Home Line VISTAs Support Tenants During Owner Opt-Out

"In St. Louis Park and St. Paul, Minnesota, tenants from Lou Park and Mears Park Place Apartments are facing the non-renewal of their Project-Based Section 8 contracts with Bigos Management, which would equate to a loss of 82 long-term deeply affordable units. These residents primarily represent folks from immigrant, elderly, disabled, and low-income and single-parent family backgrounds. At Lou Park, half of the tenants are Russian Jewish immigrants.
 
VISTAs Ivory Taylor and Asha Ahmad from HOME Line worked with the tenants to establish tenant associations; the tenants then reached out to Bigos Management to request a meeting to talk about the non-renewal and the effects it would have on the residents. After receiving a letter back from Bigos Management's attorneys which reiterated their decision to end the contract, but did not respond to the request for a meeting, residents decided to organize an action around the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
 
Sukkot is observed by building a temporary shelter in your backyard to invite friends and neighbors to join together and celebrate the end ofsummer. Many neighbors at Lou Park find meaning in the symbol of a temporary shelter this year due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of their housing.
 
Jewish Community Action, HOME Line, and the St. Louis Park Housing Team helped the tenants organize the event and spread the word for turnout. Numerous state and local elected officials attended, included current House Representative and candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, Peggy Flanagan, who spoke about growing up in Section 8 housing in a building across the street. Rabbi Michael Latz performed a blessing of the Sukkot and tenants from both Lou Park and Mears Park Apartments raised their voices about the need to preserve their homes as Project-Based Section 8. The program was followed by a community potluck where people shared fellowship and tenants continued to press community members and elected officials for support in reaching and negotiating with Bigos Management.
 
Tenants were very excited about the turnout and said the event made them feel hopeful. They were thrilled to see the support they received from their community. The event has prompted several elected officials to take further action, based on tenants demands. The residents continue to push forward with the support of their community in the fight to save their homes."

NAHT Supports Tenants in Atlanta Against Slumlord

 

NAHT member group Forest Cove Apartments and NAHT affiliate Housing Justice League in Atlanta, held a rally at the Forest Cove complex on Wednesday, July 18th. Tenants delivered a list of demands to the management office, which included repairs and for the tenants association to be included in the repair planning. Three NAHT board members joined in support and spoke at the march. Forest Cove Apartments is owned by Global Ministries, a notorious slumlord being forced by HUD to sell it's entire portfolio to another company. NAHT is beginning a national campaign to organize tenants in Global Ministries properties to make sure tenants voices are heard throughout this process!

 

New York Tenants in D.C. for NAHT Conference

By Mary Bradley, Tenant Leader at Tecumseh Road Apartments in Syracuse NY

The National Alliance of HUD Tenants meet to better understand the problems tenants are facing in their homes meaning apartment buildings, and having workshops to address how tenants can tackle these problems to solve them for the greater good of the tenants in these buildings. Representatives from HUD were present to help and learn about these issues.

NAHT also traveled to Capital Hill in Washington DC and confronted legislative Aides on issues plaguing NAHT like promises made by HUD that are being recanted.

We marched around the Martin Luther King Jr memorial and made protest on issues facing the poor people’s march and took many photos of NAHT’s plights with speeches, and banners .

The Greater Syracuse Tenants Network was front and center representing , and the Tecumseh Road Apartment Tenant Association’s president was also present.

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                                                      "Schumer Lobby Visit"      

                                           

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                               "Rally at MLK Memorial

 

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"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice"

 

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Sharon Sherman-Executive director of the Greater Syracuse Tenants Network
John Herman-Tenant organizer at Great Syracuse Tenants Network
Hollywood Pemberton-Tenant leader at Clinton Plaza, Syracuse NY
Mary Bradley-Tenant Leader at Tecumseh Raod Apartments

It was a wonderful trip to Washington DC, and to see all those people so eager to fight for the poor, disabled and senior citizens living in horrendous conditions that makes bullying ,harassment, and unsafe living a burden that no one should have to suffer. I personally applaud the NATIONAL ALLIANCE of HUD TENANTS .

HUD Tenant Leaders Denounce Carson Housing Bill, Demand Trump “Cease and Desist” War Against the Poor

April 26th, 2018

Elected leaders of the national US tenants union today denounced the housing bill proposed April 25 by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a “vicious and cruel” assault on the poorest of the poor.    

“Carson’s proposals will push millions of people from their homes.  Carson’s plan is not about moving people to work--its about needlessly cutting people from programs that enable them to find work,” says Ed Lucas, 59, President of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), Marine Corp vet and director of a neighborhood jobs center, who lives in a resident-owned, HUD-assisted building in Chicago.   “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day.  Congress should reject them out of hand.”

NAHT affiliates in Boston, Atlanta, Spokane and other cities have held or are planning local actions to protest the Carson-Trump rent increase and bogus “work” requirements.   Tenants, joined by the HUD employees union, delivered a giant “Cease and Desist” order to the Boston HUD office in March.   A similar action is planned in Atlanta on May 1. 

In line with Trump’s 2019 budget proposals, Carson’s bill proposes draconian rent increases for the 4.6 million American households who receive HUD rental assistance.  The bill would raise rents for tenants below the age of 65 from 30 to 35% percent of gross income; at least triple “minimum rents” paid by the most destitute; and eliminate deductions that keep rents affordable for seniors and disabled people. Overall, rents would jump overnight an average of 32% for 4.6 million households--and an incredible 111% for HUD tenants in Puerto Rico!   Close to a million low income children of the most destitute households would face homelessness, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Trump wants to raise rents on the poorest of the poor, in order to cut taxes for the richest of the rich,” comments Deborah Arnold, 54, a minister and community activist and NAHT Vice President from Atlanta, Georgia.  “80% of HUD tenant households are led by women.  We, too, demand that Congress reject Trump’s vicious assault on the women, children, elderly and disabled people who live in HUD housing.” 

Carson’s bill also proposes “work requirements” for HUD rental assistance, in line with Trump’s recent Executive Order that would require people to have a job or enroll in dubious “work programs” in order to receive Medicaid, Housing Assistance and Food Stamps.  NAHT leaders denounced these proposals as administratively wasteful, ineffective and punitive, especially in the absence of jobs, training and resources to make them work.  Trump’s 2019 budget actually proposes to cut job training and child care programs that enable HUD tenants to keep and find work, including successful programs such as Family Self Sufficiency and Jobs Plus in Public Housing. 

“Trump lives in Public Housing--the White House. Will a work requirement be imposed on him?,” asked Geraldine Collins, 63, a disabled, retired medical administrator and NAHT VP/East who lives in senior housing on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “Congress should make Trump do something useful, rather than tweeting, playing golf, watching cable TV, and destroying the nation’s social safety net.”  

Comments Rachel Williams, 62, an Army widow, minister and long time community activist in Beaumont, Texas and NAHT Board VP/South:   “Adding millions to the ranks of destitute and homeless people is deeply cruel and un-American.  Homeland security begins with a home!”

Founded in 1991, NAHT is the national tenants union representing 2.1 million families in privately-owned, HUD assisted multifamily housing.   NAHT’s mission is to empower residents to save and improve their homes as affordable housing.   Contact NAHT to locate tenant spokespeople in your city.   

[email protected]

617-522-4857

Act Now to Save Our Homes!

In its FY 2019 budget request, the Trump Administration has once again proposed radically deep cuts to the HUD budget, rent increases for millions of tenants, and bogus “work requirements” that will throw tens of thousands of people on the streets.

While Trump’s cuts for 2019 may be “dead in the water” on Capitol Hill this year, they set a dangerous marker where the Administration wants to go in the next decade. Worse, Trump’s bogus “work requirements” for Medicaid, housing assistance and Food Stamps will be pushed in legislation expected to be filed in March--and has broader support on Capitol Hill.

The elected, all-tenant NAHT Board calls on NAHT affiliates and allies to RESIST these proposals! Plan a response in your community! Some examples of what you can do:

Line up tenant leaders for quotes in media stories about the cuts--issue a press release and call local media, to make tenant voices heard! Use the press release from the NAHT Board for quotes and messaging. Find information about how budget cuts affect your state in this state-by-state guide. Find out how much tenants’ rents will increase in your state here.

Distribute NAHT's Fact Sheet to tenants and allies. Add your own state's specific data for potential budget cuts, data available here.

Start a social media campaign. Post your messages to Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Coalition for Human Needs posted this useful guide for tweeting at your state's elected officials and sample tweets. Find your Senator’s Twitter handle here and your Representatives Twitter handle here. Organize Twitter users to tweet on the same day or in a specific time window using the same hashtag to get your topic “trending”. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition is recommending #handsoff as a hashtag to use across the movement.

Tell tenant stories. NAHT is collecting and posting stories of tenants affected by cuts on its Facebook page and website. Please send quotes from tenants, the name of the building they live in, if they are a Section 8 voucher tenant and a picture to [email protected] See example here.

Organize a press conference at a housing development, city agency or HUD office--invite elected officials to join tenants to protest the cuts! The Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants delivered a Cease and Desist Order to Donald Trump to the HUD in Boston to protest budget proposals and rent increases to tenants. See their flyer here.

Reach out to allies. Seniors, people with disabilities, CAP agencies, Legal Services, Food Stamp recipients, neighborhood groups and CDC’s have a direct stake in fighting the cuts. So do health care groups, trade unions, teachers and students. Peace groups can be allies fighting increases in Pentagon pork at the expense of the poor. Join with them! The Mass Peoples Budget Campaign is a good local model.

Join other national Days of Action. The Not One Penny Coalition is sponsoring Tax Day actions on April 14. The National Low Income Housing Coalition is calling for local Days of Action in early May. Join or sponsor an action, and make sure tenants voices are heard!

Contact your elected officials. Sign onto the letter from the Coalition for Human Needs with other groups here. CHN also created an email form for individuals to email their elected officials directly, found here.

Organize a postcard campaign demanding your Congress people oppose cuts! Last year, New York Tenants and Neighbors and the Texas Tenants Union collected postcards to present to their elected officials. You can organize press and social media when postcards are delivered to local offices. See NAHT's postcard and phone bank tip sheet here!

For resources and messaging ideas, including sample tweets and social media posts, visit NAHT’s resource page and 2018 specific resource list. We have assembled in one place key materials compiled by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the National Housing Law Project, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and the Coalition for Human Needs.

Keep NAHT posted of your local actions! We will post them on NAHT’s Facebook page and website.