The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

Tag Archives: immigration

Friday News Round-Up!

It’s Friday! You know what to expect:

  1. The New York Daily News continues to lambast NYCHA in the press. But the City Council is fighting back – declaring the campaign against the agency ill-informed and careless. Rosie Mendez and her colleagues in the council have argued that the cash reserves are both smaller than billions NYDN claims, and that they are reserved only for major capital improvements – i.e., using them to fix a leaky faucet would get all the funds revoked by the federal government. All the same, Mayor Bloomberg has announced that the agency will be restructured. NYCHA is the largest public housing authority in North America and is one of the only American housing authorities remaining after many were dismantled in the 1990s and early 2000s. (Politicker, New York Times)
  2. Thousands and thousands of DREAMers showed up at a deferred action event in Chicago this week, the largest crowd in the country. Undocumented people seeking freedom from fear of arrest began to arrive as early as last Tuesday evening. Wednesday was the first day to apply for Obama’s new policy, announced via executive order, that would allow thousands of young immigrants freedom increased access to work permits, study permits, and reprieve from deportation. Ilian Claudio, 19, described the event in Chicago as “A new beginning. A gate is opening.” (Huffington Post)
  3. The foreclosure crisis that continues to ravage the country has had an immense number of negative effects. The number of American’s living in poverty has increased, as well as the number of homeless Americans. High unemployment. Several studies suggest that foreclosure has a negative effect on school performance. Et cetera. But despite anecdotal evidence that suggests crime associated with foreclosure is a national problem, a study in the Social Science Quarterly has found little empirical evidence that the foreclosure crisis has influenced rates of violent and property crime. (The Atlantic Cities)
  4. Evelyn Konrad of Southhampton is fighting against a zoning code change that allows supersized homes in her town. She claims the Mayor is catering favor with his Wall Street buddies, and has already spent nearly $100,000 of her own life savings on the suit. Lone Star Funds CEO Donald Quintin for having a house that is egregiously large. We’re standing with Evelyn! And if Mr. Quintin’s house in the Hamptons is so big, we know about 900 angry tenants who would like to come over for dinner. (The Real Deal)
  5. Two UHAB-monitored co-ops are in the news today for having the two cheapest NYC Real Estate listings of the week. (546 W. 156th Street and 521 W. 151st Street, both in Hamilton Heights.) The good news: at least we’re doing our job of keeping the co-op option affordable. The bad news (or the-news-that-was-left-out): the article in The Real Deal, though it mentions they are “fully renovated co-ops,” does not mention that they are also limited equity, income restricted. Speculators move on! (The Real Deal)

Here are the also-rans for this week’s news roundup: the “public” is clamoring for a picture of Paul Ryan topless (not this public!), Andrew Cuomo has called yet another thing historic (yogurt), and strip clubs in Florida can’t wait for the RNC to arrive. Questionable choices, all around. Have a great weekend, from UHAB Organizing!

Friday News Round Up!

ImageLike last Friday, we’re bringing your articles from the web that we found interesting or relevant to the work that we do. 

  1. The Community Service Society released a report on the cost burden on rent for low income New Yorkers. The most commonly accepted definition of affordability is that housing costs do not exceed 30% of total household income. That’s why Section 8 recipients pay 30% of their income on rent, and their voucher covers the remaining cost. (Curious about why 30%? Learn more here.) According to the Community Service Society, though, low-income New York City tenants pay nearly 49% of their income to landlords, up from 45% six years ago.
  2. The Martin Prosperity Institute released a graphic map (shown above) that demonstrates the number of newly naturalized American citizens per large metropolitan center; Richard Florida at The Atlantic Cities commented on this at The Atlantic Cities in an article, Melting Pot Cities. New York City tops the list in sheer numbers: of all new citizens, nearly 15% live in New York City. (Miami, however, has a highest amount per capita number of new citizens at 998 per 100,000 people.) New York City lags, however, when it comes to opportunities for immigrants. Boston, D.C., and San Francisco show the highest number of immigrants working in high skilled labor. We need to continually work on developing opportunities for life-sustaining employment for New York’s immigrants! (Read more: Florida has long argued that our immigration policies are much too strict; that our tight controls on immigration hold society back.)
  3. It’s been HOT. City Room at the NY Times tells us just how hot. Thursday’s record breaking temperatures reached 97 degrees. Heat waves in cities are dangerous; the Center for Disease Control estimates that nearly 700 people die each year from heat related illness, but in a terrifying statistic they also estimate that by the year 2050 that number will have jumped to between 2,000 and 5,000 due to climate change. In his book Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, sociologist Eric Klinenberg described how social forces determined fatal outcomes in Chicago’s 1995 heat wave. (We really recommend it.) It’s no surprise that low income residents, isolated in run-down buildings in high poverty neighborhoods are at a much greater risk for heat-related death. His book also reminds us of the value of a tenants association, in providing strong support networks that can help in times of crisis!  
  4. Despite support from Mayor Bloomberg and widespread support from law enforcement, Governor Cuomo’s attempt to decriminalize marijuana has been struck down by Republican state senators. WNYC reports that the lack of support was likely due to political pressure from the State Conservative Party, who vowed not to support any Republicans in upcoming races who voted for the bill. The bill would take a tremendous burden off law enforcement, and combat the disproportionate number of arrests in the Black and Latino community due to Stop-and-Frisk policies. Governor Cuomo has indicated that he is not looking for partial reform; bill supporters remain committed to passing the legislation this year.

That’s all for today! Have a great weekend and we’ll be back on Monday!

UHAB Organizers Stand with the NY DREAMers!

Today launches the NY youth leadership council’s Week of Action to pass the  NY DREAM Act, and UHAB organizers want to give a shout out to the amazing work that undocumented youth are doing, and hope to support them in their efforts to pass a NY State Dream Act.

While we at UHAB do not work directly on immigration  issues, many of the tenants we work with are recent immigrants.  As organizers, we work to improve the lives of tenants, regardless of immigration status.  We aspire to empower tenants to have a voice in their building and their community, and consider safe, affordable housing, just like education, a human right.

For more information about what you can do to ensure an education for all New Yorkers through passing the NY DREAM Act, click here.

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