We got good news at UHAB this week. Finally, after 7 weeks of disruption, our offices are re-opening and we will be fully functional from 120 Wall Street once again!
- Yesterday, the Housing and Buildings Committee of the New York City Council heard testimony from HPD and community groups on a new bill that would coerce landlords to fix underlying conditions in apartments where tenants are plagued by recurring housing code violations. The New York Daily News wrote about the bill, and how it may help keep tenants such as Lillian Hernandez at 1507 St. Johns Place safe. Notable pieces of testimony: Bronx and Queens landlords’ associations, who oppose the bill, claim that recurring problems are perhaps the fault of the tenant and the bill does not take this into account. HPD Deputy Commissioner Vito Mustaciuolo countered these underlying conditions issues are basically never the fault of the tenant. Our response: if you’re a landlord who is afraid of added costs due to this piece of legislation, the answer is simple: be a good landlord, and this won’t affect you.
- The Atlantic Cities praises HUD for the work it has done through its Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities this week. Kaid Benfield celebrates the office for doing great work by directing resources to local communities and supporting local, bottom-up planning rather than top-down bureaucracy. Lets see this community-supported grassroots approach make it to the housing project inspections, like residents suggest!
- In more labor organizing news, security guards at JFK have agreed to go on strike beginning December 20th. Add this to the long list of low-wage workers demanding safer working conditions and better pay. Security guards at JFK are not currently unionized right now, but they have reached out to SEIU-32BJ for support surrounding the upcoming strike. Against the back-drop of Michigan’s new Right to Work-status, it’s nice to see that collective negotiating is strong at home, and possibly getting stronger.
- The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, or, as the NY Times calls it, “East Village Shrine to Riots and Radicals,” is now open at Avenue C and 10th Street: in the storefront of C-Squat. The museum remembers the radical activist culture of the East Village, which can be hard to recognize in a rapidly gentrified neighborhood. We have a unique connection with the space, as the squatters-turned-shareholders who live in the apartment building and lease the space to the museum have worked closely with UHAB through the co-op conversion process for nearly 10 years. Check out this slideshow of opening day, visit the museum, and make sure to donate!
- The Center for Responsible Lending released a report this week, “Lending In America: Predatory Practices Persist,” which details the current state of consumer lending across the board. The report uncovers that despite significant regulatory advances, American families are still struggling to rebuild their finances in the face of significant lending malfeasance in mortgage markets, credit cards, student loans, and auto loans. The report, released on Wednesday, is the first of three chapters.
Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you on Monday!