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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-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)

The Potential Benefits and Estimated Cost of an Eviction Right to Counsel Outside of New York City

FACT SHEET:  The Potential Benefits and Estimated Cost of an Eviction Right to Counsel Outside of New York City

Statewide Right to Counsel (S.6678A/A7570B) ) strengthens Right to Counsel in New York City and guarantees the right to a free lawyer to ALL tenants facing eviction across New York State.  To estimate the total cost of a statewide Right to Counsel, we worked with Stout to produce an analysis of the cost associated with providing free legal representation for tenants outside New York City. Combining the outside New york City cost estimate with an updated cost estimate for an expanded Right to Counsel in New York City gets us to the total statewide cost- Our estimated minimum total cost of providing Right to Counsel to tenants statewide is on our website at https://www.righttocounselnyc.org/statewidertccost

Once enacted into law, statewide Right to Counsel will be phased over seyeral years. The benefits and cost of Right to Counsel outside New York City included in this fact sheet would happen at full implementation. For the complete cost analysis and more research on the benefits of Right to Counsel outside New York City, read the full report at: bit.ly/RTCCostStudyOutsideNYC 

BENEFITS

Approximately 46,600 tenant households outside New York City would receive legal representation under a statewide eviction Right to Counsel.

Approximately 97% of tenants who appear in eviction court would benefit from Right to Counsel. With dedicated funding to community organizing and outreach, the percentage of tenants that accept free legal representation will likely be closer to 100%.

Right to Counsel makes it harder for landlords to use evictions as a tactic to harass and displace tenants. Implementations of a statewide eviction Right to Counsel could decrease eviction filings outside New York City by at least 19% (over 5 years at an annual decline of 5%, starting in year 2). Eviction filings may decrease more (such as in New York City where they dropped by 30%, or less depending on the effectiveness of implementation and the state’s commitment to tenant organizing and outreach about the Right to Counsel.

When a tenant doesn’t appear in court, the judge can issue a default judgment, which allows the court to issue an eviction warrant. A statewide eviction Right to Counsel would reduce the number of default judgments outside New York City, with an expected 32% decline in default rates.

lmplementing a statewide eviction Right to Counsel would likely save New York state and local governments millions of public dollars (over and above the cost of providing the Right) that would otherwise be spent on shelter, emergency room costs, homelessness services, and more. Like most cities and states with an eviction Right to Counsel, New York State could see cost savings of $3 – $6 per dollar invested in Right to Counsel.  For example, Stout estimated that Baltimore could save $3.06 per dollar and the state of Maryland could see cost savings of $6.24 per dollar (Baltimore City plus Maryland), from the same investment in an eviction Right to Counsel.

COST

$144 million – $20o million is the estimated cost of providing an eviction Right to counsel to ALL tenants (with no income restrictions) outside New York City.