Articles from December 2018

12/17 MONDAY – Tonight!! Please join us for a panel discussion on Tenant’s Rights!

Mid-December 2018 – News & Update

SCRIE/DRIE – Another Victory!!!

On November 28 the Mount Vernon City Council finally increased the SCRIE and DRIE income eligibility standard from $ 40,000 to the state maximum of $ 50,000. This was after a year-long campaign by MVUT pushing for this. This will enable dozens more families and individuals to access the benefits of SCRIE and DRIE, i.e. freezing their rent! We’d like to thank Councilwoman Delia Farquharson for her leadership on this issue.

Westchester Board of Legislators (W-BOL) County Budget

It looks like MVUT is scheduled to receive $ 25,000 in 2019 through the W-BOL. People should thank our County Legislator Lyndon Williams (914) 995-2837 for his efforts in securing these funds. MVUT needs and deserves much more. There is a possibility that additional funds may be available later in 2019 if the State approves Westchester’s appeal to raise the sales tax. Tell Lyndon how important MVUT’s services are to Mt. Vernon tenants and to all tenants throughout Westchester.

Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) Legislative Breakfast

We organized a successful Legislative Breakfast on December 7 at Westhab’s beautiful new building Ludlow Commons. The Westchester state legislative delegation are all supportive of increasing funding for the groups’ NPP funding. We’ll ask our members and friends to write letters to the legislators into the New Year as a follow-up, and we’ll be organizing the Westchester bus to Albany on Wednesday March 6 (mark your calendars!).

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV)

Dennis, Shelley and volunteer Karen Heim all attended LSHV’s “Basic Housing Law and Eviction Prevention for the Community Advocate and for Tenant Associations” on Wednesday December 5 at the Yonkers Riverfront Library and Dennis participated at a meeting at the LSHV White Plains office regarding having all tenants in Housing Court being able to have legal representation – “Universal Access to Counsel in Housing Court” on Monday December 10.

Real Rent Reform (R3) Campaign

The state rent and eviction laws – the “old” Rent Control and the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) sunset on June 15, 2019. The renewal, and most importantly, the strengthening of these laws will be a major focus of MVUT’s work into 2019. We had enclosed Dennis’ “Community View” from The Journal News in our last mailing.

MVUT will be participating in two (2) events in December in New York City to help kick-off the Campaign:

1) Press conference and rally at New York City (NYC) City Hall on Monday December 10.

2) Meeting with NYC City Council President Corey Johnson and tenant leaders,  also at NYC City Hall on Wednesday December 19.

MVUT “Holiday Gathering”

Don’t forget our Annual “Holiday Gathering on Friday December 14 at 6:00 pm in our office at 2 Gramatan Avenue, Suite 304. We’re expecting Santa Claus to stop by! So please stop by and bring a dish to share, or make a monetary contribution to MVUT to help defray our expenses. Happy and Safe Holidays !

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

* Please make a year-end, tax-deductible contribution to MVUT !!

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2018 Program Activities

2018 Program Activities

Buildings                                                                 Issues

485 Gramatan Avenue                                               SCRIE/DRIE*

The Modern                                                                 “Employer Paid Sick Time”*

La Porte Building                                                       Ossining ETPA*
122 N. 3rd Ave. & 203 Gramatan Ave.

40 Mitchell Place, W.P. (NAHT)                             Source of Income(State)*

Intown Towers (NAHT)                                           R3*

Westchester Plaza T. A.                                             WRGB*

55 Pennsylvania Avenue                                           Westchester Economic

Crestwood Lake Apartments                                   Justice Organizing*

10-12 Bonnefoy Place, New Rochelle

525-27 Riverdale Avenue, Yonkers

284 S. Columbus Avenue

Millington Houses (25-43 Millington St./324-42 East 4th Avenue)

Riverview, Yonkers, (NAHT)

111 Lockwood Ave., New Rochelle

33 William Street

In addition to all of the above efforts we opened up 641 individual landlord/tenant cases. Our singular program is our Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP). So far in 2018 we’ve already stopped over 150 evictions, and helped to rehouse a dozen families. Additionally, we’ve brought over sixty (60+) families to the Furniture Sharehouse where they‘ve gotten anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 worth of free furniture.

Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption/Disabled Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE/DRIE)

On November 28 the Mount Vernon City Council increased the eligibility level from $ 40,000/year to $ 50,000/year after a nearly yearlong lobbying effort by MVUT. This will enable dozens of more families to access the benefits of SCRIE/DRIE, i.e. Rent Freezes.

Employee Paid Sick Time

After a three (3) year Campaign, the Labor/Community Coalition working on this secured passage by the Westchester Board of Legislators (WBOL) on October 1.  MVUT was an initial member of the Coalition and played a leadership role throughout the campaign.

Ossining ETPA Campaign

MVUT, along with Community Voices Heard (CVH) helped organize tenants in Ossining to adopt the State Stabilization Law the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). On September 5 the Ossining Village Board voted to do so.

Source of Income (State)

MVUT initiated and led the successful campaign a few years ago to get Westchester to adopt a nondiscrimination ordinance in renting based upon source of income, most especially Section 8. MVUT is now working in coalition with groups throughout the state to pass a statewide ordinance.

Real Rent Reform (R3) Campaign

MVUT has been the lone nonNew York City based tenants organization in the R3 Campaign working to renew and most especially strengthen the state rent laws when they come up for renewal in June 2019. Well participate in a rally to kick off the intensive campaign on Monday December 10 at New York Citys City Hall. Additionally, weve been invited by New York Citys City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to participate in a planning meeting on Wednesday December 19 – also at New York City’s City Hall.

Westchester Rent Guidelines Board (WRGB)

While we were disappointed by this past year’s Guidelines – 2% for a one (1) renewal, and 3% for a two (2) year renewal, we’re excited about the future as MVUT’s, own Tamara Stewart is scheduled to be sworn in as the new Tenant Member of the WRGB in January.

Westchester Economic Justice Organizing

MVUT worked with numerous groups and individuals on various economic justice issues during 2018. Policies on the national and state level have combined to put increasing negative pressures on low to moderate income people. MVUT has been committed to educate and activate tenants and others about the economic threats we’re all facing.