No result found
Community Action for Safe Apartments;
CASA is proud to present our new white paper, Resisting Displacement: Lessons from CASA's Tenant Organizing in the Southwest Bronx!In the last year, CASA has organized or provided technical assistance to over 90 buildings, which are home to more than 7,000 families. In the last year alone, over 4,000 tenants have actively engaged in CASA's work. Our new white paper shares lessons in tenant organizing, explores the forces of displacement that we are up against, and solutions for fighting displacement in the context of an impending rezoning.This is a critical moment for the Southwest Bronx. A potential rezoning is imminent, and could have devastating impacts on low-income tenants of color, their communities, and the state of affordable housing. CASA has drawn on our organizing experience, coalition work, previous research and the experiences of the tenants we work with to draft this white paper.In the report we:Present a clear and accurate definition of displacement and counter the false assertion that most tenants leave neighborhoods by choice;Explain the tactics that landlords already use to exert displacement pressures on low-income tenants of color;Emphasize the risk of increased displacement posed by rezoning, and in particular the Jerome Avenue rezoning, when new housing is not genuinely affordable and there are insufficient protections against displacement;Offer solutions that would protect tenants from displacement, allow them to remain in their homes, and preserve their communities.
CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities;
Since 1995, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities has been organizing the Southeast Asian community in the Bronx to fight against systemic injustice. As the only pan-Asian organization in New York City focused on organizing, CAAAV has been successful at building multi-generational community leadership that both works on the local level as well as participates in the broader social justice movement. In the Bronx, CAAAV created the Youth Leadership Project (YLP) to train young people in the Southeast Asian community as organizers. CAAAV members have led several successful campaigns and inspired a generation of Southeast Asian organizations across the country, including Khmer Girls in Action, PRYSM, and Freedom, Inc. Over the years, as vital social services for Southeast Asians in the Bronx have been systematically cut, CAAAV began to engage other community leaders and key stakeholders to strategize how to address these issues.In 2009, youth members of CAAAV's Youth Leadership Program (YLP) worked with the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center to create a survey that would be used to identify community needs and priorities. CAAAV members then spent several months in 2010 conducting those surveys. This report is the result of that survey project.
New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault;
In 2009, the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, in conjunction with community stakeholders, conducted action-research on sexual violence prevention in three communities. In the South Bronx, a community coalition comprised of local service providers, rape crisis advocates, community members and activists, is using the data to develop effective solutions for preventing sexual violence in their community. Research questions:Is sexual violence a problem in the community?What are the most common forms of sexual violence in the community?What are the root causes of sexual violence?How can we prevent sexual violence in the community?What are the characteristics of the community that can support sexual violence prevention?
Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center;
The South Bronx has struggled for years with three of the most pressing social and economic inequities that affect urban, low-income communities of color: high unemployment, poor public health, and substandard housing conditions. Compared with other neighborhoods in New York City, the South Bronx community bears an unequal share of the burden in each of these areas. The South Bronx is home to the highest unemployment rate in the city at 12.6%, claims one of the highest rates of asthma and obesity in the country, and residents are exposed to housing infested with cockroaches, mold and other allergens at a higher rate than anywhere else in the City.After a year-long community visioning process, where members of MOM identified the need to address the intersecting issues of housing, environmental injustice and unemployment, members of MOM decided to research a public policy solution that could address each of these interrelated issues simultaneously. This solution is a green jobs program, which we define as employment opportunities that improve the environment. After surveying hundreds of residents in the South Bronx, and exploring a variety of existing and proposed green jobs programs found in New York and elsewhere throughout the country, members of MOM have decided to call for the creation of a green jobs program focused in the New York City Housing Authority to retrofit each of the South Bronx neighborhood's 90 public housing developments to be more energy efficient. If implemented successfully, this green jobs program could create thousands of new jobs while simultaneously improving public health and housing conditions for low-income South Bronx residents.
University Neighborhood Housing Program;
On April 24, 2012, the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice at Fordham University, the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center, and UNHP hosted the forum "Creating a Bronx Economy: Banking Options and Alternative Solutions" including the report "Banking in the Bronx: Assessing options in a historically redlined and underbanked borough."Despite the many success stories of our borough in the last 35 years, redlining has left a lasting legacy in the proliferation of high-cost fringe financial services and the lowest concentration of bank branches of any county in the nation. As the gap between the very wealthy and everyone else grows nationally, lower income communities are struggling to survive in an economy that does not work in their interest. The forum and accompanying report focused on current banking practices in the Bronx and potential solutions. As part of a larger movement for social justice in the Bronx, the forum was attended by government leaders, clergy, and neighborhood groups. Attendees participated in a breakout session where the issues raised at the forum were further discussed.
University Neighborhood Housing Program;
The state of affordability in the Bronx has Nowhere to Go - the Bronx is in a full out crisis of affordability. New data reveals that more than half of all households in Bronx Community District 5 now pay more than 50% of their income on rent, something unprecedented in the history of New York City. This trend of percent of income spent on rent cannot go any higher without a significant increase in overcrowding and homelessness.Economic hardships and the housing affordability gap are well documented nationally, and are especially acute in the Bronx. About half of all renters nationally, and nearly two-thirds of renters in the Bronx, live in unaffordable housing, and both of those numbers are increasing. The legacy of redlining and disinvestment has had an enormous impact on the Bronx and contributed to poor housing conditions and poverty. Reinvestment work starting in the 1970s thwarted the threats for planned shrinkage in the Bronx and created the housing that became home to immigrants and others seeking to live in New York City. Just as community-led reinvestment by the public and private sectors transformed the old Bronx, investment is still needed today to preserve the new Bronx. Investment is especially needed in the low wage workers that keep the five boroughs running so that these workers can afford to live and thrive in New York City.The report Nowhere to Go: A Crisis of Affordability in the Bronx highlights trends in the data to explain the current economic situation in the Bronx and to help inform policy decisions from a community based perspective. The report was presented at our 30th Anniversary Forum on May 1st, 2013. Panelists at the forum included John Reilly, Executive Director of Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation; Christa Meyers, Senior Director of Research, Evaluation & Planning with the District Public Health Offices at the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene; and Nick Iuviene and Yorman Nuñez from the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative.
University Neighborhood Housing Program;
Time after time, the Bronx ranks highest in many negative demographic, housing and social indicators. These neighborhoods are highlighted in crimson on comparative NYC maps, earning the moniker, the "Red Zone."The UNHP report Envisioning the Future of the Red Zone finds that despite the negative indicators, these same neighborhoods are at the epicenter of widespread community based revitalization efforts. These neighborhoods also provide much of the City's affordable housing in the form of privately owned rent stabilized properties with relatively low rents.Panelists from local community groups, housing agencies, and the private sector led the discussion of the Red Zone at UNHP's 2009 forum. To address the negative indicators and what they mean going forward, the discussion focused on ways institutions, lenders, public agencies and community groups responsible for the successful community development efforts of the past three decades can work together to envision a future for the Red Zone.
Community Action for Safe Apartments;
Tenants in New York City's poorest neighborhoods are under attack. Despite the existence of laws such as rent stabilization to protect tenants from high rents, landlords are creating new ways to push rent stabilized tenants out of their homes. One such tactic is the use of non-rent fees, a confusing and often times unwarranted set of charges that are added to a monthly rent statement (see Figure 1). These include fees on appliances (air conditioner, washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher), legal fees, damage fees, Major Capital Improvement (MCI) rent increases and other miscellaneous fees. Often these fees appear on a tenant's rent bill without any explanation. If a tenant fails to pay, even if they are unaware of why the fee was imposed, they are sent letters that make them feel that they are being harassed and are threatened with eviction by the landlord. Most tenants have a right to object to many of these fees, and landlords are legally prohibited from taking tenants to Housing Court solely for non-payment of additional fees. But many tenants don't know their rights about the fees and often pay them when they shouldn't. For low-income and working class tenants who struggle each month to pay rent, these fees add up and make their housing costs unaffordable. While some of the fees are legal, many of them are not, and the consistency and pattern of the way the fees are being charged and collected suggests that some landlords are intentionally increasing tenants' rent burdens to push out long-term, rent stabilized tenants. This problem is proliferating in the Bronx, where New Settlement's Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA) works to improve living conditions and maintain affordable housing. This is particularly apparent in buildings owned by Chestnut Holdings, a company that is fast becoming one of the biggest landlords of rent stabilized buildings in the Bronx. In order to learn more about how these fees are impacting rent stabilized tenants in the Bronx and develop recommendations to reform the fee collection system, members of CASA partnered with the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, New York Communities for Change (NYCC) and Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) to conduct research about these fees.Staff and members from the above organizations collected surveys at legal clinics, tenant association meetings and organizational events. All survey respondents live in rent stabilized buildings owned by Chestnut Holdings. In total, the coalition collected 172 surveys from 23 buildings, representing 13% of the number of apartments in those buildings. The research sample accounts for 4% of all the apartments that Chestnut Holdings owns, and 28% of the buildings. Researchers also collected rent bills and other supplemental materials (including letters to and from landlords, housing court decisions, and more) from 196 Chestnut Holdings tenants. Coalition members chose to focus on these buildings because they are rent stabilized and located in the neighborhoods where each organization is actively working. Data in this report comes from surveys, recent rent bills collected from Chestnut Holdings' tenants and interviews with tenants. Overall, we found that the problem of non-rent fees is serious and widespread in the Bronx. 81% of the tenants we surveyed had been charged some sort of fee. From the rent bills we reviewed for this report, the average tenant had $671.13 in non-rent fees on their most recent rent bill.
Community Action for Safe Apartments;
Every day, about 2,000 tenants go through Bronx Housing Court. Most are low-income people of color who have limited resources and cannot afford a lawyer to help them navigate the confusing court system. The operation of Housing Court has been described as an "eviction mill," a system created "to work in a landlord's favor." As a result of this imbalanced system, thousands of tenants are evicted; in 2012, approximately 11,000 households were evicted in the Bronx. Children have to change schools, jobs are at risk, belongings are lost and communities are uprooted.Members of New Settlement's Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA), many of whom have been in Housing Court, decided that this is a system they simply cannot accept and began to take action. To identify concrete issues tenants face in Housing Court and necessary policy changes, CASA launched a research project in partnership with the Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center, collecting 1,055 surveys, conducting 15 judge observations and holding three focus groups with 25 participants.
New York Community Trust;
You've heard the proverb: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." For 40 years, The New York Community Trust has been figuring out how to effectively "go together." The Trust has been funding collaborative funds for the last 40 years. By joining forces, funders combine the resources of many to tackle larger agenda, tougher issues, or long-term challenges. The Trust's most substantial collaboration to date was the September 11th Fund, which pooled $534 million from two million individuals from all 50 states, and 150 countries. The Trust has been home to 20 other collaborative funds, distributing more than $119 million. "Donor collaboration is on the rise because it meets many needs. By joining forces, funders leverage the resources of many to tackle larger agendas, tougher issues or long-term challenges," says Lorie Slutsky, president of The New York Community Trust. "Collaboration also provides philanthropists with an opportunity to get involved in areas in which they are not experts or take risks they might not assume on their own." To showcase the incredible work of its funder collaboratives, The Trust has launched the report "Stronger Together: The Power of Funder Collaboration." We discuss the innovative strategies of collaboration, and the lessons we've learned about working together to solve complex problems. When funders pool resources, anything is possible. 140 foundations and other collaborators made the City's public school system better for all students; led the fight against AIDS in New York City; and created affordable housing while strengthening organizations that support it.
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.;
The Parents and Children Together (PACT) evaluation, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research for the Office of Research, Planning, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is examining a set of Healthy Marriage (HM) and Responsible Fatherhood (RF) grantees funded by ACF's Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in 2011. Recognizing that grantees' programs continue to grow and develop, the PACT evaluation aims to provide foundational information to guide ongoing and future program design and evaluation efforts, and to build the evidence base for programming.