Meet Yves

Yves (“EEvs”) Filius is running for New York City Council District 16 for economic inclusion, environmental justice, and collective resilience for his neighbors. The district includes the neighborhoods of Highbridge, Bathgate, Claremont Village, Concourse, Concourse Village, Morris Heights, and Morrisania.

Born and raised in the Morrisania community, Yves spent his childhood in his grandfather's townhouse on Crotona Park North overlooking the expansive green space. Even though his family moved to NYCHA Mott Haven Houses when he was 9 years old, Yves attended Children Circle, St. Augustine School, and Claremont Neighborhood Center throughout his youth. Yves is a proud active third-generation member of St. Augustine-Our Lady of Victory Church.

Yves’ interest in public service began with his parents - Haitian immigrants who taught him that a strong work ethic and community involvement will always lead to success, no matter one’s starting social or economic status.

Yves started his government affairs career as an intern and then Community Liaison in the New York State Assembly for the 79th and 77th Assembly Districts, helping constituents with quality of life issues. He transitioned to the New York City Council in the 16th District as Director of Outreach where he built partnerships with nonprofits to provide residents with essential services.

Yves went on to join the office of the New York City Public Advocate to support small business owners and community leaders with navigating city processes. At this time, Yves also served as the Political Director of the New York State Young Democrats Caucus of Color where he organized efforts to get out the vote (GOTV).

In 2016, Yves took on the role of Political Director for the Bronx Democratic Party, increasing voter participation by 7% across our borough. He then joined a local group to help elect progressive candidates to state legislative office. Yves went on to join the New York Civil Liberties Union - the ACLU of New York - a nonprofit where he fights for a fair New York on issues ranging from racial justice to immigrants’ and student rights to police transparency and accountability.

Yves is a graduate of Bronx Community College, received a B.A. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and is currently pursuing an Executive Master of Public Administration in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University.

Currently, Yves is the elected Male District Leader in the 77th Assembly District. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Yves has partnered with local elected officials to provide food and personal protective equipment (PPE) to residents, protest police brutality against Black and Brown people, perform Census outreach, and ensure that our parks are a clean place to temporarily get away from physical and emotional stress.

Yves is fluent in Haitian Creole, resides in the Concourse neighborhood, and volunteers at the St. Augustine Youth Group and Food Pantry. Yves sits on the Boards of Directors at the Harriet Tubman/Ella Baker Charter School, Friends of Crotona Park, VIP Community Services, and Jerome A. Greene and Jackson Democratic Clubs.

Issues

Yves Filius grew up in the South Bronx and has been fighting for his community at all levels of government for over a decade. Yves’ vision for the 16th Council District centers on economic inclusion, environmental justice, and collective resilience for his neighbors.

Living at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the most disproportionately impacted borough, Yves has lost both family members and friends to COVID-19. In an effort to alleviate some of the pain in our communities, he has been hitting the streets to distribute food and personal protective equipment (PPE) and connect residents with housing, job, and financial resources. 

Moving forward, Yves will continue to advocate for tax relief for our struggling small businesses and equitable federal relief grant distribution across the 16th Council District. As Councilmember, he will call for large-scale borrowing from the Federal Reserve to fund City services and jumpstart entrepreneurship, homeownership, and other wealth building strategies.

Yves also believes that our economic recovery is inextricably linked to climate justice and is looking forward to working with his future federal, state, and local counterparts to advance sustainable environmental solutions that generate jobs and business opportunities for people of color.

The small businesses that have anchored our retail corridors for generations are what make our neighborhoods so special. In the absence of City funding availability, Yves will partner with national nonprofits and philanthropy groups to support our small businesses with capacity and capital building tools, furthering a just recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and long-term success. To catalyze small business and microenterprise expansion and spark job growth and retention, Yves will recruit a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to facilitate responsible and affordable lending in the 16th Council District.


Following up on the Jerome Avenue rezoning, Yves will create a Business Improvement District (BID) to support our long-standing small businesses with beautification, capital improvements, street cleaning and maintenance, and marketing resources. Yves is also a proponent of cooperatives and will empower workers across the 16th Council District to evaluate their options for converting to an employee-owned business.

Our built environment directly impacts our health both today and tomorrow. The major roadways in the 16th Council District – the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95) and Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) – are some of the most congested roads in the country. More congestion means more emissions, which means more pollution in our air causing increased incidence of asthma among Bronxites. 

 

As Council Member, Yves will lead the way to cap a portion of the Major Deegan Expressway along Sedgwick and Cedar Avenues near River Park Towers to trap toxic vehicular emissions and add public green space, bike parks, and new housing for our residents. This “proof of concept” pilot project will lead to a vast infrastructure initiative to cap the entire Cross Bronx Expressway, further improving air quality and opening up millions of square feet for parkland, affordable housing and neighborhood-serving facilities and retail.

 

Yves’ plan would ensure that jobs created by these public works would go to residents of the 16th Council District. As a former NYCHA resident, Yves will work with tenant leaders to activate a green retrofit plan for public housing buildings that is envisioned, managed, and implemented by each development’s residents.

Our youth need more recreational space and programs to keep them out of trouble and help build skills for the future. As Council Member, Yves will work to add a youth center in the Highbridge neighborhood and upgrade other youth facilities across the 16th Council District to be equipped with adequate computers, software and outdoor space. 

 

In addition, Yves will fight for our kids by fully funding the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and expanding it into the “Fall and Spring Youth Employment Program,” matching our young people with local businesses and nonprofits for paid and credit-earning internships year-round. Such an “F&SYEP” will allow the next generation to either gain longer-term, more in-depth experience with their summer host organization or allow them to explore other career opportunities, all the while vesting them with the knowledge and network they need to succeed.

Financial literacy is vital for a stable and successful future. Furthermore, the Bronx has the highest share of unbanked and underbanked households (according to the Urban Institute). As Council Member, Yves will implement financial literacy training and trade/technology licensing in partnership with neighborhood-based institutions to stimulate economic self-sufficiency.

 

Yves’ first-term goal is to establish the necessary infrastructure for 10,000 middle schoolers across the 16th Council District to open and fund their first savings account. Yves will collaborate with philanthropic organizations to provide our young people with financial empowerment training and match every dollar deposited into the children’s savings accounts on a 2-to-1 basis.

Our seniors have spent their whole lives working and making our communities what they are today. Now that they are retired, our elders deserve a great place to spend their days and keep their minds sharp. In the City Council, Yves will fight for funding to restore a Bronx gem, the William Hodson Senior Center, which was the first senior center established in the nation.

 

In addition, Yves will identify and promote sites to construct more “grandfamily” housing for grandparents with dependents, bolstering the model that was pioneered in the 16th Council District by the PSS Grandparent Family Apartments. This type of permanently affordable housing provides a safe and affordable support system for grandparents to reach their full potential and for their grandchildren to avoid foster care and gain the emotional and educational tools essential for long-term resilience.

Given that Bronxites have the longest commutes out of all New Yorkers (and the country’s second-longest average commute to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), the Bronx needs more diverse modes of transportation, especially considering the dangers of crowded subway cars during times like the current COVID-19 pandemic. As such, Yves will lead the charge to create ferry point access in the southwest Bronx, which will lessen crowds on trains and buses and give residents a greater choice in transportation options. 

 

Yves will also work to increase protected bike lanes and bus shelters across the 16th Council District and will work with the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to install helmet lockers at Citi Bike stations.

We all come from immigrants. Growing up in an immigrant household as the first in his family to be born in the U.S., Yves became his parents’ and relatives’ translator as soon as he learned English around the age of 5. Because of his lived experience, humane immigration policy and language justice are central to his platform.


As Council Member, Yves will secure culturally- and linguistically-appropriate resources for our new neighbors and establish English-learning and workforce development centers within our existing community institutions. Yves will also introduce a resolution in the City Council to adopt a local version of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to ensure that those who cannot return safely to their homeland are authorized to live, work and thrive in the 16th Council District and across New York City.

Endorsements

Council Member Fernando-Cabrera

Fernando Cabrera

Council Member

“The success of the next phase of New York City, and its distinct boroughs, depends on smart and motivated New Yorkers like Yves to step up and rise to the challenge. I know what it takes as a Council Member – and Yves has it and more – we can count on Yves.”

Ray-McGuire, Mayoral Candidate

Ray McGuire

Mayoral Candidate

“Yves has shown an exceptional ability in politics since I first met him to connect with the people of the Bronx and throughout New York City. The success of the next administration is critical to the future of New York City, so we need young and dedicated public servants like Yves to rise up, meet this challenge and offer fresh voices in the midst of great uncertainty.”

Mohammed-Mardah

Mohammed Mardah

Community Leader

“I am supporting Yves because he has the experience and ideas to move the district in the right direction.”

Janice Marie Robinson

Community Leader

“I believe Yves, one of the Bronx's own, has his finger on the pulse and is the best candidate to navigate these tumultuous times.”

Bernard-Smith

Bernard Smith

Community Leader

“I've seen Yves grow, worship and serve in this community working for the Assembly, City Council and Public Advocate's office. He is the best person for the job!”

Anthony-Powell

Anthony Powell

Community Leader

“I endorse Yves because he has a heart for the people of the 16th District: BUT HE CANNOT DO IT ALONE!”

Amsterdam News

“For District 16 we endorse Yves Filius. Yves has earned his political spurs through his work with Vanessa Gibson and Letitia James.”

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The New York Carib News

“Yves Filius is well prepared to hold office and has demonstrated his commitment. He is one of those young but experienced persons who give us hope for the future.”

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Yves is participating in New York City’s small-dollar matching funds program, so instead of fundraising, we can spend more of our time talking to voters like you. Your donation is matched 8-to-1, so the $10 you donate will be matched $80, meaning $90 went towards a stronger Bronx. Your dollars make a difference.

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