While campaigning in her Brooklyn district, City Council member-elect Farah Louis noticed that many residents didn’t know about resources available to them.
“We’re in the hustle and bustle every day, going to work, going to school, trying to make it here in New York City — you’re not going to have time to go online and do research about particular matters that are happening,” Louis said.
That’s why she plans to prioritize educating her constituents, who live in Flatbush, Midwood and other central Brooklyn neighborhoods, about free programs such as aid for some homeowners through the Department of Finance, she said.
“Let’s say they have a lien on their home, there are exceptions out there that can help them if they’re seniors, if they’re veterans, if they’re disabled.”
Louis, who won the District 45 special election on May 14 to fill the seat formerly held by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, will serve at least through the end of the year. She will be sworn in this month, but did not know exactly when.
To complete Williams’ term through 2021 she has to win in the June 25 primary and the Nov. 5 general election. She is running against multiple candidates who ran in the special election, including Monique Chandler-Waterman and Xamayla Rose, who are actively campaigning for the seat.
While Louis declined to talk about specific policies or bills she would introduce when she is sworn in, she has campaigned on increasing tenant protections, helping homeowners facing foreclosures and improving economic development in her district.
In addition to meeting constituents directly, the former union organizer said she will use social media to spread information. A goal for Louis is “to utilize city agencies as a community-based organization” to provide resources and information to residents.
“That’s the way we thrive. We thrive by sharing information and holding people accountable,” she said.
Louis, who previously worked in Williams’ council office, has a master’s degree from the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English from Long Island University. She also is a "proud product" of the public school system and attended Midwood High School in Flatbush.
The daughter of Caribbean immigrants from Haiti, Louis sees herself as a unifier in a district that includes several different communities, including Caribbean, South Asian, Orthodox Jewish and Latino. She is campaigning with the slogan #AUnified45, which was her party line in the special election.
“We want to be unified, we want the resources to come back to the district so that we can continue to thrive as a community,” she said. “We’re here to build collaborations and coalitions.”