Early July, 2021 – “News and Update”

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

MVUT continues to assist tenants who have rent arrears due to Covid – loss of income and/or increased expenses. As of this mailing date we’ve submitted 30 applications, helped 16 tenants upload documents for their applications and referred over 70 families/individuals to the ERAP website —nysrenthelp.otda.ny.gov – and/or to the toll-free phone number I-844-691-7368.  We continue to promote the availability throughout town by various means, e.g., distribution of flyers explaining the program (copy enclosed).  If you, or someone you know would like bulk copies for distribution, feel free to copy the enclosed, or contact the MVUT office for copies.

Westchester Plaza Tenant Association

We’re enclosing a 2-sided news article “Mt. Vernon Tenants Challenge State Rent Control Agency” regarding the Association’s continuing battle with the New York State Homes and Communitv Renewal (NYS-HCR).  Also, the Association, under the extremely-gifted leadership of Tamara Stewart had a meeting on Tuesday, June 29, that featured presentations by:

  • Eric Crump – City of Mt. Vernon Planning Department – CMVNY CONNECT App
  • Monica Hughes – City of Mt. Vernon Planning Department  – Financial Navigators program
  • George Assante – Legal Services of Hudson Valley – Eviction Prevention
  • Dennis Hanratty – MVUT- ERAP
  • Tamara Stewart – Westchester Rent Guidelines Board (WRGB)- Tenant Member

Westchester Rent Guidelines Board (WRGB)  

On Monday, June 28, the WRGB passed rent guidelines for next year (Lease renewals beginning October 1, 2o21 – September 30, 2022). Guidelines are .5% for a one (1) year renewal, and 1% for a two (2) year renewal. While we thought 0% and 0% would have been justified, those guidelines .5% and 1% are still a victory for tenants. Special thanks to Tamara Stewart for her great work here. A special “shout-out” also to former WRGB tenant member Genevieve Roche, and long-time MVUT supporter Michael McKee, the Treasurer of Tenants Political Action for their analyses and testimony!

Code Enforcement

We’re entering a whole new – and BETTER, era for code Enforcement in Mt. Vernon. Where MVUT has always lobbied for additional code enforcement officers, our pleas had fallen on deaf ears for years. But now … the City just recently had two code (2) enforcement officers in the Department of Buildings, and they now have five (5) – three {3) new additional hires!  And there will be two (2) more coming on as well!  Imagine that-from two (2) to seven (7)!!  That’s going to be especially good for tenants who are not receiving all of the services that they are supposed to.  Tenants can now reach out to the Department of Buildings, when in the past they were often unlikely to do so – not expecting proper responses for the Department.  In addition, as of July 1, 2021, the City of Mt. Vernon has a new app-CMVNY CONNECT App (see enclosed July 6th Journal News article “App Lets City Residents Report a Variety of Problems“) where tenants can make complaints and trace them through the whole process. This is all really exciting.  We can hopefully stabilize and improve our housing stock and prevent the further deterioration of all tenants’ apartments.  The City is partnering with MVUT and Leeal Services ofthe Hudson Valley (LSHV) to make sure the code enforcement system works, and more effectively protects tenants and holds landlords accountable.  This is one of the most important developments in years for tenants in Mt. Vernon and we should all thank Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard for her leadership on this issue.  Thank You!!!

Additionally the city has just started a new program, the Financial Navigators, to help Mt. Vernon residents who have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic.  Monica Hudson will be leading this office. We’re enclosing a flyer with the contact information (Struggling to Pay Bills).

Tenants’ Rights Workshop

We sponsored a successful Tenants’ Rights and Rent Arrears Workshop with Legal Services of the Hudson Vallev (LSHV) and the City of Mt. Vernon’s Planning Department on Thursday June 24. LSHV attorneys George Asante, Marcie Koback and Dennis covered a wide variety of Tenants’ Rights issues from the Warrantv of Habitability (WHO) Law to the large improvements in the State Tenant Protection Laws – Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, to the campaign for the passage of a “Right to Counsel” Law on both the County and State level.  We also covered ERAP and other resources available to tenants to avoid eviction. while there were only approximately twenty (20) direct attendees, nearly six hundred (600) joined in via Facebookl  Thanks to the Planning Department for technical coordination of the event.

On reverse side of this page see a flyer from CVR NY Westchester Housing Choice Voucher announcing a “waiting list opening.”  This is an opportunity for people to possibly secure a much-needed Section I Voucher.  The application period is brief – 5 days!  You must follow the directions if you want to apply. Good Luck!

Support Tenants Rights !

Support Affordable Housing! !

Support MVUT!!!

Download items from mid-July 2021 MVUT News and Updates mailing (PDF):

MVUTJuly2021

MVUT-JULY2021-B

MVUT-ERAP

Struggling to Pay Bills

 

Leave a Reply