Showing posts from October, 2013

Building Stronger


Thanks to everyone who came out last night and to the hearing on Monday night. Here are the next steps to build our coalition stronger:


Housing advocates from different fields put together a brief memo that calls on the next mayor to preserve affordable housing, build affordable housing responsively, and take concrete steps to end homelessness.

The memo will be delivered the day after the election, and we need as many organizations to sign on to show the new administration that we're united. You can find the sign-on letter HERE. Please send all organizational endorsements to


Since the next rent law fight is fast approaching, we're going to resurrect the Legislative Committee. If you're interested in joining the committee and attending meetings to talk about legislative and legal positions and strategies to support the organizing work, contact Michael McKee at


R3 held a silen…

Sign Your Organization onto an Affordable Housing Proposal for the Next Mayor.


R3 joined about 16 other organizations to boil down several 20-50 page platforms for New York
City's next mayor, to a single (2-sided!) sheet.  Click here for the platform, and sign your organization on!  We'll be giving the winner the letter on Wednesday, Nov. 6th - the day after the election.  

Read "A Cure for the Tale of Two Cities: A Brief Affordable Housing Program."

Mayoral Candidate Bill De Blasio's Answer to Tenants PAC's Questionnaire


Check out the questionnaire on line

Questionnaire for Candidates for Mayor New York City Election 2013 Name of candidate: Bill de Blasio Campaign contact person & complete contact information: Emma Wolfe –

1. What do you believe are the greatest housing problems and housing needs in
New York City?

We live a Tale of Two Cities. The wealthiest New Yorkers enjoy a life of luxury,
while many working and retired families can barely pay the rent. At the very
bottom, 50,000 New Yorkers sleep in shelters every night. But the challenge is
much greater. Almost half of all New Yorkers spend more than 30 percent of their
income on housing—and one-third of households spend at least half on housing.
In 10 years, New York City has lost nearly as many affordable apartments as it
has built or preserved. Gentrification, unscrupulous landlords and the real estate
lobby’s hold on government have pulled tens of thousands of apartments out of
rent stabilization, and more are lost every year.

Fight to renew the Rent Laws in 2015 - Press Conf 10/28 at 4 pm before Moreland Comm'n Hearing


There is a direct link between our broken campaign system and the dismantling of the rent regulation system. Read Jaron Benjamin's opinion piece in the NY Daily News here:

This is why we must fight for real campaign finance reform, including public financing and the closure of loopholes that allow the real estate industry to outspend everyone else.

What: Press ConferenceMoreland Commission Hearing
When: Monday, October 28th, ***4pm***
Where: Jacob Javits Center Entrance, Near 11th Ave and 35th St

The Moreland Commission has changed dates, locations, and times for the last public NYC hearing to investigate corruption, as recently as after close of business on Friday. What does the Moreland Commission have to do with tenants and rents?

Before the hearing, tenants will host a press conference to talk about what the Moreland Commission needs to do - we have a large stake in how the Moreland Commission acts. It would be a huge blow to the landlords if the LLC loophole…

R3 meeting TUESDAY, Oct. 29


Come hear about the Moreland Commission and publichousing residents' suit against NYCHA on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 7 PM at the Goddard-Riverside Community Ctr, 593 Columbus Ave. (basement) at 88th St. 

Moreland Commission - Monday, Oct. 28 at Javits Center


Albany tenant bills won't pass if legislators are corrupt. 

Come to the Moreland Commission Investigating Coruption Hearing:

Monday, October 28, 2013
5-9 PM (4 PM tenants rally first)
at the Javits Center.

A.M. Rosenthal bill could prevent loss of rent-regulated apartment in bankruptcy


The federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is considering a case that could require a tenant to sell her "property interest" in her rent-regulated home of 50 years in order to declare bankruptcy.  See Widow's Bankruptcy Case Poses Risk to Rent-Stabilized Tenants, in the NY Times. New York State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal proposed a bill last year that would prevent a tenant from losing her  rent-regulated apartment just because she declares bankruptcy.  Unless a companion bill is proposed and passed in the State Senate, however, tenants may remain unprotected.  Senators, take notice!

Why we need rent regulation - NY Times discussion


NY Times
Strengthen Rent Regulations A record number of rent stabilized tenants have trouble paying their rent. And they face the highest increases in five years while landlords profit. UPDATED OCTOBER 16, 2013, 8:13 PM
A common misconception is that these tenants are all rich people from Manhattan. A recent study shows that most rent stabilized households make less than $38,000 per year, and the Bronx has the highest ratio of regulated housing; four out of five apartments there are rent regulated. The same study, produced by the City of New York, says a record number of rent stabilized tenants are in danger of not being able to pay rent and getting evicted. Meanwhile, they face the highest rent increases in five years while their landlords reported an overall profit. Click here for the rest of the article. 



R3 coordinator and Met Council on Housing executive director Jaron Benjamin makes the case for rent regulation in an affordable housing online debate forum convened by the NY Times.
Other contributions include ANHD's Barika X. Williams, US Representative Keith Ellison,  former HUD secretary Henry Cisneros, and long time rent-regulation critic Howard Glaeser from Harvard University.
Read the discussion and join the debate!

Here's an excerpt from Jaron's article:
A common misconception is that these tenants are all rich people from Manhattan. A recent study shows that most rent stabilized households make less than $38,000 per year, and the Bronx has the highest ratio of regulated housing; four out of five apartments there are rent regulated. The same study, produced by the City of New York, says a record number of rent stabilized tenants are in danger of not being able to pay rent and getting evicted. Meanwhile, they face the highest rent increases in five years while their land…



The following is from the press release by Red Horse Strategies. Special thanks to VOCAL-NY, UHAB, and WSNA/HCC! View pictures by Joan Roth HERE.
The Real Rent Reform Campaign this morning joined tenants, community activists, and civic leaders—including Council Member to-be Helen Rosenthal—to serve REBNY members with a “People’s Subpoena,” demanding answers from the group for its shady and unprecedented $7 million interference during the 2013 elections. The subpoena demanded REBNY members to testify at a Moreland Commission investigation into public corruption during the 2013 elections, including glaring legal oversights like the 421(a) tax break for luxury developers and the LLC loophole that allows real estate executives to skirt campaign finance laws and exert disproportionate influence on local elections.

“From the beginning, this was about simple fairness for New Yorkers,” said Jaron Benjamin, spokesman for the Real Rent Reform Campaign. “Real estate developers need to play by the …

Moreland Comm'n Flexing Muscles


NY Daily News
OCTOBER 15, 2013 2:16 PM Moreland Commission To Issue Subpoenas To NYS Lawmakers For Info On Outside IncomeBY KEN LOVETT
"On August 27, we requested information to be submitted by certain legislators. Leaders of the legislature for both the Assembly and Senate refused to cooperate."

"The Commission voted today to aggressively move forward in compelling production of information into specific matters that the Commission is investigating. The Commission will continue its mandate of investigating corruption, issuing subpoenas, holding public hearings and will issue our first report on December 1." A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the commission voted to send subpoenas, though it was unclear how many. Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, had no comment. Silver has reported in his public financial disclosure form this year making between $350,000 and $450,000 serving as counsel to the law firm Weitz &am…

Moreland Commission has too many asterisks


NY Times
Governor's Crusade Against Corruption Comes With Too Many Asterisks
By Michael Powell,  October 14, 2013

   Three months later, here come the asterisks.

   The commission will never back down.* (*Except when the governor’s aides suggest that subpoenaing the Real Estate Board of New York, which helped lobby for multimillion-dollar special tax abatements, was a rude step too far.)

   The commission will examine political party housekeeping accounts, those catchall bins into which corporations and the wealthy toss hundreds of thousands of more or less unaccountable dollars.* (*This investigation will scrutinize accounts belonging to the Senate Republican campaign committee and Independence Party. It will avert its eyes from the state Democratic Party committee, which represents the politicians who control two and a half of the three wings of New York government.)

   The commission will walk fearlessly.* (*Except it might overlook the governor’s Committee to Save New York,…

PACC & Chhaya: Legalize Safe Cellar Apartments


The NY Times:Looser Rules on Illegal Housing Sought
By Published: October 13, 2013
Excerpt: "With the scarcity of affordable housing in the city and with many New Yorkers already living in makeshift apartments, some housing advocates are calling for a new approach. They want the city to legalize at least some of these units by waiving certain laws, as the Bloomberg administration did last year to test so-called micro-units. Smaller than the current 450-square-foot minimum for studios, such micro-units are planned for a Manhattan building scheduled to open in 2015 in a pilot project.

DeBlasio wants RGB rent freeze.


Curbed NY:  Mayoral Candidate Bill de Blasio Wants A Rent Freeze Thursday, October 10, 2013, by Jessica Dailey 68 In keeping with his pro-tenant, pro-affordable housing policies, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio says that if he's elected, he will push hard for a rent freeze on

Confront REBNY Influence in Albany


We're going to confront REBNY at their offices next week and send a message to Governor Cuomo. Click HERE to find out when we're going.
We need fair elections - not big $$$ controlling Albany.

Cuomo said to rein in Moreland Commission


NY Times
by Jesse McKindley & Thomas Kaplan, Oct. 8, 2013

ALBANY — When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo created the Commission to Investigate Public
Corruption in early July, he promised a muscular response to bad behavior by legislators that included allegations of bribe taking, favor trading and embezzlement.  But three months later, according to people familiar with the commission’s work, the effort to investigate corruption in Albany is burdened by resistance from the Legislature, which has refused requests for

"Affordable" housing not really affordable


Capital NY : 
A Microcosm of New York's Affordability Debate in Greenpoint
Oct. 3, 20131

A team developing two luxury high-rises on the Greenpoint waterfront has agreed to include 200 affordable units in the development. Or, more accurately, "affordable."

“They are not affordable to the average resident of the neighborhood,” said Moses Gates, who handles affordable housing development policy issues for the Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development.