Mutual Aid NYC Newsletter
Happy Friday! May the sixth be with you
Featured Issue: Tenants’ Association
What is a tenants’ association?
A tenants’ association is a union for tenants so you can better advocate for yourselves. Together, you will have more negotiating power when it comes to asking for repairs, fighting unreasonable rent increases, and more. It’s also a great way to get to know your neighbors and build community!
What if my landlord threatens us or tries to prevent us from forming one?
Real Property Law § 230 states that landlords can not interfere with the right of tenants to form an association nor punish tenants for forming one. Tenant groups also have the right to meet on-premises or in areas devoted to common use.
What are some tips on starting a tenants’ association?
If you think your building needs a tenants’ association, other people probably do to. One way to gauge interest is to call a meeting and see who goes. You can do this by putting up flyers, putting notes under people’s doors, and talking to your neighbors. Remember not every tenant needs to be a member to create an association, so don’t worry if you don’t get everyone on board the first time around.
Is this a legal organization?
No, there is no legal recognition of a tenants’ association and your landlord is not required to recognize your group. Instead, power stems from collective action such as coordinating a phone zap, when many tenants call 311 to complain about conditions
If this isn’t a legal organization, then can tenants’ associations take legal action?
There are legal procedures and actions specifically for groups of tenants. A group of tenants in the same building can file a Group HP Action to sue a landlord for repairs and services. This is more effective than one or many individuals filing as it is more likely to be seen by a judge, less cost-prohibitive since only one filing fee is needed, and only requires one representative to show up to court. The New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) allows tenants to file rent-reduction orders for decreased services or repairs. Tenants can coordinate individual filings and file for building-wide repairs, which is more effective than filing alone.
Learn more about tenants’ associations and find information in different languages from the Met Council on Housing here
Harlem One45 Developer Plans to Add Affordable Housing to the Controversial Project
The developer of the controversial One45 Housing Complex in Harlem says he will include plans for more affordable housing in a new proposal for the project.
According to The City, Bruce Teitelbaum is responding to pushback from new councilmember Kristin Richardson Jordan and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who have both expressed concern over displacing the current community and contributing to the lack of affordable housing in the area.
One45 consists of two 363-foot towers at the corner of West 145th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem. With the current plan, only 220 of the 900 apartments are described as “affordable,” the absolute minimum number of mandatory inclusionary housing units required in the city’s zoning laws. Amsterdam News reports that Councilmember Jordan led a “Harlem is not for sale,” protest and rally back in January, calling on Teitelbaum to consider the voices of the actual residents in the majority-black neighbourhood.
In response to the pushback, Teitelbaum has stated a new plan including more affordable housing will be drawn up before the council is set to vote next Tuesday in hopes to regain support.
“Disadvantaged Communities” Set to Get Increased Funding Under the State’s Climate Law
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act that passed in 2019 will be funding billions of dollars worth of green investments to the city in the coming years, and certain New Yorkers have concerns about where the funds will be directed.
The law requires state officials and agencies to provide “disadvantaged communities” with 5% of the total statewide spending set aside for the act. However, the City reports that within the current proposal, not all residents are convinced that the boundaries have been properly drawn to serve the areas in need. As the legislation is being put in place to ensure all communities will have access to necessary resources, it is vital the funding is properly dispersed.
This Act also calls upon the city to reach a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, a goal that will cost around $300 billion.
Resources of the Week
Check out some new additions to our Community Resource Library:
Resource: At-Home COVID-19 Test Kit Pickup
What is it: A list of free at-home COVID-19 rapid tests available for pickup. Pickup sites are located in every borough.
Resource: Bluestockings Resource Directory
What is it: A resource directory organised by Bluestockings, an organisation that focuses on community centered harm reduction. Resources listed include community building, housing, food, health care, sex work, LGBTQ, and incarcerated peoples’ support.
Resource: Legal Help for LGBTQ and HIV-Positive Immigrants
What is it: Immigration Equality’s resource guides for topics including asylum, detention, family reunification, and visas. For other questions or help, you can fill out an online form to set up an appointment with a legal expert.
Link Up with Your Local Group
Bushwick Ayuda Mutua needs volunteers to help with their distro tomorrow, May 7th, where they will have groceries, essential goods, and social services available to households that filled out the request form.
Where: Mayday Space, 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: shifts available from 10am-7:30pm
They need: bikers and drivers with their own vehicles to help with pickups, people who can lift or sort items, grocery hand-outers and packers
If interested, please add your name, pronouns, and the phone number you use on Signal next to the role you can help with in this doc and fill out their volunteer form here. They ask that you please use Signal if you want to volunteer as all organizing is done on there and notes will be sent out beforehand so everyone is on the same page the day of
Woodbine.nyc and Hungry Monk Rescue Truck need food pantry volunteers
Where: 585 Woodward Avenue
When: Mondays and Wednesday from 9-11am
If interested, volunteers can just show up but it is best to email email@example.com
East Brooklyn Mutual Aid is looking for grocery delivery drivers for their grocery delivery to neighbors in Ocean Hill, Brownsville, East New York, Starrett City, and Cypress Hills
When: Wednesday and Saturday from 12-3pm
If interested, please sign up here
They are also looking for volunteers for grant writing and fundraising, intake, and in-person community engagement events such as Farmer's Markets, and Community Safety events
Vision Urbana’s Home Delivered Pantry Service is in need of weekly volunteers who will bring bags of volunteers to local residents who are seniors and home bound on the Lower East Side
Where: Vision Urbana, 64 Essex St, New York, NY 10002
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-1pm, Fridays from 9am-11am
If interested, please fill out this form or contact their pantry staff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and by calling (646) 945 7868
Astoria Food Pantry is looking for volunteers for various roles every day of the week
Where: 25-82 Steinway Street, Astoria, NY 11103
What/When: anytime from 8am-3pm to help out at the food pantry; Tuesdays 11am-2pm to help with distribution for Free Store Outreach; Wednesday from 9am-6pm to help with the free store; delivery drivers and packers to help with grocery delivery
If interested, please fill out their volunteer sign up form here
MANYC Self Promo
Request Help by:
Going to the I Need Help page
Searching for a local group
Searching for a resource
Calling the hotline at: 646-437-8080
Submitting a resource
Donating to Home is a Human Right
Donating to a local mutual aid group