Mid-June, 2022 News & Update

It’s been a while since we’ve communicated with our members and friends but rest assured we’ve been busy fighting to keep tenants in their homes and working on improving the laws and regulations governing housing law in Westchester and throughout New York State.

New York State Legislative Session

The New York State Legislature ended this year’s session on Friday June 3rd.  The two (2) main issues we were working on in coalition with other groups both failed to pass this year:

1) Good Cause Eviction
2) Right to Counsel

While this failure is hurtful for tenants, great strides were made nonetheless and we’re quite hopeful going into next year.  Despite not getting our main bills passed, we did see both the State Assembly and Senate pass the Tenant Dignity and Safe Housing Act (A00354B/S04594B.)  We’re currently pushing Governor Hochul to sign the bill into law.

We’re enclosing a copy (2-sided) of a statement from the Right to Counsel NYC Coalition regarding the legislative session.  MVUT will continue educating  and organizing our members, especially in reference to Right to Counsel!

Tenant Rights

We are in the process of scheduling two (2) “Tenants Rights’ Workshops” in Mt. Vernon – one (1) in English and one (1) in Spanish.  We should have a flyer in the next mailing.  On Thursday June 16, Dennis will be making a presentation on “Tenants’ Rights” at Hope Community Center in New Rochelle (see flyer on reverse side of WRGB notice.)

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP )

Our ERAP   processing continues at full speed. Our expert on the subject, Andrew Aguilar, has completed over two hundred and fifty (250+) ERAP applications.  We’ve referred over three hundred (300+) tenants to the ERAP site for specific assistance.  The great, great majority of the tenants we’ve assisted have been able to remain in their apartments!  Yessss!!!

Westchester Rent Guidelines Board (WRGB)

By the time you receive this, the first two (2) WRGB Public Hearings will most likely have concluded.  The third and final Public Hearing is scheduled for Mt. Vernon City Hall on Tuesday, June 21, at 7:30pm.  We’re enclosing a notice for that Public Hearing and two (2) subsequent meetings (Presentation and Rebuttal and Vote meetings) both at 7:00pm in New Rochelle City Hall.

Please try to come to the Mt. Vernon Public Hearing and let the WRGB know that tenants cannot afford any rent increases at this time.  If anything, tenants deserve a rollback!  Tell your neighbors to come as well!

$ for MVUT

We’re enclosing a fund-raising piece describing MVUT’s programs and a self-addressed envelope.  Please make as large a donation as possible to guarantee that MVUT can continue to fight for you and all tenants!

____Yes, you have my support.  Enclosed find my donation of

_____$25     ____$50      ____$100       _____$200       _____$250       _____other

Name: ___________________________________________________________

Address: __________________________________________________________

Telephone/Email: ___________________________________________________

Mailing Attachments:

Attachment #1 – Housing Rights Workshop, WRGB, Right to Counsel Campaign (PDF)

Attachment #2  – Support MVUT (PDF)

 

$$ for MVUT — Please Support Our Vital Work in 2022!!

Mt. Vernon United Tenants, lnc..
Mail: P. O, Box 2107, Mt. Vemon, N. Y. 10551
Office: 2 Gramatan Avenue – Suite 304 – Mt. Vemon, N. Y. 10551
Phone (914) 699-1114 ~ Fax (914) 699-7449
Email: mvut@erols.com-Website: www.mvut.org


$
FOR M.V.U.T

THE HOT DAYS OF SUMMER ARE HERE AND THE PANDEMIC
WE’VE
ALL BEEN LIVING THROUGH IS SEEMINGLY
COMING TO AN END – HOORAY!
STILL —
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

 

MVUT has been busy delivering for you and all tenants:

ERAP – MVUT  is assisting tenants in filing applications for rent arrears under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program if they’ve either lost income or had additional expenses as a result of Covid-19. Weve processed over fifty (50+) applications, uploaded documents for dozens of others, and referred over one hundred (100+) to the ERAP website – nysrenthelp@otda.ny.gov or telephone 1-844-691-7368

CODE ENFORCEMENT–  MVUT has always pushed the City of Mt. Vernon to strengthen its code enforcement process to protect tenants’ apartments. Our. advocacy has borne fruit as the City has hired three (3) more code enforcement inspectors, and will be hiring two (2) more! YES!!

HISPANIC OUTREACH – Through a grant with the City, we’ve been able to hire a Spanish-speaking tenant organizer, Andrew Aguilar, to help MVUT provide its services to the Spanish-speaking tenants who have been regularly abused by the system!

WESTCHESTER RENT GUIDELINES BOARD (WRGB) – The WRGB passed new rent adjustments for leases beginning between 10/1/21- 09/30/22. They are .5% for one (1) year renewals, and one 1% for two (2) year renewals. Thanks to WRGB Tenant Member and MVUT member Tamara Stewart for her strong advocacy on the Board and to the many MVUT members who testified at the Public Hearings!

SCRIE/DRIE – MVUT continues to help tenants who live in rent-regulated buildings to apply for both the Senior and Disabled Rent Increase Exemption Programs whereby their rents can be frozen.

BUILDING ORGANIZING  – With the pandemic starting to wane, more buildings are willing to have meetings and address their issues. MVUT has recently been meeting with tenant associations in Mt. Vernon and Yonkers INDIVIDUAL COUNSELINGIADVOCACY –MVUT continues to provide intensive case management for tenants facing eviction, trying to restore services, fighting rent increases/overcharges and other landlord harassment. We assist dozens weekly.

POLICY ADVOCACY – In addition to the above items, MVUT has played a leading or supporting roll in many coalition efforts on housing and economic justice issues, e.g. the Westchester “Right to Counsel” Coalition; the campaign for non-discrimination protection in renting, regarding Source Of Income(Sol); the statewide Housing Justice for All (HJ4A)Coalition; the Westchester Eviction Prevention Network (WEPN);etc.

Support MVUT!!!  Yes, I agree MVUT is doing great work for tenants.  I want to help them do even more! Enclosed find my contribution of:

_____$25     ____$50      ____$100       _____$200       _____$250       _____other

Name: ___________________________________________________________

 

Address: __________________________________________________________

 

Telephone/Email: __________________________________________________________

 

Please make checks payable to MVUT and mail to MVUT at:

P.O. Box 2107, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551
or bring to the office at 2 Gramatan Ave. Suite 304.

Thank you!

Mid-March 2022 News and Updates

Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

MVUT continues to assist tenants who have fallen behind in rent due to either a loss of income, or an increase in expenses due to Covid-19. As of this writing we’ve helped submit over 250 ERAP applications and assisted in another nearly 200 cases with uploading various documents in their ERAP applications. Despite news to the contrary, we’re still processing ERAP applications.  lf you know of tenants who you think may be eligible for ERAP assistance, have them call Andrew Aguilar at (914) 699-1114 Extension 304.

Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP)

Great news from the State legislature as both the Senate and the Assembly increased funding for the NPP in their respective “one house” bills, from $12.8 million to $14.5 million! The NPP is MVUTs largest funding source and provides us with a large portion of our operative expenses.  We’d ask that our members and friends call their respective Senator and Assemblymember and thank them for their support for increased funding for the NPP, and for their continued support in negotiations with the governor in the final bill. To find further information and notify your Senator and Assemblymember you can go to the Neiehborhood Preservation Coalition’s (NPC) website at NPCNYS.ORG/advocacv/contact-your-legislator   For Mt Vernon tenants your State legislators are Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (914) 667-0127 and Senator Jamaal Bowman (718) 547-8854. CALL TODAY !

Ending of Pandemic

We’re hopeful that the Covid-19 pandemic may be winding down. The pandemic seriously impacted our programs at MVUT. Prior to the pandemic, MVUT would host monthly General Membership meetings in our office at 7:0opm on the first Tuesday of each month.  At those monthly membership meetings we’d go over problems that individual tenants were experiencing, building-wide issues affecting tenants, policy issues MVUT is dealing with and announcements of upcoming events regarding housing and issues impacting low-to moderate income residents. We’d like to try to re-start our monthly general Membership Meetings on April 5. We’ll sending an announcement specifically regarding this meeting, but please mark your calendars and try to attend. Depending upon attendance and participation, we’ll decide whether to continue “in-person” meetings at this time.

Another issue that the pandemic severely impacted and limited was our building organizing. “Organizing the Unorganized” has always been a hallmark of our program delivery services. We’ve always felt that an
organized and educated tenancy is the best defense against landlord abuse and official neglect. It’s of paramount importance for all tenants to know their rights, how to utilize them and what steps to take to satisfy their objectives.  Through our building organizing, we assist tenants within buildings to learn their rights and form effective Building Associations to improve their conditions, lessen landlord harassment and possibly reduce their rent. Similar to the General Membership meetings in our office, tenants for the most part have not wanted to meet, even within buildings, during the pandemic. We’re hopeful that as we start to leave the pandemic behind, that we can get back to scheduling Building organizing meetings to address some of the growing needs that tenants are facing.  Please call the office at (914) 699-1 114 if you’d like to schedule a meeting in your building.

Right to Counsel (RTC)

MVUT has been working on getting a “Right To Counsel” bill on both the county and state levels. We encourage our members and friends to support both campaigns by calling your respective county and state legislators and lobbying them to support the respective bills.  Under the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) piece above, we provide contact information about the state legislators. On the county level Mt. Vernon Tenants should call Tyrae Woodson-Samuels (914) 995-2837.  For others, you should call the League of Women Voters (914) 949-0507 to find out who your County Legislator is. On the State level MVUT has helped secure co-sponsorship by virtually all of the Westchester Legislative Delegation on the statewide Right to Counsel bill (S6678A/A7570B). We’re enclosing a one-page Fact Sheet of ‘The potential benefits and estimated cost of an eviction Right to Counsel outside of New York City.” Feel free to copy this Fact Sheet and get it to others in your building, or if your need more call the MVUT office at (914 )699-1114.

On the reverse side of the “Right to Counsel” Fact Sheet we’ve copied a February 22,2022 Journal News Article ‘Rents in U.S. Reach Insane Levels.”‘ We certainly agree!!!

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Please support MVUT with a generous contribution at this time. Thank you.

I appreciate all of the valuable work MVUT is doing for tenants!!  I’m enclosing my donation of $25 / $50 / $100 / $200 / Other

Name:
Address:
Telephone:

Email:

Mail to: Mt. Vernon United Tenants, P.O.Box 2107, Mt. Vernon, NY 10551

SUPPORT TENANTS’ RIGHTS!
SUPPORT AFFORDABLE HOUSING I !
SUPPORT MVUT!!!

Download MVUT Mid March 2022 Mailing (PDF)