UHAB in the News

Tenants Catch a Break

The Indypendent - August 20, 2017 - “'Construction as harassment' involves the demolition and renovation of vacant apartments in a manner intended to 'make life miserable for the tenants they’re trying to move out,' explains Kerri White, director of organizing and policy at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. It’s a 'double bonus' for unscrupulous landlords, because they can add the cost of the renovations to the rent on vacant apartments, and if any tenants move out after their ceiling collapses or they spend a month without cooking gas, the owner can renovate their apartments and charge more." Read More.
 

Investors Move Quietly in East New York Amid de Blasio’s Housing Construction

City Limits - July 17, 2017 - "The building will soon be auctioned by the city to the highest bidder, and Urban Homesteading Assistance Board organizer Jorgy Flecha is concerned that given the zoning changes in the neighborhood, that auction might attract another neglectful owner only interested in higher rents." Read More.
 

Will Limited-Equity Cooperatives Make a Comeback?

Shelterforce - April 25,2017 - "But navigating through a real estate purchase is complicated without help. Nonprofits like UHAB, which assist low-income residents with all the details of turning their buildings into co-ops, make a huge difference. UHAB has been part of the preservation of more than 1,600 buildings in New York City since 1973, working often with the Tenant Interim Lease program, which allowed tenants to purchase city-owned buildings that landlords had abandoned." Read More.
 

CityViews: The Case for New Regs for the City’s Affordable Co-ops

City Limits - March 21, 2017 - "Any new regulation must be reasonable and respectful of the unique history of [HDFC co-ops]. It must not be onerous or seem demeaning to residents, who already work so hard to run and maintain their often aging buildings." Read More.
 

Help Is on the Way for Low-Income Co-op Buildings in NYC

Next City - March 1, 2017 - "'The real risk is that the buildings languish in the meantime,' Reicher says, with residents living in substandard conditions. The city has low-cost loan programs meant to provide capital for repairs to co-ops and other multifamily buildings, but buildings need to have a plan to resolve municipal debt as a condition of obtaining those loans." Read More.

City Pushes to Regulate Low-Income Coops Amid Some Shareholders’ Opposition

City Limits - February 24, 2017 - "Samantha Kattan, [UHAB's Assistant Director of Organizing, Policy, and Research] recognizes the amount of labor and resources invested by shareholders in the past and the need for HPD to amp up its support to HDFCs going forward. But she says it's not wise for buildings to rely on the random event of an apartment sale for revenue. Instead, HDFCs can take advantage of HPD's new Green Preservation Loan program, among other available benefits." Read More

Backers of Community Land Trusts Seek to Broaden Support

City Limits - February 7, 2017 - "In general, while there is excitement for the RFEI, activists are wary of the fact that HPD has not made any promises to actually respond to the proposals received. At the panel event, UHAB’s Melanie Berkowitz said HPD ought to disclose the results of the RFEI in a report so the public can be witness to the level of support for community land trusts." Read More.

Why 2017 Could be Make-or-Break for New York's Affordable HDFC Co-ops

Brick Underground - January 12, 2017 - "'Instead of giving help and guidelines, this proposal is taking the viewpoint that there have been all these problems in these buildings, and we're going to sort of police them,' says UHAB's Andy Reicher. 'And that's where the tone is wrong. These people have taken on the city's worst housing, and have been improving and running their buildings under difficult circumstances and providing affordable housing. They ought to be recognized, and the regulatory agreement ought to be there to make things easier for them.'" Read More.

Heroic Board Member Helps Rescue Distressed Bronx Co-op

HABITAT - October 27, 2016 - “’This is not a formalized process with a form you can download from the internet,’ says [Samantha] Kattan [Assistant Director of Organizing & Policy at UHAB]. ‘This is something we had to work out with HPD. To achieve tax forgiveness involves so many hurdles that nobody had even tried it since 2001.’” Read More.

The Last Battle for Brooklyn, America's Most Unaffordable Place to Buy a Home

The Guardian - October 3, 2016 - “The CHTU approach is straightforward. ‘We have to disrupt the landlords’ business model by helping tenants remain in their apartments,’ Girón says. There are two keys: building community, then educating tenants about their rights and how to enforce them.” Read More.

Here's Why a Fight Is Brewing Over 30,000 Affordable Co-ops in NYC

DNAinfo - September 27, 2016 - When re-selling affordable co-ops, it’s “‘bad policy’ for HDFCs to rely on flip taxes for [building] upkeep. ‘You [would] have to make sure someone moves every year,’" according to UHAB’s Andy Reicher. Read More.
 

Why are rich kids able to buy affordable HDFC apartments?

Brick Underground - September 27, 2016 - "While some HDFC buildings are subject to flip taxes to discourage re-selling 'affordable' apartments at a high price, housing advocates are now also looking into the possibility of sales price caps to ensure that the co-ops stay within reach for low-income buyers. 'We've been talking for years about regulating sales prices, because this is an issue,' says Samantha Kattan, UHAB's assistant director of organizing, policy, and research." Read More

Photos: Crown Heights Tenants Union Protests Landlord Abuse

Gothamist - August 14, 2016 - "'Crown Heights is basically Ground Zero for gentrification,' Donna Mossman of the Crown Heights Tenant Union told Gothamist. The Tenants Union was founded in 2014, after Mossman and other neighborhood residents decided to mobilize against harassment by their management company, BCB Property Management, which Mossman said was trying to illegally drive rent-stabilized tenants from the building." Read More.

Squatters of the Lower East Side

Jacobin - April 2014 - " In the final days of the Giuliani administration...[it] was determined that the titles for the remaining eleven squats would transfer to UHAB; UHAB, in turn, would oversee the conversion of those buildings into low-income, limited-equity co-ops. And so the squatters would get to remain in their homes, becoming homeowners in the eyes of the law." Read More.

Measuring the Impact of Airbnb Rentals on New York City’s Housing Crisis

Skift - Jun 28, 2016 - "'As Crown Heights gentrifies, the long-term tenants we work with suffer from increased speculation and harassment to leave their homes,' said Kerri White, director of Organizing and Policy at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and Crown Heights Tenant Union, about the report." Read More.

Crown Heights Tenants Sue Landlords Over Unbearable Conditions

 
New York Daily News - June 7, 2016 - "Residents of a Crown Heights apartment building are calling for a judge to put a stop to almost two years of unbearable living conditions, according to a new lawsuit," with the help of The Crown Heights Tenant Union, co-founded and guided by UHAB. Read More.

UHAB's Organizing & Policy Assistant Director Named one of Top 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture

Brooklyn Magazine - March 1, 2016 - "#74, Cea Weaver. Servig UHAB for five years and counting, Weaver is a pivotal voice and organizer within the housing rights movement in Brooklyn and NYC." Read More.

Future of 32,000 Affordable Housing Co-ops Hangs in the Balance

DNA info - February 8, 2016 - UHAB Executive Director Andy Reicher describes the efforts of the Task Force on HDFCs (formerly the Task Force on City-Owned Property) to preserve affordable homeownership opportunities in New York City. Read more.

Tenants in East Harlem, Without Cooking Gas Since Summer, Protest Landlord 

NY1 News - December 10, 2015 - "Tenants of an East Harlem building are rising up against their landlord, after complaining for months about poor living conditions." Read More. 

New York City Council Proposes Ending Property Taxes for Low-Income Co-ops
 

Wall Street Journal - November 29, 2015 - "Andy Reicher, executive director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, which works with low-income co-ops, said the cost of a full tax abatement for the preservation of a co-op apartment would be a fraction of the cost to create an affordable unit under the 421-a tax-abatement program for developers." Read More
 

Participate in Research to Support the Cooperative Housing Secret 

Cooperative Housing Bulletin - Fall, 2015 - "Since January 2015, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) has been working to compile a database of every shared-equity and limited-equity housing cooperative in the United States."
Read more on p.12.
 

New Legislation Tries to Protect Tenants From Landlords Who Use Renovation to Drive them Out

The Gothamist - September 30, 2015 - "The City Council will today introduce a package of 12 bills aimed at increasing protections for tenants who feel the Department of Buildings does not adequately monitor landlords who carry out unpleasant and often dangerous, building renovations." Read more.

 

City Nearly Doubles Budget for Lawyers Who Help NYers Fight Evictions 

Mayor de Blasio today announced that he will nearly double his spending on legal assistance for tenants facing eviction, with an emphasis on New Yorkers living in the city's 15 most rapidly-gentrifying neighborhoods—Crown Heights, Bushwick, and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn; Jamaica in Queens; and Tremont in the Bronx, among others.
Read more.

Strengthening and Expanding Affordable Co-ops

WOL-AM 1450 Radio - July 30, 2015 - Former National Association of Housing Cooperatives president Vernon Oakes interviewed UHAB's executive director Andy Reicher and researcher Alex Roesch on UHAB initiatives, including building capacity to serve and grow the affordable housing co-op community across the country. Listen

Worst Landlords in New York  City

PIX11 TV - August 18, 2015 - Kerri White, UHAB's director of Organizing & Policy, and a tenant discuss horrific conditions in low-income rental buildings and what can be done to fight predatory landlords. Watch the news clip.

Do Low-Income Co-ops Make Sense?

The Observer - July 28, 2015 - "Andy Reicher, the executive director of the Urban Homestead Assistance Board, or UHAB, told the Observer that the lack of regulation for these buildings can contribute to their ultimate failure. To combat this, UHAB advocates for city regulatory agreements for these buildings, in which low-income requirements for annual elections, insurance, and other rules are clearly defined, and a third party monitor is set up." Read More.

Umbrella House: East Village Co-op Run by Former Squatters

The New York Times - July 17, 2015 - “In 2002, the City of New York gave possession of Umbrella House to the Urban Homesteaders Assistance Board, a nonprofit organization that served as a transitional owner.  Umbrella House members became shareholders, receiving the deed to the building in 2010 after performing required repairs.” Read more.

How to Dump Tentants and Make a Fortune

The Nation - July 6, 2015 - But a slump of money- no matter the amount - has limitations. "If you've never seen $20,000 before, it seems like a lot," says Celia Weaver, assistant director of organizing and policy at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB). "But your rent is never going to be lower than it is right now. Unless you're leaving the city or buying into some form of affordable housing, a buyout is never going to be a good idea." Read more. 

As deadline ticks away, 2 million left wondering what happens to their rent.

PIX 11 News - June 12, 2015 - UHAB was mentioned as THE organization to call if you are nervous about losing your apartment and go to for help. Creese and West have worked with Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and other advocacy groups to help keep their rents affordable, for now. And time is very short. Rent regulation laws expire Monday. The fact that Creese's, Ward's and two million more New York resident's rent status could change unless the state legislature acts immediately, left the city's pulblic advocate feeling the same way as many tenants, she said. Read more. 

These Crown Heights Residents Saw Their Rents DOUBLE Last Fall

Gothamist - May 22, 2015 - Kerri White, director of organizing and policy for the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), helped organize yesterday's rally. This is how she interprets the sudden instatement of legal rents: "Preferential rents allow landlords to essentially put money in the piggy bank while they wait for gentrification to hit. These landlords know that even if they can't charge $2,200 for an apartment right now," as soon as a neighborhood like Crown Heights starts to gentrify, "they can turn on a dime and clear out the lower and moderate income people." Once the long-time tenants are out of the way, the units can be filled with tenants who can afford legal rent. Read more. 

Yes, It’s Illegal for Landlords to Discriminate. And Yes, They Still Do It.

New York Magazine – May 13, 2015 - Every black person has a price,” said Ephraim, the pseudonymous Brooklyn landlord I interviewed for my book The Edge Becomes the Center. Ephraim detailed how he buys deeds off black homeowners in neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy, buys out the tenants, and then rents their units to white people who can pay more. To get a better sense of the prevalence of landlords like Ephraim — and how tenants try to fight back — I spoke with Celia Weaver, the assistant director of organizing and policy at Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a New York–based nonprofit that helps low-income homeowners and renters. Read more. 

De Blasio Pushes For New Rent Stabilization Protections

Gothamist, May 5, 2015 - Kerri White, the organizing and policy director for the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board told us this morning that even though the rent laws still have many loopholes that need to be addressed, "We are grateful that for the first time ever we have the Mayor of New York City standing with us." She added, "The strides the Mayor is calling for are just the first step in the change we need." Read more.

1700-Apartment Portfolio in New York City to Be Sold

Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2015 - As of mid-April, more than 2,100 open violations remained across the portfolio, according to Kerri White, director of organizing and polity at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, which helps tenants organize, based on a review of public records. She based her figures on a review of public records. Read more.

Bargains With a ‘But’: Affordable New York Apartments With a Catch

The New York Times - June 27, 2014 - "Even though many income-restricted apartments are still below market rate, Mr. Reicher of UHAB said, 'you do see prices that are much higher than what you would think of as affordable housing.,' he said. 'We don’t think that’s in keeping with the purpose and intent of H.D.F.C.’s.'” Read More.

The Truly Affordable New York Apartment

The New York Times, January 31, 2014 - These were the buildings where the front lights were on, the door was locked,” said Andrew Reicher, the executive director of Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, an advocacy group. “They helped spur the redevelopment of neighborhoods, and now that the neighborhoods are gentrifying, they are the only affordable buildings that are left.” Read more.

UHAB Rallies with South Bronx Tenants to Demand Landlord Be Ousted

New York Daily News, Dec 3, 2013  - Tenants fed up with deplorable conditions at 755 Jackson Ave. are calling for owner Stabilis Capital to be removed. Outraged South Bronx residents gathered Tuesday to demand relief from the deplorable squalor they’ve been enduring since a private equity firm took over their building. Read more.

UHAB & Residents Rally for Better Living Conditions

The Queens Courier, June 27, 2013 - Hany Taha is afraid that his ceiling will collapse on him. He has lived in the same apartment for 26 years, but now the ceiling is sinking. Although he has complained about it for seven months, nothing has happened. Read more.

UHAB Joins Call for FEMA to Provide Grants for Co-op Housing Damaged by Sandy

Grit TV, May 14, 2014 - According to New York's Office of Housing Recovery Operations, some 120 co-op buildings, with 13,000 apartments, and 368 condominiums, with 7,000 units, sustained flooding and damage after Hurricane Sandy blew through town. Read more.

UHAB Speaks Out Against Council Candidate's Ties to Developer

Columbia Spectator, May 1, 2013  - Housing advocates criticize Landis for ties to real estate developer. “The complaints from the tenants were that there was fairly large-scale harassment and deferred maintenance,” Kerri White, co-director of organizing and policy of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, said. They have “attempted to convert several of the buildings into market-rate condos, which has obviously had an effect on affordability of the buildings.” Read more.

UHAB Organizers Rally with Southern Blvd. Residents at Housing Court

Hunts Point ExpressApril 17, 2013 - Tenants of one of city's worst buildings say landlord is harassing them. “It would be nice if the court could understand that in cases like this it’s really a systematic issue,” said Kerri White, director of organizing and policy at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. Read more.

Notorious Kelly St. slum renovated by Workforce Housing Advisors

New York Daily News, May 22, 2013 - A sunny yellow hallway, gleaming hardwood floors, new kitchens and bathrooms will greet residents of 935 Kelly St. when they return to their once decrepit apartments. Read more.<

Self-Help Housing: The Story of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

Urban Omnibus, December 19, 2012 -Public policy in the United States has always considered the availability of good-quality housing for lower-income citizens to be linked irrevocably to the broader challenges facing American cities. Read more.

City: 10 Washington Heights apt. buildings 'at risk'

Crain’s New York Business News, Oct 22, 2012  - Officials, politicians and housing advocates are lining up against a private-equity group trying to flip deteriorating properties it bought in foreclosure last year.

City officials flagged 10 apartment buildings in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan as "at-risk properties" in danger of deterioration and falling into further distress. Read more.

Home sweet studio: NYC invites developers to test tiny 300-square-foot apartments on city lot

The Washington Post, July 9, 2012 - Maybe it's the urban dwelling of the future: studio apartments measuring no more than 300 square feet.

New York City planners believe the tiny units could be the answer to a growing population of singles and two-person households. And in a nation that's becoming increasingly populous and increasingly urbanized — and where people more frequently are creating a family of one — such downsizing may not stop here. Read more.

From the New York Times: The Income-Restricted Apartment

The New York Times, May 17, 2012 - WITH the median price of an apartment in Manhattan topping $1,000 a square foot, homeownership is often far out of reach. But there are options for those who cannot afford the market rate, including co-op apartments for buyers who earn a certain percentage of the area median income, or A.M.I. Read more.

Journalists Revisit Deadly DeKalb Fire, Reignite Housing Discussion

Norwood News, April 24, 2012 A decade after an electrical fire at 3569 DeKalb Ave. claimed the life of an 8-year-old Bronx boy, journalists and housing activists are still trying to find answers to the questions posed in the wake of his death–namely, how the city should enforce housing code violations and hold landlords accountable for conditions that put tenants at risk. Read more.

Private equity firms snap up debt on small NYC rental buildings

The Real Deal, Apr 17 2012 - Private equity firms such as Stabilis Capital Management, Madison Realty Capital and Onex Real Estate Partners have been buying debt on small, often severely distressed rental properties in secondary neighborhoods in New York City with little fanfare over the past year. Read more.

Quinn: Landlords must fix the system

Crain's Business News, Feb 9 2012 - In today’s State of the City, Speaker of the City Council Chris Quinn proposed changing New York City’s housing code to reflect underlying conditions in building condition. Read more.

Stopping Apartments From Making Tenants Sick

Gotham Gazette, Jan 31 2012 - On a cold January day, the wind funnels down Creston Avenue in the Morris Heights neighborhood of South Bronx like a river through a canyon. Buildings seem slightly closer to the street here, and the tall towers loom over the narrow street and sidewalk. A couple of teenage girls walk down the street, laughing and shoving each other. Read more.

For Birthplace of Hip-Hop, New Life

New York Times, Nov 7 2011 - After a long struggle, ownership of a Bronx building known as the birthplace of hip-hop, which had fallen into neglect and foreclosure, was taken over on Monday by a group that specializes in preserving working-class housing.
Read more.

How the South Bronx’s Ruins Became Fertile Ground

New York Times, Jul 27 2011 - This week in my Gotham column I wrote of the resurrection of the South Bronx, a brilliant coming back to life that owes much to the multidecade efforts of government. Read more.

Tenants Turn to Lenders to Repair Buildings

The Wall Street Journal, Apr 25 2011 - Housing advocacy groups and the Bloomberg administration are asking bank regulators for help in fixing up deteriorating apartment buildings. Advocates say that hundreds of buildings in New York City are falling into disrepair because their owners took on too much debt to buy them in the boom years leading up to the recession. Read more.