BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (PIX11) — Yvette Rouget, 60, is a Brooklyn housing hero, fighting evictions in NYCHA every day. So far, she and her team have helped hundreds of NYCHA families stay in their homes. But she warns there is a tsunami of evictions to come.

Rouget lives at the Brownsville Houses in Brooklyn. She said she is driven by her past experiences of homelessness to help keep her neighbors in their homes.

Rouget said she was abandoned at the age of 16 and became homeless. It drove her to survive and thrive. Rouget was determined to prove to her family that she had value.  

Rouget is now the program manager at the Housing Resource Center on Belmont Avenue in the heart of Brownsville. Rouget has helped prevent more than 600 evictions by working with community groups there. Rouget said out of the hundreds of applications for rental assistance, she gets the same response: money relief is pending. 

A big help, Rouget said, would be legislation that pushes the state to put hundreds of millions of dollars in the budget to help fund the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, helping tens of thousands of NYCHA tenants pay their back rent. 

A spokesperson for the Hochul administration told PIX11 News: 

“Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget makes transformative investments to make New York more affordable, more livable and safer, and she looks forward to working with the legislature on a final budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers.”

“As we continue to engage our State partners and advocate for this much-needed funding, we remain hopeful that our tenants will be treated like their friends and neighbors who were afforded this COVID-related relief,” said NYCHA Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “Providing emergency rental assistance to NYCHA residents is not only a matter of equity, but is also imperative to the Authority’s ability to keep prioritizing the pillars of the HUD Agreement amid a tremendous rise in tenant arrears and a growing $40 billion capital need. Assembly Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins stood up for public housing tenants and included funding in their budgets; now we must all work together to make sure that the funding is in the final budget due in April. We are grateful for all of the advocacy related to this matter, from those who understand the critical role of public housing in New York City.”