of acquisition, disposition, development and management experience in Rochester, NY.