The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

About

The SurRealEstate team is made up of the Organizing and Policy Department of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB). Through organizing in buildings, educating tenants, building coalitions, and advocating for progressive policy initiatives, we strive to preserve and strengthen the quality of affordable housing in New York City. We are motivated by our belief that tenants must demand a voice in the oversight of their housing, and that it is their inherent right to assert a collective vision about how their homes should look and feel. We work in rent stabilized and government subsidized buildings that have high code violations and/or may be at risk of losing their affordability.

Dan DeSloover, UHAB Organizer

In the last few years we have focused our energy on buildings that have entered into foreclosure and fallen into horrible disrepair as a result of a local and national problem called “predatory equity.”  Predatory Equity is a process whereby banks make unsupportable loans to speculative buyers, enabling them to purchase buildings with the explicit purpose of removing regulation, raising rents, and displacing low and moderate income families. We are working with tenants to elicit support of partner organizations, legal representatives, elected officials, city housing agencies, and the media, to run campaigns which expose these injustices and demand decent and habitable building conditions.

This website is an effort to share our on-the-ground experiences as organizers confronting the often surreal, but painfully real, state of the New York multifamily housing market. We hope that our stories will educate, inspire, anger, excite, and move you to support this essential work. Our work depends entirely on the financial support we receive from foundations, progressive individuals, and other allies. So please, as you read this blog and reflect on the importance of safe and affordable housing for all, consider donating to our cause.

The opinions expressed in this blog are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board as an organization.

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