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  • UHAB Speaks Out Against Council Candidate's Ties to Developer | UHAB | Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    Adam Clayton Powell Blvd said The new tenants are 99 percent white This is a perpetuation of the historic alienation of black people in Harlem Linda Alexander a spokesperson for Tahl Propp and also a member of Community Board 7 which Landis previously co chaired insisted that Tahl Propp Equities has had a positive impact on the community These are people who are really committed to the neighborhood They are big landlords Alexander said They have made hundreds of millions of dollars worth of improvements But tenants have argued otherwise The complaints from the tenants were that there was fairly large scale harassment and deferred maintenance Kerri White co director of organizing and policy of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board said They have attempted to convert several of the buildings into market rate condos which has obviously had an effect on affordability of the buildings she said White said that Tahl Propp purchased the buildings at 1890 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd and 411 Manhattan Ave and converted them into market rate apartments Streeteasy com currently lists a 411 Manhattan Ave studio apartment as under contract for 169 000 In response Landis cited his efforts in a 2007 case in which the Salvation Army attempted to empty and sell 600 units of low income housing in Manhattan It was really just a horror Landis said I represented those tenants as a pro bono council Elsia Vasquez founder and director of tenant advocacy group PA LANTE Harlem said that she fought for a tenant who had problems with Joseph Tahl one of the co owners of Tahl Propp He is a bully and he likes to take people to court Vasquez said of Tahl She said that the tenant she worked for had a problem with a rat infestation in one of

    Original URL path: http://www.uhab.org/news/uhab-speaks-out-against-council-candidates-ties-developer (2016-04-28)
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  • UHAB Organizers Rally with Southern Blvd. Residents at Housing Court | UHAB | Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    city entered the building into the Alternative Enforcement Program which increases fines for violations and allows the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to make emergency repairs As the city slowly repairs the worst violations about half the building s tenants have received eviction threats and court summonses claiming they owe back rent The tenants told a judge on April 17 that they don t owe rent Even though I pay rent I still got the notice said resident Ronald Boddie who has been living in the building 11 months He attributed the city s repairs and the harassment to the tenants persistent complaints and said it was important for the group to present a unified front We know sooner or later there s going to be retaliation he said Another tenant Antonia Ayala said Shasho called Ayala s boss in Florida and claimed Ayala wasn t paying her rent Ayala moved in March 1 and paid the first and last month s rent she said She hasn t paid the rent for April because Shasho has not given her a formal lease Ortega said that even though the housing department s repairs are starting to improve conditions in the decrepit building tenants have moved out because they are being harassed I m so sad because a lot of people think the answer is moving out Ortega said adding that she and six other tenants asked the housing court supervisor to consolidate their cases and assign them a lawyer today which the court declined They said they couldn t do that Ortega said She added that the tenants would deliver a written request to the judge The tenants association is working with the Urban Justice Center on its petition but does not have a lawyer to defend individual tenants against

    Original URL path: http://www.uhab.org/node/715 (2016-04-28)
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  • Notorious Kelly St. slum renovated by Workforce Housing Advisors | UHAB | Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    change conditions to make it better Crotty said Telling people to wait a while that s a difficult thing to do Alex Boyko installing door in ground floor storefront at 935 Kelly St Andrew Savulich New York Daily News That s what Crotty must do at 1380 University Ave in Highbridge where WFHA bought the 17 5 million mortgage and began foreclosure proceedings against the owner in June 2012 The 144 unit building has 101 violations with the city department of Housing Development and Preservation Residents have spotty heat and hot water and the building ranks among the city Buildings Department s Top 10 Elevator Offenders Tenant association president Barbara Williamson said the landlord Martin Carlin neglected the building for years but things got worse after WFHA took Carlin to court I believe they want to renovate and do wonderful things Williamson said But because of the foreclosure process I feel like the management they ve chosen gets the cheapest labor and the job is not being done properly John Crotty of Workforce Housing Advisors on Kelly St where his company restored several buildings Andrew Savulich New York Daily News Crotty said he is stumped over elevator and boiler failures at 1380 University Ave WFHA authorized more than 300 000 for elevator repairs and a crew is in the building all day Williamson alleges Carlin committed sabotage We have no reason to believe any such thing happened said Carlin s attorney Stephen Jones Thus far WFHA has support from the building s tenant organizer Susanna Blankley of Community Action for Safe Apartments The tenants have fought a long hard campaign to live in dignity Blankley said We re hopeful they ll get what they deserve with WFHA but tenants are still suffering in a difficult foreclosure process It s a

    Original URL path: http://www.uhab.org/news/notorious-kelly-st-slum-renovated-workforce-housing-advisors (2016-04-28)
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  • Self-Help Housing: The Story of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board | UHAB | Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    homesteading projects what happened next Towards the end of the 70s the City began ratcheting down the number of years a building could not pay its property taxes before it would repossess that building It went from ten years to five years to three years to by 1978 just one year That year the City reclaimed 11 000 buildings 4 000 of which were still occupied 4 000 buildings is 100 000 apartments that s like the city of San Francisco Almost overnight the City was managing occupied rather than abandoned buildings and they had to worry about keeping the heat on the doors locked and a roof on these buildings The City became a landlord or more accurately a slumlord So the folks at UHAB along with several City officials including elected City Council members got together with community groups and proposed the creation of a series of programs to address the challenges of the occupied buildings We proposed helping residents to renovate their buildings and to turn them into co ops And unlike my experience before or since with City government when my predecessors proposed this to officials they said Go ahead They hired UHAB s executive director at the time to run these programs and executed a contract for UHAB to provide assistance to the residents renovating and managing these buildings At that time was it a new idea that tenants deserved a say in the disposition of the properties where they lived I think engaging residents was a new idea Engaging communities or neighborhoods in urban renewal projects was already widely discussed But the notion that residents of multi family apartment buildings have the capacity to help themselves when it comes to housing needs that was somewhat unique Americans have always built and renovated their own houses but the idea of renovating apartment buildings was new in the 1970s Before that you would just tear a building down if it fell out of use or into disrepair You wouldn t do these major gut renovations That whole idea was new especially for larger apartment buildings What size buildings are we talking about The typical New York City buildings in UHAB s portfolio were Old Law Tenements so about 20 to 25 units Our largest buildings were 100 units and occasionally we d work on a great three unit building The average number of units for us has traditionally been 23 or 24 The opening of the co op at 985 Amsterdam Avenue Photo courtesy of UHAB Let s talk a little bit about the technical advice and the training aspects of the work Were these considered to be transferable skills to other aspects of people s lives I think UHAB has always been a people development program We don t manage the buildings we don t do the physical rehab What we do is to facilitate groups of people to help themselves do these things In many ways the technical skills we brought to this were people skills Our brand of participatory training is about learning by example how to do the kinds of things residents will have to do as leaders of a co op board solving bookkeeping problems figuring out what to do with a problem resident understanding how to go to court or deal with Con Edison hiring a contractor The initial training was very hands on and then when it came to technical assistance we had to learn to sit back and listen In our first week of the Tenant Interim Lease TIL program for example we had staff who would go out night after night and hear what issues had arisen at different buildings In our first month there were 20 buildings and by the end of the first year there were 200 And there were only three or four of us so we couldn t run this many buildings we couldn t do their books for them we couldn t hold their meetings I think something that distinguishes UHAB s work is our firm belief that the folks out there are perfectly capable of managing their own buildings It doesn t matter if some didn t finish high school or if others never had a checking account When you get a group of people together between them they ll have or they ll learn the skills And there s no better training in how to run a building than having lived through the bad days of abandonment Is the model you ve been describing considered to be a widely applicable and scalable strategy for affordable housing In terms of the disposition of occupied City owned property it was considered to be widely applicable And it was incredibly popular in public opinion as well as with City Council members Elected officials liked these programs because they bred engaged and vocal citizens Research has proven that folks who live in co ops are more likely to vote and to be active in the civic realm If you practice democracy at home well then you practice democracy in your community But in terms of technical assistance for homesteading our model is not as widely applicable First of all we no longer have the same abandoned buildings we were faced with in the 1970s And the homesteading programs take a long time As insurance and interest costs have risen and as we have run into lead and asbestos and other toxins it has become more difficult and more costly to undertake the lengthy process of homesteading The decision making can be very slow and cumbersome Of course part of the goal is to get the group to take charge to make decisions to live with their decisions During the rehab process residents get to practice everything dealing with government with contractors with banks and financing So the rehab process is great practice for actually running a co op getting people involved in creating their own housing is a big teachable moment The great thing

    Original URL path: http://www.uhab.org/news/self-help-housing-story-urban-homesteading-assistance-board (2016-04-28)
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  • City: 10 Washington Heights apt. buildings 'at risk' | UHAB | Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua said in a statement To the tenants we are looking out for you To the owners we are watching you Mr Wambua joined City Council Speaker Christine Quinn City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and the buildings tenant associations Monday to urge the owners of the property to sell the buildings for less than asking price to a housing preservationist group that would repair the properties Vantage Properties bought the buildings in 2007 It defaulted on a 44 million mortgage issued by Anglo Irish Bank in August 2010 A year later Lone Star Funds a Texas based private equity investment group bought the loan through an auction of Anglo Irish s non performing and sub performing loans and began foreclosing on the properties in March according to the city Lone Star is now marketing the property for 50 75 million or more than the current mortgage on the buildings Vantage could not be reached immediately for comment Lone Star declined to comment Housing advocates and tenant association leaders say their requests to meet with Lone Star have been turned down It s outrageous that Vantage and Lone Star would jeopardize the stable housing of hundreds of New Yorkers to turn a quick buck City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement If these buildings are sold with millions of dollars more in unsustainable debt tenants will be the ones who pay the price when the new owners can t make mortgage payments or repairs I urge Lone Star and Vantage to put tenants first and to sell these properties to a responsible buyer who will ensure the upkeep of these buildings is maintained According to the city the buildings receiver is making repairs on the properties but maintenance issues will continue to persist until an owner is

    Original URL path: http://www.uhab.org/news/city-10-washington-heights-apt-buildings-risk (2016-04-28)
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  • Home sweet studio: NYC invites developers to test tiny 300-square-foot apartments on city lot | UHAB | Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    than ever before The solo living rate rose to almost 27 percent in 2010 according to the census In New York City where long working hours can leave little time for home life renters often sacrifice square footage to save money The size of city apartments has been lampooned on television with at least one sitcom showing characters living literally in a closet Some New Yorkers desperate for storage space and uninterested in the finer points of homemaking turn their ovens into storage for clothes or other items Especially alone paying New York City rents can be a challenge and officials said they hoped smaller apartments would help ease the financial burden on residents facing average market rate rents of 2 000 per month for a studio and 2 700 per month for a one bedroom Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew Wambua said he expected the micro units would rent for significantly less Similar programs have been proposed in other cities In San Francisco developers are seeking permission to rent out apartments as small as 150 square feet Ultimately the New York City program could be expanded to outer borough neighborhoods where the apartments could provide safer options to the lower income residents who are most at risk from the dangers of illegal subdivisions With only 1 million studio and one bedroom apartments available for 1 8 million one and two person households the shortage is forcing low income renters into illegal apartments that can become fire traps Bloomberg said In recent years small homes have been celebrated by design aficionados who argue that minimal space less clutter and simpler living is both financially and spiritually freeing but the idea of towers of tiny units raises the specter of an era in which poor residents were crammed into unsafe

    Original URL path: http://www.uhab.org/news/home-sweet-studio-nyc-invites-developers-test-tiny-300-square-foot-apartments-city-lot (2016-04-28)
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  • From the New York Times: The Income-Restricted Apartment | UHAB | Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    Lama program Begun in 1955 Mitchell Lama enabled the construction of new low and middle income rental and co op buildings throughout the city Another program run by the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board works with the city on co op conversions of buildings taken over from delinquent landlords Tenants help with renovations and can eventually buy the units for low prices About 30 000 apartments are in the program which is administered by the city s Department of Housing Preservation and Development Since 2003 the city s Housing Development Corporation has also been partnering with both for profit and nonprofit developers to create new affordable apartments 1 767 units in 21 buildings The benefits of promoting homeownership in this way extend far beyond the individual owners said Andrew Reicher the executive director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board In the Lower East Side in Harlem in Bed Stuy he said these owners stuck it out and struggled to improve their block and improvements spread from their work And they are not displaced when the neighborhood turns around Read full article here Published Date Thu 2012 05 17 All day Publication New York Times About UHAB History Staff Board Employment Glossary

    Original URL path: http://www.uhab.org/news/new-york-times-income-restricted-apartment (2016-04-28)
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  • Journalists Revisit Deadly DeKalb Fire, Reignite Housing Discussion | UHAB | Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
    paid too much for properties they couldn t afford or didn t know how to properly manage It s pretty easy if you don t know what you re doing to run a crappy building said Gregory Lobo Jost of the University Neighborhood Housing Program who spoke at last night s event The panel of experts tackled the topic of how the city should deal with bad landlords and whether or not current tactics are working to keep tenants safe Harold Shultz a former official with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development HPD who now works for the Citizens Housing and Planning Council said the problem is not with housing laws but with how they are enforced through housing court The system is so cumbersome and overburdened with cases he said that most housing violations are never brought before a judge and the majority of landlords don t actually face penalties for breaking the rules You have a system in which the vast bulk of landlords believe correctly that there is a very low chance of having to pay a fine that there really is no one looking over their shoulder making sure they re doing the right thing he said Journalist Tom Robbins who led the City Limits investigation and who covered housing for years for the Village Voice agreed It s a pretty useless mechanism in terms of getting housing justice he said of the court system It s where good cases go to die The city has tried other tactics in recent years like HPD s Alternative Enforcement Program which cuts through some of the bureaucratic red tape by allowing the agency to go ahead and make emergency repairs on the most distressed buildings then billing the landlord for the work But the program only targets

    Original URL path: http://www.uhab.org/news/journalists-revisit-deadly-dekalb-fire-reignite-housing-discussion (2016-04-28)
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