The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

“NYCB Hurts NYC” Photo Campaign Kicks Off!

An example of tenant frustrations with bad conditions- sent to us by a tenant at 2401Cortelyou Rd. Brooklyn

This past week the UHAB organizers have been running all over Manhattan and Brooklyn dropping flyers in some of New York Community Bank’s most distressed properties.  Until today, the pictures featured on the “Picture This!” section of our blog were all  from buildings that we have been working with for many months, sometimes years. But now, as we power through our research and identify more NYCB buildings in bad shape, we are reaching out to a host of new buildings and encouraging tenants to send us their photos and join the campaign against NYCB.

And the leg work is paying off! A tenant from 2401 Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn, one of ten new buildings where we distributed flyers, gave us a CD full of pictures from her building. You can see those pictures (and more!) here.

Sometimes we just slipped flyers under tenants’ doors with instructions for emailing photos, other times we ran into tenants in the hallway and explained our campaign in more depth. As expected, many of the tenants we met in these NYCB buildings were suffering with bad conditions. We plan to return to a few of these buildings to begin organizing, but we don’t have capacity to go back to all of them. Even though we might not organize in every building, we are hoping that the “Picture This!” page can serve as visual proof of the urgency of the housing crisis in NYC, and can be an importance reference point for media outlets, elected officials, and the general public.

The idea behind this flyer drop and the entire “NYCB Hurts NYC” photo campaign is this:

1. Create a wider network of tenants engaged in the campaign to hold the bank accountable

2. Expose the negative effects of predatory lending on New York City housing stock

3. Expand organizing capacity in NYC by creating a database of distressed buildings that advocate groups can use to identify new outreach

4. Utilize new media to more effectively show and tell the story of the threat to quality, affordable housing

If you would like to join this effort, please get in touch:

thesurrealestate@gmail.com or 212-479-3336

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