Listen to "Ask Gerri" on WHCR and Help Avert an Eviction Tsunami!

[Ask Geraldine Talk Show streaming on WHCR.org EVery Monday 5pm to 6pm. Have a housing question? Ask Gerri! Ms.Gerri@yahoo.com]

Geraldine Collins, the President of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants Board, is now the host of a weekly talk show, "Ask Geraldine," on WHCR 90.3FM, a Harlem-based radio program out of the City College of New York. Her first broadcast was two evenings ago, August 17, 2020! She interviewed NAHT's own Michael Kane for close to an hour, about the tsunami of evictions and what tenants need to do nationwide to save their homes.

The show was broadcast live on radio in NYC, and nationwide through a web link. Here’s the recording.

Listeners can help pass the HEROES act housing protections, to avert a tsunami of evictions for 23-30 million tenants in the next few months. Please listen, post and share!


National Alliance of HUD Tenants Condemns George Floyd Murder and Summons Mass Tenant action

NAHT Statement on the Murder of George Floyd
and the Movement for Racial Justice and Change
6/5/20

As a multiracial organization of working class tenants in privately-owned, HUD assisted housing, NAHT’s elected all-tenant Board condemns the abhorrent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Stephon Clark, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others before them. These murders at the hands of racist police and vigilantes reflect the sordid 400 year history of white supremacy and violent racial subjugation that has stained our country since its inception. The systemic trauma this violence inflicts daily on all people of color, and the destructive sickness of racism that causes it, affect us all. This must end, and it must end now.

Read more

NAHT 2020 Conference will be on Zoom. Sign Up!

National Alliance of HUD Tenants Annual Conference by Zoom! Monday, June 29 through Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Three Days of Exciting Zoom Meetings!
All sessions start at Noon EDT

Monday June 29: Group Awards to tell NAHT’s Story and Vision for 2020
Invited Guest Speakers at 1 pm
NAHT Annual Meeting (Voting Reps only) at 3:15 pm

Tuesday June 30: Plenary Session with Top HUD Officials (confirmed)
Help Advance NAHT’s Tenant Empowerment Agenda

Wednesday July 1: Senate and House Lobby Forums
Invited key Senate and House Leaders

Tenant-Led Workshops Including:
HUD Tenants Rights Under COVID
Protecting Senior High Rise buildings from COVID
How to Fight Management Harassment and Abuse
Racism, Displacement and Gentrification in HUD Housing
How to Save Our Homes from Market Conversion
Enforcing the Right to Organize
Organizing Tenants in “Tax Credit” Buildings

All members of Tenant Groups that renew dues or join NAHT, will be able to participate in ALL Conference meetings, for NO additional registration fee!

NAHT’s Membership Dues for building-level Tenant Groups, are $25 per group per year. You can pay or renew your group’s dues online or mail to it NAHT. 

Non-profit tenant organizing or advocacy groups can join NAHT as non-voting Associate Members. Associate Member dues are on a sliding scale based on budget ($75 for organizations with budgets under $25,000 per year; $125 for budgets between $25,000 and $100,000 per year; $225 if over $100,000 per year).

Please submit your Board or Committee or Staff list with your dues payment, including emails and cellphone numbers, so that ALL your organizations members can participate in NAHT Conference sessions! 

Individuals who are not from a Tenant Group or Associate Member organization can participate in the conference for $25. Click here to pay your individual 2020 Conference fee.

For more information, email NAHT at: naht@saveourhomes.org
Or call 617-522-4523 or 617-233-1885
mail – National Alliance of HUD Tenants, 42 Seaverns Ave., Jamaica Plain MA 02130
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nahudtenants
Twitter: @nahudtenants


NAHT LEADERS ADOPT SWEEPING 2020 PLATFORM

On January 20, 2020, elected leaders of the national US tenants’ union released a sweeping “Save Our Homes Platform” for the 2020 Elections, and denounced HUD’s proposed new rule to dismantle Fair Housing protections.

On the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, the Trump Administration has proposed a new rule to gut Fair Housing Protections and threaten tenants nationwide,” said Geraldine Collins, President of the NAHT Board who lives in senior housing on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “HUD should be working to undo decades of federally-sponsored segregation in housing and neighborhoods, not make institutional racism worse. We demand that HUD withdraw this dangerous proposal.”

NAHT also released its Save Our Homes Platform for the 2020 Elections on MLK Day. In contrast to the Trump Administration’s policy to dismantle Fair Housing protections, NAHT calls for full implementation of the AFFH rule and support for a $200 billion Anti-Displacement Fund to remedy past discrimination. NAHT’s Platform also calls for:

· Universal Section 8 Vouchers for all low income renters who need them
· Full funding for Public and Section 8 Housing and $100 billion to rebuild Public Housing over 10 years
· $2.5 trillion to build 10 million affordable mixed income apartments over the next decade

Founded in 1991, NAHT is the national tenants union representing 1.2 million Section 8 families in privately-owned, HUD assisted multifamily housing. NAHT’s mission is to empower residents to save and improve their homes as affordable housing.

 

NAHT can connect interested media outlets with resident leaders and organizations across the US for local comments. Contact: Michael Kane, michaelkane@saveourhomes.org 617-522-4523 or 617-233-1885.

NAHT's 2020 Platform  Press Release


HUD Responds to NAHT Tenants!

HUD has published a Memo implementing HUD’s commitments at the NAHT conference HUD plenary on June 10, in response to issues raised by NAHT tenant leaders!

The Memo instructs Owners to:

  • Ensure 24 Notice to tenants prior to ANY physical inspections
  • Make copies of final REAC Reports and key correspondence available to tenants for 60 days
  • Make copies of Notices of Default or Violation, Corrective Action Plans and 100% Surveys, if any, available to tenants
  • Make copies of Owners' "Self Certification" of compliance for emergency Health and Safety citations
  • Post a Notice to all residents with contact information to HUD for tenants to file complaints about discrepancies in owners’ claims
Read more

25th Annual NAHT Conference

The 25th Annual NAHT Conference to Save Our Homes was a complete success! 

The first day of the conference started off yesterday with registration, snacks and reuniting with old friends.

  

Sunday morning began with our Group Awards Ceremony. Organized tenant groups from around the country were recognized for their struggles to save affordable housing, improve conditions, fight for their right to organize and more!

 

“Everybody in here pays taxes to live in housing that is safe, sanitary and affordable housing, and we’re not gonna stop fighting til we get it!” -Latresa, tenant leader in Atlanta, GA fighting for improved living conditions in her home!

“Management tried to individuate us. I ain’t bowing down to nobody. I’m a resident and I deserve the best.” -Linda from Chicago

“We wanna make sure no one loses their home in the RAD process.”

 

After the awards ceremony, we were joined by two keynote speakers, Diane Yentel of the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Molly Parker, investigative reporter from the Southern Illinoisan who reports on subsidized housing condition issues.

  

The NAHT Conference boasts 20 tenant-led workshops on a variety of topics. Tenant leaders from around the country led discussions on Section 8 contracts, how to start and sustain a tenant group, REAC reform, how to win repairs, security with justice, fair housing, resident ownership, gentrification and displacement and many more. We got the opportunity to talk to each other, learn from each other and left feeling empowered to take what we learned back to our buildings.

  

 

Every year, NAHT meets with top HUD officials to press our agenda on tenant involvement in the REAC inspection process, management oversight process and funding for tenant organizing. Thank you to all HUD officials who attended! See our proposals here!

  

 

The final day of the conference is our legislative advocacy day! In the morning, tenants presented our legislative agenda, which a can be found here, which includes tenant empowerment and REAC reform provisions, to legislative aides from Congressional offices from both the House and the Senate.

 

Then we got visits from several special guest allies!

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) believes in the power of rent withholding to enforce housing standards and so do we! Our bill would strengthen rent withholding for HUD tenants by withholding HUD’s portion of the rent when tenants go on rent strike in substandard buildings!

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) longtime supporter of NAHT, spoke on the importance of full funding for public housing, project based Section 8 and other HUD programs. It should be the mission of our nation to take care of the most vulnerable!

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) met with NAHT yet again and encouraged us to keep fighting, keep voting and keep speaking up for ourselves. Thank you for your long time support of tenant organizing, safe and healthy housing and tenant empowerment!

“We have to make sure we’re preserving the affordable housing that exists and we have to raise the living conditions. We have to empower tenants and residents to move us in the right direction.” Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is on board! Thank you for meeting with us!

 

All in all, another great NAHT Conference is on the books. Thanks to all the attendees, volunteers and presenters for making our 25th Annual Conference a success!


HUD Tenant Leaders Demand Congress Declare Trump’s 2020 Budget “Dead on Arrival”

For release: March 13, 2019

 Contact: Geraldine Collins 516-425-6723 ms.gerri3@yahoo.com  or Michael Kane 617-233-1885 naht@saveourhomes.org

           Elected leaders of the national US tenants union today demanded immediate and total rejection by Congress of President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget request, released on March 11.

           “Its actually worse than last year. Trump’s budget will push people from their homes; starve seniors, children and families; and deny health care to millions of people,” said Geraldine Collins, President of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), who lives in a senior housing development in Manhattan.   “People will die if these proposals see the light of day.   Congress should declare Trump’s 2019 budget ‘dead on arrival’ instead.”

            Added Collins, “The recent shutdown crisis led by Trump caused millions to panic that they would be evicted because HUD and USDA funds would run out for their homes. Landlords are now warier about taking Section 8 tenants, and housing authorities are under severe pressure to sell off public housing. You have to ask: was the shutdown a deliberate attempt to destroy HUD rental housing? Another ‘shutdown showdown’ is looming again in September over Trump’s Wall.” Collins noted that the 16% cut proposed this year is consistent with the Heritage Foundation’s draconian plan to terminate HUD rental housing over 10 years, embraced by Trump’s Chief of Staff and former Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

Read more

With A Short-Term Deal To End The Government Shutdown We Are Not Out Of The Woods Yet

The stop-gap agreement with congressional leaders will last three weeks, until Feb. 15, and would allow talks to continue over border security and a wall on the southern border. The agreement includes no new money for the wall, and is a massive concession on Trump's behalf after refusing a similar funding package a month ago.

With the temporary re-opening of HUD and other agencies, an immediate catastrophe was averted as airports began to close across the country. Congress has now authorized about two more months of funding for HUD, USDA and other critical agencies.   

However, we are by no means out of the woods regarding the crisis for HUD tenants and owners! HUD will again run out of funds on February 15, unless Congress votes the funds for the remainder of FY 2019.  The uncertainty and chaos that have resulted may result in owners walking away from HUD contracts, and/or turning down Voucher tenants.
NAHT IS MAKING AN IMPACT!   In the past two weeks, NAHT tenants have been featured in an AP wire service story, the BBC, NBC and VICE News, the Huffington Post, and local news stories in Beloit, WI; Spokane, WA;  several articles in Arkansas; and a national radio station in NYC.
Most significantly, the Housing Justice League in Atlanta, NAHT”s Georgia affiliate, emailed 100,000 supporters who shut down the switchboard in Sen. Isakson (R-GA), a factor in Isakson breaking ranks and voting for the Democratic bill to reopen the government last Thursday.
NAHT”s UT affiliate, Crossroads Urban Center, likewise met with Sen. Romney’s office (R-UT); Romney joined Isakson as one of six Republicans to break ranks with Trump and McConnell.  This break in Republican intransigence was what pushed Trump to reverse course last Friday.  NAHT’s mobilization played a small but significant role in this victory! 
Check out the NAHT baord press release here
Check out NAHT's government shutdown resource page for more news stories
For information on tenants' rights in Project Based Section 8, Section 8 Vouchers, and Public Housing buildings from the National Housing Law Project  click here for a 1-page flyer; a 14 page background memo; or a 4 page "highlights" memo addressing

Trump’s Shutdown Threatens 3.4 Million Low Income Tenants with Displacement: Take Action NOW to Save Our Homes!

The Trump shutdown of HUD and other federal agencies has already dragged on for 19 days, the longest in US history, with no end in sight!   HUD tenants are already feeling the sting. 

On Monday, January 7, HUD announced that no funds are available to renew 1,150 Section 8 contracts that expired in December 2018 and January 2019, or another 550 contracts that expire in February 2019 or beyond.  An estimated 100,000 low income households--elderly, people with disabilities and families with children-- already face repair and service cutbacks, and could face rent increases and displacement, if HUD funds are not restored soon.

Worse, another 21,150 Section 8 contracts housing 1.1 million low income renters have been funded only through February.  There is no evidence that HUD has funds for these properties if the shutdown continues into March, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.  

In addition, HUD does not have funds to continue subsidies after February for 2.2 million more Section 8 Voucher recipients, administered by local housing authorities.  For all Section 8 tenants, owners could attempt to terminate the leases low income tenants unable to pay rents three or four times what they pay today, to cover operating costs if HUD subsidies are terminated.  

Trump has threatened to make the shutdown last for “months or years” if he doesn’t get his Wall.  If the shutdown lasts past February, a total of 3.4 million Section 8 tenants could lose their homes. 

On January 2, the newly elected House voted to approve a HUD Appropriations bill, previously passed by the Republican Senate, to fully fund Section 8.   But Republican Leader McConnell refuses to bring this or any other funding bill to the Senate Floor, unless Trump will sign it, and Trump has vowed to reject any bill until Congress provides $5.6 billion for the Wall.  Democrats demand that Congress reopen closed agencies first, and debate “border security” and the Wall separately. 

For a good explanation of how Section 8 contracts work and the threats to HUD tenants, see the NBC articles below and this blog post from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Also see NAHT's resource page for articles about the impact of the shutdown on current low-income tenants.


What Tenants Can Do To Save Our Homes

  • Find the buildings whose contracts have already expired and are not yet funded. You can check if your building has a Section 8 contract expiring soon on through NLIHC's map here or through their spreadsheet here. If your building is on this list, most likely HUD funds have ALREADY been cut from your building! Owners and managers can see if they have been receiving payments from HUD through their online database system, called LOCCS (HUDs Line of Credit Control System). Contact the owner and manager of your building and ask them if they have funds available in their LOCCS account have been receiving payments through LOCCS.

 

  • Line up tenant leaders for quotes in media stories about the cuts--issue a press release and contact local media, to make tenant voices heard! Use the press release from the NAHT Board for quotes and messaging.  If you can, organize a press conference at a housing development, city agency, HUD office or local Senator’s office--invite elected officials to join tenants to protest the cuts! Let NAHT know of affected tenants willing to talk to national media! NAHT has been contacted by national media outlets, including NBC News, looking for tenants to interview at affected buildings. Contact NAHT at 617-522-4523 or naht@saveourhomes.org

 

  • Mobilize tenants to tell Congress to approve HUD funding NOW, especially in buildings with expiring contracts where you have tenant contacts.  If you don’t, doorknock and post flyers letting tenants know that their building is directly affected and the information they need to contact their Senator, including a call-in script. Click here to find your Senator or Representative, especially Republicans who have refused to fund HUD. In particular, tell Republican Senators to pass the Appropriations Bill they supported before the shutdown started! Organize phone banks to call your Senator, or ask tenants to call while doorknocking.

Message:   “I’m a <senior, disabled, family> Section 8 tenant at <your development>.  Without Section 8, my rent could triple or quadruple overnight and I would lose my home.  I’m one of 3.4 million Section 8 tenants who could lose our homes if the shutdown lasts through February.  My home should not be held hostage to Trump’s Wall!”

For Democrats:   Thank them for their support to pass the HUD budget NOW. 

For Republican Senators:  Demand that they tell Majority Leader McConnell to bring the HUD funding bill to the Senate Floor and pass it NOW!

For Republican Representatives (House):   Demand they vote to support the HUD funding bill and override Trump’s veto.  A vote against the HUD bill is a vote to throw people out of their homes. 

 

  • Organize a postcard campaign demanding your Congresspeople pass the Appropriations bill to reopen the government! You can organize press and social media when postcards are delivered to local offices.  See NAHT's postcard and phone bank tip sheet here!

 

  • Keep NAHT posted of your local actions! We will post them on NAHT’s Facebook page and website. Join NAHT’s weekly Strategy Calls as long as the shutdown lasts.  Contact the NAHT office to join the list serve. The calls are currently every Wednesday at 12:30 pm EST. 

 

DISLCALIMER: VISTA Volunteers are not permitted to lobby for or against legislation. 


New HUD Notice on REAC Building Inspections a Result of NAHT Tenant Leaders Persistent Advocacy

At every NAHT Conference, tenant leaders ask HUD officials how their buildings can score passing REAC inspection scores when they know their buildings are in complete disrepair. In fact, there are multiple reports of buildings passing with flying colors, with scores as high as in the 90s, when they should score a failing grade, below 60. What’s more, tenants know that landlords will do the bare minimum of repairs in order to get a barely passing score and escape follow-up and enforcement from HUD. This is a product the federal government’s systematic defunding of HUD, leading the agency to contract inspections out to private companies.

NAHT updated its recommendations for REAC reform in 2015.   Several VISTAs, led by Nehemiah Bey, Devondrick Jeffers and others, were encountering substandard properties with high REAC scores.  NAHT formed a Special REAC Task Force which recommended changes in REAC’s scoring system to better respond to mold, bedbugs and other common problems ignored in REAC’s current system.   NAHT has advocated for these changes at every NAHT conference and Board meeting with HUD officials since that time, led by Board leaders Geraldine Collins, Demetrius Bonner, Rachel Williams, Charlotte Delgado, Charlotte Rodgers and others.

Recently, HUD published a new notice, Notice 2018-8, regarding HUD enforcement actions for substandard properties.  The new Notice implements Congressional amendments to the enforcement process in FY 2017, and replaces Notice 2015-2. The notice implements several recommendations made by NAHT tenant leaders, but also takes a few steps backwards in regards to tenant involvement when a building scores between 30 and 60.

On the plus side, the new Notice, for the first time, allows HUD to issue a Demand for Corrective Action for properties with REAC scores above 60, if there are:

  1. Less than 50% of possible REAC points earned in any category, particularly within units;
  2. Repeated inspection findings that indicate systemic deficiencies;
  3. Significant inspection findings that may pose health and safety risks to the tenants;
  4. Significant local code violations;
  5. Multiple tenant complaints about property condition; and/or
  6. Conditions observed by OAMPO staff during a site visit outside of a REAC or MOR.

This opens up an important avenue for tenant organizing and advocacy.   “Multiple tenant complaints” and “significant code violations” give us an avenue to invite HUD enforcement actions.   Also, if REAC scores are high but there are “systemic deficiencies” (such as mold) “within units”, HUD can issue a Demand for Corrective Action.

On the down side, HUD enforcement is now discretionary for properties with REAC scores above 30 but below 60.  The previous requirement for a Compliance, Disposition and Enforcement (CDE) Plan has been dropped.  Where properties score below 60, HUD can require a 100% unit survey and corrective action plan, but this is no longer required to be shared with tenants.   The only Notice requirement is to share Notices of Default/Violation with tenants, but not the Survey or corrective plans.  Following the FY 2017 Congressional amendment, tenant notice and participation has been downgraded.  NAHT leaders will continue to fight for tenants to be included in the repairs and renovations process when their homes receive scores less than 60 but more than 30.

NAHT has long advocated for these positive changes in REAC, most recently in the NAHT Board’s October meeting with Brian Montgomery, HUD’s newly confirmed Assistant Secretary for Housing.  Montgomery opened the meeting by recalling his discussions with NAHT on REAC reform in 2007, when he was previously at HUD, and that reforming REAC was one of his top priorities. 

Our persistence is  getting results!   We will keep the heat on until REAC’s scores are brought up to date, and continue advocating for NAHT’s recommendations to involve tenants in REAC inspections.