Protesters advocate for rent control, more tenant protection in Williamsburg

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WILLIAMSBURG -

About 100 protesters came together Wednesday to advocate for rent control and more tenant protection in Williamsburg.

For too long, many in attendance say they have felt powerless -- working overtime to pay rent, only to see it continue to rise.

Emely Rodriguez, 17, says it is hard for her family to make ends meet. They currently don't have a stable home as her father's decades-old dry cleaning business in Bushwick is going out of business. She says the landlord is forcing him out.

"That neighborhood most of the businesses are getting turned into coffee shops and a bunch of things that weren't there before, and now my father is losing his job because of that," says Rodriguez.

Lucellys Ortiz is a tenant organizer, working with hundreds of renters in Brooklyn. She says she sees neglecting landlords that let apartments deteriorate, with a focus to have them just leave.

Ortiz also says she often finds renters get pressured to pay for upgrades to their apartments, just so landlords can charge more for the next renter.

Protesters are focusing on a message that Brooklyn is becoming a place for the wealthy, while pushing longtime residents out.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the issues Wednesday morning on "The Brain Lehrer Show," saying, "The more affordable housing, the more tenant protections, the better. We have in our budget this year the highest state investment in history in affordable housing: $20 billion. So it's a critical need and it's something we need to address this year."

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