Accomplishments & actions of your TA in 2020: the year so far
Tired of 2020? We are too! But here’s just some of what we’ve been doing for you—before and during COVID.
Lobby and intercom directories: we pressured management, and they agreed to restore names as legally required to do but only on an opt-in basis. It’s hard to be a good neighbor if you don’t know who lives in your building.
Rent increases are decided in June. Tenants and advocates mobilized early. TA board members and neighbors rallied at Gracie Mansion for a rent rollback from the Rent Guidelines Board.
MAJOR LEGAL ACTION! The TA filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court to keep all our apartments protected by rent regulation—that’s what we believe the housing law of 2019 intends. Property owner Blackstone thinks they can deregulate more than 4,000 of our apartments. This is the first tenant-led legal effort to validate the state’s new rent laws.
Is your rent over $2,800? Our lawsuit likely affects you.
The TA held a press conference at 16th St. and First Ave. Who turned out to support us? Our neighbors—and State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, City Council Member Keith Powers, Council Speaker Corey Johnson, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Borough President Gale Brewer, a representative of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and TA attorney Tim Collins.
AND THEN THERE WAS COVID-19 . . .
When the pandemic shutdown hit, we eblasted links to family-friendly programs as well as links to information to keep you safe and well, including food takeout and delivery.
Tenants told us they were having trouble paying the rent. We reached out to General Manager Rick Hayduk to ask: how will Blackstone make it possible for tenants to stay in their homes and what rent relief will be provided?
We relayed NYPD warnings about scams targeting stimulus payments, small business relief, and advice about domestic violence during the lockdown.
Census 2020: we started beating the drum.
We alerted you to COVID testing and Council Member Keith Powers’s small business town hall.
Our first-ever Zoom annual meeting: our electeds answered your questions, and we welcomed three new members to our board of directors.
We eblasted to let you know how to volunteer from home, warned you about Medicare fraud related to COVID, and told you how to get an absentee ballot for the June primary.
Landlords challenge the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 in court—we joined an amicus brief to protect rent regulation.
Rent Guidelines Board—testifying for a rent freeze: board members testified at the RGB’s virtual hearing on rent adjustments. We testify on behalf of all ST and PCV residents every year.
Free masks: we told you where to get them.
We launched the Community Impact Survey to understand how the community was faring during the pandemic—and got 945 responses!
Inside the community and all the way to Albany—we fight on behalf of all our neighbors.
For new tenants: we sent a letter to Rick Hayduk about informing new tenants of the COVID protocol on the property as well as state guidelines. He agreed to give new tenants a printed fact sheet.
Senior hours at the fitness playground: the TA took tenants’ request to management, who agreed to reserve time for seniors.
Major Capital Improvements: state agency DHCR put out a new Reasonable Cost Schedule—how much owners can charge for items that stay in your rent for 30 years. Those costs looked unreasonable to us, so we hired an expert, activated support from our electeds, and testified at the public hearing on September 9.
Meaningful rent relief for struggling neighbors, part 1: we sent a letter with the results of our COVID survey to Rick Hayduk to bolster the case for keeping residents in their homes.
Composting: we worked with the Lower East Side Ecology Center to bring modified composting back to the property, and Council Member Powers supplied the funding.
Package delivery: as requested by some tenants, we asked management to continue to keep our buildings safe and reverse the decision to have packages delivered to doors again. This proved to be controversial, but it spurred management to do an analysis of elevator use by delivery people. Result: packages will once again be delivered to doors.
Meaningful rent relief for struggling neighbors, part 2: Senator Hoylman, Assembly Member Epstein, and Council Member Powers sent a letter in support of our second letter to management. We did not get a meaningful response.
CHP 2: tenants concerned about management’s plan to construct a second combined heat and power plant on the premises approached us. We sent a letter to tenants of the buildings closest to both CHP plants to gauge their concern. We got the support of our electeds to ask management to halt construction of the two CHPs until we have all of the data tenants need to determine whether or not their air quality is safe.
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