MVUT News and Update – January 2023

Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP)

Our HPIP continues to fight and stop evictions in Mt. Vernon and throughout Westchester County. We have been providing services via the Emergency Rental Assistance Proqram (ERAP) for the last couple of years. The ERAP was for families and individuals who had either lost income or had additional expenses as a result of Covid-19. The ERAP ended January 20,2023 and we will no longer be able to secure thert funding for tenants who had fallen into arrears as a result of Covid-19. We will continue to provide case management assistance for any tenants who are facing eviction. Please let tenants in your building know of the ending of ERAP and MVUT’s continuing efforts to fight all evictions (see below on the Winter Eviction Moratorium.)

Tenant Action Project (TAP)

Our TAP is our building organizing component – where we assist tenants in forming effectivra tenants’ associations within their building to improve services, fight landlord harassment, negotiate more affordable rents and to become more able to represent theiir buildings” interest.  We’ve recently become involved in two (2) new and exciting building organizing campaigns: 122 North Third Avenue and 60 West First Street.

We’ll update you on the issues in these buildings and also regarding the ongoing organizing campaigns in a number of other buildlngs that we’ve reported on. The message is always clear: GET ORGANIZED!!!

ALBANY LOBBYING

MVUT is involved with couple of distinct campaigns with the New York State Legislature. First, MVUT is organizing a bus trip to Albany on Monday February 13 for the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition’s “Annual Affordable Housing Lobby Day.”  The New York State Neighborhood Preservation Proqram (NYS-NPP) is MVUT’s largest single source of funding. MVUT is one of approximately one hundred forty (140) l-lousing Groups throughout New York State to get funds under the NYS-NPP to provide”Housing Preservation” activities within an economically distressed nelighborhood. For MVUT, the neighborhood is the south side of Mt. Vernon and our program activity falls under “Tenant Assistance.” Some Housing groups build housing, some rehabilitate housing, and some manage housing.

The various housing groups have been receiving annual grants of just over $90,000.00 for the last number of years.  That amount has been lessened in value over the years as a result of inflation. Our campaign this year is to raise each of the groups’ funding to $125,000.00.  We believe this raise is both warranted and necessary.  Virtually all politicians are finally talking about affirrdable housing. This is an opportunity for them to “put their money where their mouth is.” We’re enclosing a flyer for the February 13 bus trip.  If you or someone you know can join us, please fill out the reverse side and mail it back to MVUT.

In addition, we are working with a couple of New York City housing coalitions: Housing Justice for All — HJ4A; Housing Court Must Change – HCMC) on a few biils that coutd dramatically improve tenants’ lives.  Some of the Bills are:

Statewide Right to Counsel:

Senate sponsor Rachel May
Assembly sponsor LaToya Joyner

Winter Eviction Moratorium:

Senate sponsor Zellnor Myrie
Assembly sponsor Anna Kelles

Good Cause Eviction:

Senate sponsor Julia Salazar
Assembly sponsor Pam Hunter

As we go to print, the bills do not yet have bill numbers. We will forward them in a subsequent mailing. We’ll also let our members and friends know of activities that they can support as the legislative session continues.

Tenants’ Rights Workshop – Sunday, January 29, 2023

We’re enclosing a flyer for a Tenants Legal Rights free workshop at the Riverfront Library in Yonkers which MVUT is co-sponsoring along with the New York City Right to Counsel Coalition and the Lower Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists fof America.

There will be loads of valuable information for everyone. We strongly encourage MVUT members and friends to come to this event.

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

Download January Mailing (PDF)

Download 2-13-23 Affordable Housing Lobby Day Flyer

News and Update – November 2022

Annyal MVUT General Membership Meeting
Tuesday, November 29 @ 7:00 PM
MVUT Office, 2 Gramatan Avenue – Suite 304

It’s been a while since we’ve mailed to everyone, but it’s not because of a lack of activity on our part. Things in fact have been quite busy on various fronts.

Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP)

Our HPP has been working overtime to keep people in their homes and out of the costly emergency shelter system. We continue to fight eviction cases and we are still processing loads of Emergency Rental Assistance Proqram (ERAP) applications. In the last few months we’ve stopped over 35 evictions; processed over 70 ERAP applications and worked with the City of Mt. Vernon processing potential recipients in the City’s “Level Up” Program, whereby some lucky families will be receiving $6,000.00 over a year to help them really stabilize their housing. This had a short window to propose potential recipients, who will ultimately be drawn via a lottery. MVUT assisted in processing 18 potential recipients.

Tenant Action Project (TAP)

This is our building organization campaign. For the last few years as a result of the pandemic, there had been very little building organizing as tenants, as most everyone, were reluctant to participate in meetings with others. This put a realstop in MVUT holding tenant building organizing meetings. Things are starting to open up a bit and we’re beginning olrganizing campaigns or following up with already established tenant associations in the following buildings:

– 229 So.7th Avenue – 150 So. Fifth Avenue – 138 So. Fifth Avenue – 21 West Sanford Blvd – 20 East Third St.

– The Plaza Buildings (40 E. Sidney Avenue, 30 Park Avenue, 33 North Third Avenue and 111 North Third Avenue)

Tenants’ Rights Workshops

With the City of Mt. Vemon (both the Department of Planninq and and the Department of Buildings) we’ll be organizing Tenants’ Riqhts Workshops in English on Thursday, November 17 at the Doles Center, and in Spanish on Sunday, November 20 after mass at St. Mary’s Church on South Terrace Avenue (see two (2) sided flyer)  Mark your calendars now!

Statewide Right to Counsel (RTC)

A few of us will drive to Albany on Monday, November 21 for the “Statewide Kickoff” of the 2023 eampaign to pass a “Right to Counsel” Bill (see enclosed flyer). lf you’d like to join us, call MVUT at (914) 699-1114

Furniture Sharehouse

During the pandemic, Fumiture Sharehouse eliminated client visits to the Sharehouse so that tenants could not directly pick out their own furniture. They were able to view things remotely, but it was not the same as the actual shopping experience that so many of MVUT’s members had become accustomed to. Great News!! Fumiture Sharehouse has re-established direct personal client visits! Yeah!! MVUT has just recently brought three (3) separate clients to the Sharehouse and we’re looking forward to bringing many more in the upcoming months. lf you or someone you know needs good quali$, gently used fumiture, please callthe MVUT office. While the furniture is free there a couple of costs involved. lnterested parties have to pay MVUT a $25 referral fee as we are charged that by the Furniture Sharehouse. We drive the client up to the Furniture Sharehouse at the Westchester County Airport where a Furniture Sharehousq volunteer assists the client in selecting the furniture.

For the delivery of the furniture from the Sharehouse, there are three options:

lf the client has their own truck or access to a truck, they wouldljust bring it to the Sharehouse on the date of their visit. Most tenants do not have a truck, nor access to a tnuck. They would then have two option:

1.) Pay $75 for “curbside delivery” at their home Orr
2.) Pay $150 for “Full Delivery’where the drivers from Furniture Sharehouse bring the fumiture direclly into the client’s apartment

To get furniture from the Fumiture Sharehouse you must go through a “member organization’such as MVUT. lf you’re interested call MVUT at (914) 699-1114

MVUT Annual Meeting

MVUT normally holds its Annual Meeting on the first Tuesday of October. However that date conflicted with the annual conference for the Neishborhood Preservation Program (NPP) which is MVUT’s biggest funding source. Further, Dennis developed Covid-19 the first week of October and had been out of the office for a couple of weeks. Accordingly we’ll be holding the Annual Meeting on Tuesday November 29 (see copy of flyer).   Feel free to copy and encourage tenants in your building to attend. We’re doing a lot for tenants, we will do even more!

To help us to do even more, your financial contribution is essential. Please make a generous donation now!

Yes, I want to help MVUT BECOME EVEN STRONGER.

Enclosed find my contribution of ___$25  ___$50  ___$100  ___$200  ___other

Name:

Address:

Telephone:

E-Mail:

Mail: P. O. Box 2107 – Office: 2 Gramdan Avenue – Suile 3O4 – Mt. Vemon, N- Y. 10551
Phone (914) 699-1114 – Fax (914) 699-7149
Email: mvut [at] erols.com   Website:  www.MVUT.org

Download Full November Mailing – PDF (6 Pages)

Download News and Update – PDF (2 Pages)

Download 11-17-22 Tenants Rights Workshop Flyer (English and Spanish) – 2 Pages

Download MVUT Annual Meeting Flyer (1 Page)

Download 11-21-22 Right To Counsel Rally Flyer (1 page)

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)