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


Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP)

We reported in the last mailing that the federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) ended as of January 20, 2023. The ERAP provided essential funding for families and individuals that had either lost income or had additional expenses as a result of Covid-19. This was a real “Life Saver” nationwide for those who were successful in their ERAP application. MVUT assisted 460 tenants in filing ERAP applications and as far as we know they were all successful! That’s 460 evictions prevented! WOW!! And a special shout-out to Andrew Aguilar from our office who processed almost all of the applications. Great Job Andrew!

Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP)

The NPP is MVUT’s largest single source of funding. The funding for the statewide program has been relatively flat for the last eight (8) years. We all know how inflation affects our budgets and this is just as true for government funding. The Statewide Coalition of Neighborhood Preservation Companies (of which MVUT is one of approximately one hundred forty (140) housing groups) organizes an annual “Affordable Housing” Lobby Day.

This year it was Monday, February 13, and as MVUT has done for years, we organized a bus to Albany for the six (6) groups in Westchester who get funding under the NPP: the statewide coalition’s message was that “Flat Funding A Cut in Funding.” Dennis sits on the Statewide Coalition’s Board of Directors and serves as its Legislative Committee Chair.

The Legislative Committee and the full board adopted a call to raise the statewide amount of the NPP from $12.8 Million to $17.75 Million. This would bring all groups up from the low $90 Thousands/each up to $125,000! It is well-earned and deserved. On every Lobby Day the Coalition organizes a rally in “the Well” of the Legislative Office Building (LOB). Dennis presented our Legislative Agenda and Michael Rose of 60 West First Street, Mt. Vernon, also spoke to the assembled group of NPCs from throughout the state.

The Chair of the Senate Housing Committee, Brian Kavanagh (518-455-2625 or 718- 875-1917) and Linda Rosenthal (518-455-5802 or 212-873-6368) the Chair for the Assembly Housing Committee both spoke at the rally and both said that they would push for the Coalition’s request of $17.75 Million!

We’d ask that people write or call both Chairs and thank them for their support. We’d also ask that you call and/or write to the State Legislators who represent Mt. Vernon, Jamaal Bailey in the State Senate and J. Gary Pretlow in the State Assembly (mailing addresses are below.) The message: Support $17.75 Million for the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP)! if you’re a tenant outside of Mt. Vernon and do not know who your state legislators are, call the MVUT office at (914) 699-1114.

Right to Counsel (RTC)

MVUT has been a key player in the statewide campaign to get a Right to Counsel bill passed by the state legislature. The Bill S2721/A1493 is being sponsored by Rachel May in the Senate and Latoya Joyner in the Assembly.

There have been actions on the campaign already and a number of rallies, etc. are planned in the weeks ahead. A few from Mt. Vernon participated in a rally and vigil in Mamaroneck on Thursday March 16 and we’re encouraging tenants to join us next Friday March 24 in Yonkers for a rally and “Court Watch.” We’re enclosing a flyer for the Yonkers action. Call the MVUT office for further info and if you’d like to participate in the Yonkers action

Tenants’ Rights = Tenants’ Power !!

Brian Kavanagh 518-455-2625 or 718-875-1917 Legislative Office Bldg Rm 512 Albany, NY 12247
J. Gary Pretlow 518-455-5291 or 914-667-0127 Legislative Office Bldg Rm 845 Albany, NY 11248
Linda Rosenthal 518-455-5802, 212-873-6368 Legislative Office Bldg Rm 844 Albany, NY 12248
Jamaal Bailey 518-455-2061 or 718-597-8854 Legislative Office Bldg Rm 609 Albany, NY 12247


Friday, March 24th at 10am 10am: Rally @ 100 South Broadway 10:45am: Court Tour & Observation
RSVP to learn more about the week of action:

Download Yonkers Rally and Court Watch Flyer

Introducing Legal Hand Call-In Center serving Westchester County

Legal Hand has arrived in Westchester County! Based on our powerful model of neighbors helping neighbors, our highly trained volunteers, who are not lawyers, provide free legal information, assistance and referrals for serious life issues in the areas of: Housing, Immigration, Family Issues, Domestic Violence, Elderly Rights, Employment, Public Benefits and many other challenges.
And our Call-In volunteers are ready to help and easy to reach. There are no eligibility requirements and everyone is welcome!

Call or Text: 914-425-5483
Email: Westchesterhelp [@]

We are open weekdays, evenings and Saturdays
For hours, visit:

Legal Hand Call-In Center serving Westchester County, operated by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University

Download Legal Hand Flyer

Download NY Project Hope Flyer

Download Mid-March News and Update mailing (PDF)

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.