News and Update – Late Sept. 2023

MVUT Annual Meeting

Next Tuesday October 3, 2023 MVUT will hold its Annual Meeting (see enclosed flyer.) At the Annual Meeting we’ll elect three (3) members to our Board of Directors. MVUT has a nine (9) member board and three (3) are elected each year to serve three (3) year terms. In addition to the election of Board members, we’ll review MVUT‘s efforts of the past year and begin to plan our campaigns for the upcoming year.

Right to Counsel

As referred to above, the major public policy campaign that MVUT will be working on is “Right to Counsel.” MVUT has been involved with other housing and human rights organizations, both Countywide and Statewide in working on this issue over the past year. We’re enclosing a two(2) sided flyer “Statewide Right to Counsel (A1493/S2721): A Campaign to Guarantee Right to Counsel to Every Tenant in New York State” which explains the issue.  Part of the campaign is getting various municipalities to pass resolutions calling on the State Government to pass the bill. The Yonkers City Council is expected to pass such a resolution within the next few weeks.

Dennis has broached the issue to the Mt. Vernon City Council of having them pass such a resolution. He’ll be testifying again on September 27, and we’ll be asking our members and friends to come out to the Wednesday October 11 City Council Meeting in support of the Mt. Vernon City Council’s passing such a resolution. The City Council meets at 7:00pm on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month and if you want to testify at the Council Meeting you have to call the City Clerk at (914) 665-2352 by 3:00pm of the day of the meeting and give the City Clerk your name, address and the topic you will be speaking on.

To get more involved in the campaign, call the office. Tenants facing a court eviction are at an extreme disadvantage. “Right to Counsel” would begin to “level the playing field.” for tenants who often get evicted when they may have had legitimate defenses and did not know of them or did not know how to properly assert them. Help tenants fight back! Pass “Right to Counsel”!!   More info is available at:

Building News

122 North Third Avenue

The tenant association has been moving along well here. Part of the reason for their success has been the strong leadership of the acting Chairpersom Angela Brunson. However as sometimes happens in tenant organizing a leader moves. This is what’s happening here. Ms. Brunson is moving down south and will be leaving 122 North Third Avenue shortly. Fortunately, Ms. Brunson had some able assistants and Jackie Harmon is ready to step into the leadership role created by Ms Brunson’s vacature. Best of Luck to Ms. Brunson in her new home and to Ms. Harmon. Just let us know what MVUT can do for the tenants association at 122 North Third Avenue going forward.

Macedonia Towers (150 South Fifth Avenue)

On Thursday July 27 the tenants and MVUT organized a major meeting in the building.

Representatives from the Department of Buildings, the Planning Department, the Mayor’s Office, County Legislator Tyrae Woodson-Samuels, staff and the building’s management reviewed many of the tenants’ concerns, and began to schedule inspections of the various tenants’ apartments. There was a strong spirit of cooperation among most of the participants. The leading tenant organizers were Shawna Holmes and Priscilla Edmunds. They had been working with Dennis to get the various officials to attend. The Tenant Association is following up on the individual apartment complaints.

For those who don’t know her, Priscilla Edmunds was instrumental in the planning for this meeting. At the time of the planning and the meeting she was weeks away from her 100th birthday!!! She turned 100 on Monday September 4, and on Saturday September 2 the members of Macedonia Baptist Church threw a birthday party for Priscilla with over a hundred (100+) guests! It was a great event with Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and former Mayor Ernie Davis — each praising Priscilla’s long and distinguished service. Dennis served as Emcee of the event. And then on her birthday on Monday they had her magnified picture on the electronic scoreboard at Mt. Vernon’s newly rehabilitated Memorial Field. (See on reverse side of Annual Meeting Notice!) All-in-all a well deserved recognition. HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY PRISCILLA!!!

Housing is A Human Right!

We’ve included an article by Sasha Abramson, “Other Countries Know Housing is a Human Right. Why Doesn’t America?” about the different responses to housing and homelessness between Europeail cities and American west coast cities.

Support Tenants’ Rights!

Support Affordable Housing! !

Support MVUT ! !






At our Annual Meeting, we will be electing three (3) members to our Board ofDirectors. MVUT has a nine (9) member Board and three (3) seats come for election every year. Members serve a three (3) year term. All paid members of MVUT are eligible to vote.

If you are interested in serving on our Board give Dennis Hanratty, the Executive Director a call at (914) 699-1114, ext. 303.

We will review lots of exciting news:

  • Eviction Prevention successes
  • Building Organizing news
  • Updates on Policy Campaigns

And begin making plans for the upcoming yearts Campaigns.

Come to the Annual Meeting! Get involved in one (1) or more of the important issues/campaigns listed above! Help us win more victories and become even stronger! Help us raise funds to improve even more!!!

Refreshments served afterwards.

Please call 699-1114, ext. 303 for further information


Yes, I want to help MVUT win even more victories.  I’m enclosing my  contribution of $ 20 for my basic annual membership.  I want to do even more, enclosed is my contribution of:

$ 25,$ 50,$ 100, $ 200 or Other





Download PDFs:

MVUT Late Sept 2023 News and Update (Download PDF)

Statewide Right to Counsel Campaign (Download PDF)

Housing is a Human Right (Download PDF)

News and Update Early July 2023

Westchester Rent Control Guidelines Board (WRBG)

Good News!!! The WRGB met last week to pass the rent adjustment for next year (for leases that begin between 10/1/23-9/30/24.) The guidelines for Westchester Rent-Stabilized Tenants are 1% increase for a one (1) year renewal, or 2% for a two (2) year renewal. This was despite the landlords’ requesting guideline increases of 6% and 10%! After the full WRGB passed the 1% and 2% guidelines the two (2) landlord representatives got up and walked out of the meeting in protest! Did you say “Isn’t that like a little kid taking his baseball home to stop the game when he didn’t like the way the game was going?” Yes, the two (2) landlord representatives are adults – go figure!

Special thanks to the two tenant representatives who did such a powerful job for us, MVUT’s own Tamara Stewart, and Sylvia Hamer of New Rochelle. Their compelling presentations were invaluable to the public members. Likewise Genevieve Roche of MVUT destroyed much of the landlords’ arguments in her presentation and analysis of their claims. Thanks to all three (3) ladies!

Right to Counsel

MVUT has played a leading role in the effort to get “Right to Counsel” protection for tenants here in Westchester for years! We’re starting to see favorable results:

On May 15 the Westchester County Board of Legislators (W-BOL) unanimously passed an “Access to Counsel” bill which will be phased in over a six (6) month period (see enclosed copy of a May 21, 2023 Sunday Journal News Article “Westchester Aims to Give Tenants Attorneys in Eviction Cases.”

On the state level the “Right to Counsel” bill that we were working on in coalition with others throughout Westchester and New York State did not come up for a vote(nor did a number of other housing bills that we were supporting.) However we’ll be gearing up for a strong campaign for passage next year. Already, the statewide coalition that has been key in this fight, Housing Courts Must Change (HCMC) is developing a plan for next year’s campaign. Dennis participated in an HCMC “Summer 2023 Campaign Retreat” upstate on June 23-25 where thirty-five (35) tenant activists, organizers, attorneys, etc. gathered to begin to focus specifically on passing statewide “Right to Counsel in 2024. We’ll be including info on how you and your building can get involved in this campaign in upcoming mailings. This will be major program effort for MVUT in the upcoming months. Stay Tuned!

Mt. Vernon Comprehensive Plan

The second Comprehensive Plan Public Workshop was held on the same evening as the WRGB vote (June 29) and MVUT was not able to be represented as a result. We’ll follow-up with staff from the Mt. Vernon Department of Planning and Community Development (MV-PCD) and get back to our members and friends in the next mailing.


We need your support! Please give generously. We had included a fundraising notice in our last mailing. Many of you responded. THANK YOU! We’re enclosing another envelope for your convenience for those who have not as yet given.

Support Tenants’ Rights!
Support Affordable Housing!!
Support MVUT ! !

Download PDFs from Mailing:

MVUT Early July Mailing page 1

MVUT Early July Mailing page 2

Westchester Aims to Give Tenants Attorneys in Eviction Cases

News and Update – Early May 2023

Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP)

Our HPP remains our biggest program activity. Day-in, day-out, we’re filing funding applications for tenants facing non- payment petitions. Since the pandemic, many tenants who had lost income during the shutdown (loss of job, reduction in hours, etc.), have not been able to get their income level back to where it was pre-pandemic. MVUT have assisted literally hundreds of tenants in accessing the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds. The ERAP funds could pay up to twelve (12) months’ back rent and additionally three (3) months’ rent going forward, for a maximum of fifteen (15) months. Many tenants however lost more than fifteen (15) months of income as a result of the pandemic. We see numerous tenants who still owe $10,000.00, $15,000.00 and more! Even after they’ve received the maximum ERAP funds! The work in processing Westchester County “Universal” applications for rent arrears assistance is especially time and energy intensive. Karen Heim has been particularly outstanding in working with the tenant clients in applying for and receiving financial assistance to pay their rent arrears. Way to go, Karen! We also continue to utilize various methods, in fighting their evictions. Just recently via Zoor we’ve helped represent tenants in Westchester Human Rights’ Commission and New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (NYS-DHCR) Conferences to maintain their tenancies.

Tenant Action Project (TAP)

A few new building organizing campaigns on the horizon are 159-165 East Third St., 256 New Main St. in Yonkers and Greater Centennial Homes. We’ll be doing some city-wide flyering of the enclosed fund-raising flyer: “Attention Mt. Vernon Tenants” and we’d expect that we’ll get requests for organizing assistance from that. We’ll keep you posted. As part of our TAP we helped organize a “Rally and Court Watch” in Yonkers on March 24. We’re enclosing a copy of a 3/31/23 article in the Journal News regarding this.

Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP)

Great News! The New York State Legislature included the increase in the NPP that we have been lobbying for! This is a result of our bus trip to Albany in February and all of the cards and letters that members of MVUT and the other one hundred forty (140) Neighborhood Preservation Companies (NPCs) sent from all over the state throughout the last few months. Congratulations! Our hard work paid off. A personal thanks to all those who participated in the effort, all those who came to Albany with us and those who followed up with cards, letters and E-mails. This proves that when tenants (and other housing activists) fight back, we can win! With this increased funding and if we can get financial help from you, our members and friends, we hopefully will be able to hire an additional staff member. Think of all the great work we already do, and think of how much more we’ll be able to help with an additional staff person. So please fill out the enclosed fund-raising appeal on the reverse side of the Journal News article and donate to MVUT with the largest contribution that you can afford.  Thanks in advance!

State Housing Legislation Bills

While the State budget has finally passed the legislative session will continue into June and there are three key bills affecting tenants which we are supporting:

  • Statewide Right to Counsel(S2721/A1493)
  • Winter Eviction Moratorium (S1403/A4093)
  • Good Cause Eviction (S3082/A4454) *

We’re enclosing a copy of a 5/4/23 LoHud article “Good Cause Eviction Bill cut from New York Budget. What’s Next for Tenants, Landlords?” Please call the two (2) State Legislators representing Mt. Vernon (Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Senator Jamaal Bailey) and the two (2) Housing Committee Chairs, Brian Kavanagh in the State Senate, and Linda Rosenthal in the State Assembly expressing your support for the three (3) bills and also make sure to thank them for their support for increased funding for the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP). If you live outside Mt. Vernon, try to look up your senator and assembly representative or call MVUT and we’ll try to help.  But still reach out to Senator Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Rosenthal

Brian Kavanagh 518-455-2625 or 718-875-1917 Legislative Office Bldg Rm 512 Albany, NY 12247

Gary Pretlow 518-4555-5291 or 914-667-0127 Legislative Office Bldg Rm 845 Albany, NY 12248

Linda Rosenthal 518-455-5802 or 212-873-6368 Legislative Office Bldg Rm 844, Albany, NY 12248

Jamaal Bailey 518-455-2061 or 71-597-8854 Legislative Office Bldg Rm 609 Albany, NY 12247

“Fair Housing Month”

April was “Fair Housing Month” and MVUT participated in a number of events in recognition of “Fair Housing.” “Fair Housing” is a twelve (12) month issue and if people have experienced any form of discrimination or know someone who has experienced discrimination, please call the MVUT office at (914) 699-1114 and we’ll direct them who to call.

Mt. Vernon Comprehensive Plan

Mt. Vernon United Tenants (MVUT) has been on the Advisory Committee for Mt. Vernon’s Comprehensive Plan Committee and has been participating with them the last few months. On April 25 there was a city-wide Public Workshop on the “Comp Plan” at the Mt. Vernon Boys and Girls Club. There are five (5) different subcommittees for the “Comp Plan”. They are:

1) Open Space & Parks
2) Mobility and Transportation
3) Business & Economics
4) Housing
5) Downtown Revitalization

There will be subsequent meetings of the “Comp Plan.” If you or someone you know would like to get involved with the “Comp Plan,” call the Associate Planning Commissioner Katherine Mella at (914) 508-8086.

Support Tenants’ Rights!

Support Affordable Housing! !

Support MVUT!!!*

*Please fill out the enclosed Funding Appeal and return it to MVUT!

Download Early May 2023 News and Update:

MVUT – Early May 2023 Update
Funding Appeal Form and News Clip
LoHud Article on Good Cause Eviction