NY State Senator Secures $190,000 in Funding for Tenants’ Rights & Tenant Advocacy Groups

NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton: “We have dedicated lawyers, counselors, case workers, and community advocates working to uphold tenants’ rights and keep our communities whole...”

NY State Senator Secures $190,000 in Funding for Tenants’ Rights & Tenant Advocacy Groups

Brooklyn, NY – Senator Hamilton announced today $190,000 in funding for tenants’ rights and tenant advocacy groups secured in the New York State budget. The Flatbush Development Corporation with the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, Housing & Family Services of Greater New York, Fifth Avenue Committee with Neighbors Helping Neighbors, and the Legal Aid Society will be presented with checks totaling $190,000 to support their work.

265 Hawthorne Street serves as the site of the announcement because of the recent victory of tenants in the building, securing the building as a co-op after more than ten years of efforts. Residents of the 71-unit building in the heart of Prospect Lefferts Gardens had been trying to secure their building since 2007 when the City of New York took the building from the landlord. Senator Hamilton and his constituent services team have been working with tenants in the building for the past three years; in addition, Eve-Lynn Williams, the president of the Co-op Board, the residents’ pro bono attorney David Morisset, and community resident Carmen Martinez all played key roles in seeing the co-op through to victory.

NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “We have dedicated lawyers, counselors, case workers, and community advocates working to uphold tenants’ rights and keep our communities whole. These groups prevent evictions, combat harassment of tenants, deliver assistance in housing court, provide a lifeline to families in crisis, and so much more. This investment in our community will strengthen protections for tenants and serves as one important step forward in keeping our family, friends, and neighbors in their homes.”

Robin Redmond, Executive Director, Flatbush Development Corp, said, “The fight to preserve affordable housing and advocate for tenants rights is more crucial now than ever, especially in Flatbush and Central Brooklyn. We thank Senator Hamilton for this funding, which will help us build tenant power, strengthen tenant rights, and preserve affordable housing in our communities.”

Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director, the Fifth Avenue Committee, said “NYC’s affordable housing crisis is ever-present in Sunset Park, where nearly half of the neighborhood’s residents are severely rent burdened and more than 25% live in poverty,” says Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director of Fifth Avenue Committee and Neighbors Helping Neighbors. “Adding to this, increasing gentrification and displacement pressures in Sunset Park have caused a deep need among our neighbors for Tenant Rights Education and Eviction Prevention services. NYS State Senator Jesse Hamilton’s support of Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ tenant services is critically needed in our community and will help NHN keep hundreds of vulnerable residents who regularly seek our assistance in their homes.”

“New York City is in the midst of a housing crisis, and now more than ever, low-income tenants need access to robust legal services to avoid homelessness,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “Today’s funding announcement will bolster our efforts in the district and throughout New York City to fight against unscrupulous landlords. The Legal Aid Society thanks Senator Hamilton for this important funding allocation.”

The Flatbush Development Corporation with the Flatbush Tenant Coalition will receive $50,000. Housing & Family Services of Greater New York, Inc. will receive $65,000. The Fifth Avenue Committee with Neighbors Helping Neighbors will receive $25,000. The Legal Aid Society will receive $50,000.

About Flatbush Development Corporation:

Flatbush Development Corporation (FDC) is dedicated to meeting the needs of a diverse Brooklyn community. FDC identifies and responds to these needs by creating programs, campaigns, and partnerships through economic development, housing, youth, immigration and other initiatives that promote enhanced quality of life, equity, safety, and preservation of our community. FDC’s dedicated and professional staff are led by a Board of Directors comprised of community residents, merchants, and business leaders who are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all members of the Flatbush Community and beyond. Complementing these programs are efforts to promote the Greater Flatbush community and a commitment to its future. FDC’s Signature events are the Victorian Flatbush House and Garden Tour, the Flatbush Frolic Street Fair, the Anti- Graffiti Task Force and Neighborhood Clean-Up, Cortelyou at Twilight, Eat & Shop, Summer Movies on Cortelyou, a free Family Block Party, and an Annual Awards dinner honoring community volunteers and leaders. Through a combination of public and private funds, community support and volunteer efforts, FDC continues to maintain the vitality, diversity and quality of life that only an urban community can offer. But there is still much to be done. Affordable housing needs to be preserved and built, commercial revitalization must continue, and quality-of-life issues must be addressed to maintain a vibrant neighborhood.

About Flatbush Tenant Coalition:

The Flatbush Tenant Coalition is a member-led group of tenant associations in Flatbush, East Flatbush, and South Crown Heights working collectively to build tenant power. Acting together, we advocate to improve the lives of tenants so families have safe, decent, and affordable housing. We organize and support tenant associations and develop tenant leaders. We educate tenants about their rights and how to organize to make change. We take united action in campaigns to strengthen tenant rights in NYC and across the State. Working together to build tenant power, we help to create a more just and equitable society.

About the Fifth Avenue Committee:

Fifth Avenue Committee, Inc. (FAC) is a NeighborWorks America chartered member organization with the mission to advance economic and social justice. Based in South Brooklyn, FAC achieves its mission principally by developing and managing affordable housing and community facilities, creating economic opportunities, organizing residents and workers, providing student-centered adult education, and combating displacement caused by gentrification.

About Neighbors Helping Neighbors:

Founded in 1990, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Inc. (NHN) is Fifth Avenue Committee’s HUD-approved housing counseling affiliate based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Its mission is to empower low- and moderate-income Brooklyn residents to secure quality housing and build financial assets. NHN achieves this mission through a combination of homeownership and tenant services, as well as organizing and advocacy around local and citywide campaigns that align with a vision of safe, affordable housing in the Brooklyn communities NHN serves. Building on synergies in the missions and programs of FAC and NHN – as well as a history of programmatic partnership – the two non-profits announced a strategic alliance in November of 2011 after a thoughtful planning process. Neighbors Helping Neighbors is now an affiliate of Fifth Avenue Committee, with an office at the FAC Center for Community Development, as well as an office in Sunset Park.

About The Legal Aid Society:

Throughout its 140 year history, The Legal Aid Society has been guided by the fundamental principle that nobody should be denied access to justice because of poverty. The Society’s Civil Practice provides assistance to marginalized New Yorkers experiencing civil legal issues through 21 specialized units, whether this is a family torn apart by federal immigration policies, or a single-parent facing eviction by an unscrupulous landlord. We are tireless advocates for those least able to advocate for themselves and work to remove the systemic barriers preventing the advancement of vulnerable people across New York City.

About Senator Hamilton:

Senator Jesse Hamilton has spent his entire career helping people, including over 15 years as President of the School Board and District Leader. He is a husband, father, and public servant delivering and fighting for one of the most diverse Senate districts in New York State.

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