Elinor Tatum (28139)

Next Tuesday, New York City mayoral candidates will lay out their agenda for the working class.

On March 23, at 6 p.m. the Community Service Society of New York will hold a mayoral forum co-sponsored by El Puente, Legal Aid Society, City & State, WPIX-TV and the Amsterdam News; the forum will be moderated by AmNews’ Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Elinor Tatum.

Mayoral candidates invited to attend include Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Ray McGuire, Carlos Menchaca, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang. The forum will seek to flesh out candidates’ positions on housing and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). It will also be translated into Spanish and streamed live on the CSS, WPIX and City & State respective Facebook pages.

According to Jeff Maclin, vice president for governmental and public relations for CSS, this forum will mirror January’s and will give New Yorkers the chance to hear directly from the candidates on issues affecting the working poor, immigrant communities and the three million-plus low-income households in the city.

“The stakes in the 2021 mayoral contest could not be higher for these groups,” said Maclin to the AmNews. “COVID-19 revealed deep fissures in our city and showed that inequality runs deeper than uneven distribution of wealth that leaves so many people struggling to get ahead. It also contributes to social and economic injustices and persistent racial disparities in health care, housing, employment and wages.”

With COVID dominating the political discourse, everything will be looked at through that. This checks out with housing security and the economy (the themes for Tuesday’s forum). Candidates will field questions based on CSS’s Unheard Third polls that tackle economic disparities in affordable housing and health care during COVID.

“We want to get the candidates on the record about what they intend to do about the city’s affordable housing crisis, improving the safety net, support for low-wage workers, revitalizing communities suffering from historic disinvestment, relief for undocumented immigrants, the digital divide and ensuring that young adults can reconnect to quality education and employment opportunities,” said Maclin.

According to a CSS report from last April titled “A sudden shock to an overburdened system: NYC housing & COVID-19,” by the late Tom Waters, “70% of low-income New Yorkers have less than $1K in savings for an emergency.”

Another report from last December revealed that, “Low-income residents were much more likely to lose their jobs: a startling 57% of low-income residents reported that at least one member of their household had been furloughed, temporarily laid off, or lost their job permanently during the pandemic, compared with 36% of moderate- and high-income residents.”