Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Let's paint a wonderful New Year and for ourselves and our neighbors with: 


(1) Repeal of vacancy decontrol so we don't lose more affordable housing than can be built (and so owners are less tempted to harass tenants)

(2) Rent regulation for ALL tenants - so even market rate tenants can count on lease renewals at reasonable rates  (and the freedom to complain about service cuts)

(3) Enforcement of city and state rent protections without the current years-long wait

(4) An end to (now unending) rent increases for Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) and Individual Apartment Improvements (IAIs)

(5) Home rule over rents and evictions - bring control back from Albany to city politicians accountable to tenants!

(6) A better Rent Guidelines Board (this one can be aided by the mayor-elect although criteria for selection are set by the state)



(9) Permanent affordable housing for the homeless, the poor, the middle class,  and for our children and for those moving into NYC.  


(10) A unified tenant movement, 100,000 tenants strong

Happy New Year one and all !

Monday, December 30, 2013

Celebrating the New and the Old

As we ring in the New Year, check out photos of the old lobby mural, painted by former tenant Myron Morris with the help of many neighbors, including children in the building.   The photos, provided by Chaim Zlotogorski (son of our late neighbor Abram Zlotogorski), and others show the mural that presented a view of the neighborhood then, just after our building was built and as Tower West next door, were being constructed. 


Monday, December 23, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Summary of the Nov. 20, 2013 General Tenants Meeting

Click here for the Summary.  
-      With a surprise visit by Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President (& NYC Comptroller-elect)

Click on "read more" below for a more detailed summary. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Our building isn't under HUD rules

Claiming the "sequester" made them do it,  the federal government's Housing and Urban
Development agency issued rules in July 2013 ordering some tenants to move to smaller apartments.  This applies to tenants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, administered through the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.  It does not apply to tenants in Central Park Gardens. 

Since our building never received a HUD mortgage and we did not get "enhanced vouchers" when we left Mitchell-Lama, this does not apply to our building.   (It's possible that a few tenants receiving Section 8 in this building may be subject to those rules.)

Rent stabilized tenants in our building may stay in their apartments even if their household has shrunk.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Protect Yourself as a Tenant!

PROTECT YOURSELF AS A TENANT! 

Owners like Larry Gluck of Stellar Management make a LOT of money from market-rate apartments.   To do that, they have to get rid of the tenants paying affordable rents.  That hurts our community and deprives current and future residents of affordable homes.   So Stellar’s attorneys at Kossoff and Unger are calling tenants (even on Thanksgiving weekend) with a “carrot” (a small amount of money to find another home) and a “stick” (a reason they might go after you legally).  

STELLAR OFFERS MONEY TO GET YOU TO LEAVE YOUR APARTMENT
The money is never enough to live on and much less than Stellar will be getting for your apartment.  If you want to stay in your apartment, contact us.  If you would be willing to move for enough money, negotiate through a lawyer or representative. Click on “read more” below for details. 

STELLAR THREATENS TO TAKE YOU TO COURT OR NOT RENEW YOUR LEASE


  • Do you own property  elsewhere or travel? It’s ok if you live here 183 days or more each year.  Keep records!
  • Pay your rent on the 1st of the month, or get help with it.
  • Roommates are ok – but tell Stellar if they’re here 30 days or more.
  • If you’re trying to get a lease in your own name after the person named on the lease leaves, contact us!
Keep a copy of your lease and rent bills, and CONTACT US.

Click on "read more" for details. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stop the Sunset of Afforadble Housing! Wed., Nov. 20 General Tenants Meeting

Landlords are dragging rent stabilized tenants into court to "free up" apartments for higher-paying tenants - because state law lets landlords de-regulate vacant apartments that are "improved" to at least $2500 rent.  (But only the first new tenant can challenge it!)  We have to change the state law or watch as rent regulated homes disappear into the sunset. In the meantime, protect yourself and your apartment!

We ate, and drank, and awarded, and sang . . .


We ate and drank (see below for what neighbors brought), and awarded the founders of our tenant association, and sang.

Congressman Jerry Nadler came, spoke, and socialized (Manhattan Borough President-Elect Gale Brewer dropped by toward the end), and we all had a blast.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cheer our Neighbor in this Sunday's NYC Marathon

Cheer our neighbor Debbie Gonzalez as she runs in this Sunday's NYC Marathon!

Follow the route. We can cheer her and the thousands of her co-runners by walking directly across Central Park to the park drive on the east side at 97th St.

Here are the parking rules and street closings - thanks to the office of Council Member (and Manhattan Borough President-to-be) Gale Brewer:


2013 Marathon Week Events
Street Closures and Parking Restrictions


Saturday, November 2

NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K 8:30 a.m.
Central Park (near West 67th Street)
Participants exit park onto Central Park West between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.
Street closures (vehicular traffic):
• Central Park South (Fifth Avenue to Eighth Avenue)
• Sixth Avenue from (West 34th Street to Central Park South)
• 42nd Street (FDR Drive to Seventh Avenue)
No parking:
• Central Park West (73rd Street–75th Street, east side of street): 6:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
• Central Park West (59th Street–66th Street, west side of street): 3:00–10:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 3: Marathon Day

Street closures (vehicular traffic):
• Central Park West (59th Street–77th Street): from 6:30 a.m.
• Central Park West (77th Street–86th Street): from 8:00 a.m.
• 79th Street Transverse: from 9:00 a.m.
• 65th/66th Street Transverse: from 10:00 a.m.
Cross-town traffic will be detoured south to 57th Street or north to 142nd Street. 86th Street Transverse
will be open.

No parking:
• Central Park West (59th Street–86th Street, both sides of street): 12:01 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
• 61st Street, 62nd Street, 63rd Street, 64th Street, 65th Street, and 66th Street (between Central
Park West and Broadway, both sides of street): 6:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

We hope that you’ll take part in the events by coming out to watch—if you’re not going to be running!
We appreciate your patience and understanding, and we apologize for any inconvenience.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Proposal for the Next Mayor

Our tenant association has joined with about 20 other groups to boil down many l -o - n - g affordable housing proposals into a single (two-sided) sheet.

 We'll be giving the winner the letter on Wednesday, Nov. 6th - the day after the election.  


With the polls' strong preference for Bill De Blasio's election, the letter below is framed for him.   
The preamble cites things that Mr. De Blasio has repeatedly promised, including a rent freeze, so we generally did not repeat those things in the 3 categories: PreservationProduction, and Homelessness.  

A CURE FOR THE TALE OF TWO CITIES: 
A BRIEF AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAM


Dear Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio:

We affordable housing advocacy groups applaud your 8-point plan to build 200,000 affordable apartments, institute mandatory inclusionary zoning, fight for home rule over rents and evictions, create an effective NYCHA board, set aside NYCHA units for the homeless, promote a rent freeze and improved Rent Guidelines Board, provide Housing Court representation, and more.  We recognize that these legislative, budget and regulatory items will not be easy to achieve; some will run into significant opposition from Real Estate lobby or require action in Albany or Washington DC. We look forward to working with you and your future administration in overcoming resistance and winning support for such measures. 

Although you have seen many detailed policy proposals,[1] we urge you to embrace the suggestions below as a cure for the Tale of Two Cities.

1. PRESERVATION  
·         Be a visible and vocal advocate for changing state law affecting NYC housing: To preserve all existing affordable rental housing and recapture that lost in the last two decades, work forcefully to (1) repeal vacancy destabilization and re-regulate the 300,000 apartments and SROs lost to vacancy destabilization, (2) close loopholes that allow evictions and jacked-up rents for rent stabilized and rent controlled tenants, (3) restore Home Rule over Rent Laws, (4) refinance and renew Mitchell-Lama rental and cooperative housing contracts and recapture developments that have left the program, and (5) preserve existing project-based Section 8 housing. 
·         Enforcement: Beef up code enforcement with additional inspectors and enforce pro-actively where landlords show a pattern of non-compliance.  Strengthen the building code with additional enforcement and steeper penalties for landlords intentionally allowing construction to run amok in an effort to harass tenants. Defend and enforce the illegal hotel law to prevent reduction of the affordable rental housing stock and secure safety for residential tenants. 
·         NYCHA: Discontinue the infill/land-lease plan; end NYCHA’s $100 million annual payments for special policing, PILOT and sanitation, and establish a meaningful community planning process at each development toward NYCHA’s financial stability. 
·         Rent Guidelines Board:  Appoint public members from diverse fields who are committed to rent stabilization as a public necessity and to keeping rents affordable.  Hold public hearings in all boroughs and during non-workday hours. Alter the methodology so guidelines are based on relevant data.  

2. PRODUCTION  
·         Bring  greater equity to land use decisions and ensure that the private market generates the affordable housing that our city needs by implementing a Guaranteed Inclusionary Zoning program for all developers who take advantage of a City action to increase zoning to R6 or above. 
·         Implement the proposed 200,000 affordable unit production plan while maximizing the benefit to the community by ensuring that the new units are permanently affordable, with a mix of income levels that are most appropriate to stabilize the local community, and by emphasizing the role of community-based not-for-profit developers who deepen the impact of the new housing for the community. 
·         Reform the 421a tax abatement program to create greater affordable housing benefit and limit the tax giveaway where it is not necessary to incentivize new development. 
·         Conduct a comprehensive survey of city-owned land to ensure that the city can build affordable housing where it is most appropriate, regardless of which city agency currently controls the land.

3. HOMELESSNESS   High housing costs and lack of rental assistance are at the heart of homelessness. The City must continue to honor its commitment to provide safe and well resourced emergency shelter for those in need while creating permanent pathways to re-housing. Prevention programs and a path to stable housing are more humane and cost-effective than shelters and the City should continue to expand its proven and cost effective prevention programs. United to End Homelessness’s essential steps, endorsed by 130 organizations and the NY Times, include
(1) funded legal service eviction and foreclosure programs, and services for the formerly homeless;
(2) a flexible, portable, ongoing affordable rent subsidy for homeless individuals and families;
(3) priority set-asides in existing government programs – at least 1/3 of public housing units and Section 8 vouchers  and 1/5 of HPD-assisted private and supportive housing; and
(4) an interagency council on homelessness with government, NGO, and consumer stakeholders to set priorities and funding needs for housing preservation, affordable production, and a timeline.
A comprehensive approach to ending homelessness for all individuals and families across systems (DHS, HRA, RHY) in NYC is needed.


CONCLUSION  In the midst of our city's worst housing crisis, we need you to be more than a mayor. We need a champion who will work with us and lead the fight to repeal Vacancy Deregulation, work with Albany to reform the Rent Guidelines Board, win Home Rule, establish a new rent subsidy program and more .  After the election, we whole-heartedly welcome the opportunity to meet with you and your transition team to begin discussions and planning to move our respective agendas forward.  With your strong leadership and our mobilization of concerned New Yorkers, we can move together on these items toward building one city for all.

Prepared byAssociation for Neighborhood and Housing Development, Bronx Park East Community Association, Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Association, Community Service Society, Cooper Square Committee, Goddard-Riverside Community Center, GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), Housing Conservation Coordinators and West Side Neighborhood Alliance, Met Council on Housing, Mitchell-Lama Residents Coalition, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Pratt Area Community Council, Real Rent Reform Campaign, Tenants & Neighbors, Tenants' Association of Smith Houses,Tenants PAC, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board.

ADDITIONAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE SIGNED ON SO FAR
5-15 W. 91 LLC tenant association, Columbus House Tenants Association, Cooperators United for Mitchell-Lama (CU4ML), Hotel Windermere Tenants Alliance (HWTA), Independent Plaza North Tenant Association, Woodside on the Move

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Press Conf for Campaign Finance Reform & Better Rent Laws - Monday, 10/28 at 4 PM

PRESS CONFERENCE AT 4 PM (Moreland Commission at 5 PM) 

OCT 28 AT JAVITS CENTER ENTRANCE
(35th St. / 11th Ave.)
There is a direct link between our broken campaign system 
and the dismantling of rent regulation.* See the Oct. 27, 2013 
NY Daily News.

This is why we must fight for real campaign finance reform, 
including public financing and the closure of loopholes that 
allow the real estate industry to outspend everyone else.  COME: 

Press Conference / Moreland Commission 
Hearing

Monday, October 28th, ***4pm***

Jacob Javits Center Entrance
Near 11th Ave / 35th St