Low-Income Co-Ops Do Without Gas for Years in Face of Steep Cost of Fixes

City Limits, October 4, 2023 – “Santacruz said there were different reasons behind the gas outages, from failed pressure tests to leaks, but a single explanation for why the residents of the buildings have been left without functioning stoves for months or years: a lack of money.

And few options exist to help finance the repairs. Santacruz expects the problem to befall other buildings and said it threatens the habitability of HDFCs, limited-equity, income-restricted apartments which make up part of the city’s affordable housing stock.

‘If you want the buildings to remain affordable and livable you have to invest in their systems and their structures,’ Santacruz said.” Read more

ANALYSIS: ‘Social Housing’ Bills Expose Ideological Rift Among Housing Providers

City Limits, October 4, 2023 – “Social housing is not some new or radical concept. In fact, for some time, it was a standard part of the approach to building and maintaining affordable housing in the city. The city’s public housing developments, apartment complexes like Amalgamated Houses built by unions, the Mitchell-Lama program launched in the 1950s by the state and the limited-equity coops initially fostered under the city’s Tenant Interim Lease program—and aided by organizations like the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board—all share fundamental elements of the social housing ethos.” Read more

The 7 Ideas in Mayor Adams’ Housing Plan, and How It Gets Built

The City, September 26, 2023 – “‘You are always going to combat NIMBYism,’ said Margy Brown, executive director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a city housing department official under former mayors. ‘Is it the administration’s job to do that, and I do think that this plan really tries to push forward on that in a balanced way.’

In order to become law, City Hall will seek the support of all 59 community boards — though it does not legally need their OK to proceed — and needs approval from the City Planning Commission and City Council.” Read more

Four advocates share how to make electrification more equitable in cities

Canary Media, September 21, 2023 – “‘One of our partners is the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, which supports home ownership in Black and brown communities. As an organization that’s not in the clean energy sector, they trusted me to see how we can work together to assess people’s homes, do energy efficiency and mobilize renewables in a way that creates ownership opportunities that are not exacerbating financial burdens. Climate work doesn’t start because there’s the Inflation Reduction Act; it starts because there’s a community that’s involved and is motivated.'” Read more

New York provides pre-development support for solar and storage for LMI housing

PV Magazine, August 24, 2023 – “The program has supported the New York City nonprofit Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), which supports affordable housing cooperatives in New York City, along with its nonprofit partner Solar One, to help add solar to 22 co-op buildings. UHAB conducts outreach to co-op residents, while Solar One designs projects, prepares cost estimates, and selects solar and/or storage construction firms.” Read more

Orgs That Help Tenants Sue Landlords Fear ‘Tone Deaf’ City Contract Changes

City Limits, August 24, 2023 – “For Jordan Cooper, organizing director with Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, or UHAB, robust funding for building-wide lawsuits is crucial. UHAB works with a dozen tenant organizations, through Housing Organizers for People Empowerment, or HOPE.  ‘Having the ability to recruit tenant associations and really committing to legal representation when they want to take landlords to court, that’s huge for us,’ she said. ‘Those are services that are extremely costly and rare without this city investment.'” Read more

As Hip-Hop Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary, Fordham Helps Preserve Its Legacy

Fordham News, August 9, 2023 – “Fast forward 40 years to the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. In a perverse inversion of the redlining that had devastated the Bronx at the time of hip-hop’s birth, 1520 was now laden with debt acquired by Wall Street investors who were failing to maintain the building. Organizers from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a group focused on preserving affordable housing, hoped documenting 1520’s history would help save it.” Read more

As New York’s Gas Infrastructure Ages, Some Residents Are Left With Leaking Pipes or No Gas at All

Inside Climate News, June 15, 2023 – “Lucia Santacruz, a project associate at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), works with New York City residents who are facing similar problems, particularly members of the Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC), which provides loans to nonprofits to develop low-income housing projects. Many residents report losing gas connections due to failed pressure tests. UHAB offers technical assistance and workshops to help residents navigate the situation and explore alternatives such as transitioning to gas-free homes.

‘We’re trying to make sure that HDFCs are not left behind in the city’s move towards electrification and decarbonization,’ Santacruz said.” Read more

Crown Heights tenants rally against ‘dangerous living conditions’

Caribbean Life, June 8, 2023 – “Singh said longtime tenants are demanding to purchase their buildings and turn them into a co-operative. At Sunday’s rally, tenants called for the passage of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), one of five bills on Housing Justice for All’s ‘Our Homes, Our Power platform’, which also includes Good Cause Eviction.

Singh said that, last year, tenants at a Bronx building ‘ousted an abusive landlord and bought out their building as a limited equity co-op.’ She said TOPA, sponsored by Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Marcela Mitayanes, would allow more tenants to follow suit by giving tenants more leverage to buy their own buildings and decide what happens to their homes.” Read more

Tenants from Crown Heights buildings hold protest, saying buildings not fit for families

ABC 7, June 4, 2023 – “Tenants from three buildings in Crown Heights protested on Sunday claiming their apartment buildings are not fit for families. Michelle Stamp lives in 1392 Sterling Place. Three generations of her family grew up there.

After the owner died, she says no one has taken responsibility for the upkeep of the building. So she and her neighbors began a rent strike 18 months ago. Five months ago, another building at 1074 Eastern joined the rent strike. Also under the same ownership.Now, 1018 is linking arms – they have the same late owner and the same complaints.” Read more.

Crown Heights apartment building joins 2 others in rent strike

News 12, June 4, 2023 – “Tenants from three Crown Heights apartment buildings are now striking against their landlord after they say their calls for repairs have gone unanswered for years. The tenants say they have had more than enough and have tried everything to get management to make critical repairs.

Two buildings have been on rent strike and now tenants from a third building are joining the fight. Tenants at 1018 and 1074 Eastern Parkway, as well as 1392 Sterling Place say their living conditions have deteriorated in the last several years.” Read more.

Residents of 3 Brooklyn buildings with 851 recorded open violations rally for help

Gothamist, June 4, 2023 – “‘When you don’t have safety in your own home, it really gets to you,’ said Monique Roberts, a tenant advocate with H.O.P.E. ‘It’s a low-level kind of harassment that weighs you down.’

Roberts has been helping the mostly immigrant, working-class tenants fight to fix and renovate their homes, which they hope to one day convert into a cooperative.” Read more.

A NY Law Puts A Steep Price On ‘Serious’ Building Disrepair. These Tenants Are Fighting To Use It.

City Limits, May 29, 2023 – “Rivers told City Limits that the deposit requirement is unfair. ‘Because not everybody has that money to pay,’ she said. ‘And all this happened in the time of the pandemic, you know? And a lot of people lost their jobs, couldn’t go to work, got sick, and all these things.’

To address this, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, or UHAB, is administering a revolving fund. What started out as a crowdfunding effort in early 2021 now has about $155,000, according to the organization, put forward primarily by the Robin Hood Foundation and North Star Fund. Read more.

The Climate-Killing Monster in Your Basement

Hellgate, April 21, 2023 – “‘We had two residents that fought us tooth and nail to not have solar,’ Shaughn Dolcy, who lives in a co-op in Brooklyn, told other homeowners at an event put on by the group UHAB. ‘Because they’re like, oh, well, you know, the air conditioners work just fine. But that doesn’t even make any sense!’ Dolcy’s co-op ultimately agreed to install solar panels, and they’ve produced so much energy, Con Ed is sending them rebates for helping to power the surrounding neighborhood. Residents have reaped the rewards as well. ‘It took us some time to actually get the benefits, but I will tell you this, for about two and a half years, we haven’t seen an electric bill at all,’ said Dolcy.” Read more.

What If We Made It Easier for Renters to Buy Their Buildings?

Curbed, March 8, 2023 – “…But there are far fewer ways to create HDFC co-ops today, says Arielle Hersh, an organizer with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), a nonprofit that specializes in these conversions […] The chance of success goes up if tenants have three things: organization, funding, and a way to stall. That’s basically what TOPA tries to provide. Last year, Hersh helped a group of Bronx tenants purchase their own building, who learned some lessons that they think could guide others.” Read more.

Listen: 50 years of empowering tenants and rebuilding NYC neighborhoods

WBAI, March 6, 2023 – Tom Robbins interviews former executive director Andrew Reicher about the remarkable tale of the rise, fall and resurrection of one of the city’s first sweat equity tenant co-ops, a building on E. 11th St. with a windmill up on the roof that beat Con Ed in court and spawned home solar programs. Read more

NYC’s Affordable ‘Social Housing’ Is Fading

Hellgate, March 6, 2023 – In the 1970s, grassroots neighborhood organizations such as Banana Kelly in the Bronx and Los Sures in Williamsburg began converting distressed and abandoned buildings into limited-equity co-ops known as Housing Development Finance Corporations, or HFDCs. In New York City today, there are about 1,200 HDFCs with a total of 25,000 apartments, according to the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. Few new HFDCs are being created, however: The number produced annually has dropped from more than 100 buildings a year in 1985 to less than 15 a year since 2015, according to a report by the Housing Committee. Read more

These New York City apartments are affordable — and sustainable

Canary Media, February 9, 2023 – Soon after that, homes will be sold to households earning between 50 and 90 percent of the area median income; several city and state programs are providing subsidies and tax breaks to make properties more affordable. Although homebuyers will own the actual structure, the land itself will remain controlled by the Interboro Community Land Trust, a nonprofit initiative that includes the local Habitat affiliate, Center for NYC Neighborhoods, Mutual Housing Association of New York and Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. Read more

The East Village Standoff I Missed

Curbed, January 16, 2023 – Faced with the possibility of needing to repeat this kind of action over and over — and still trying to work out the ramifications of the lawsuit, which, though it didn’t save most of the squats on 13th Street, did establish that squatters have an adverse possession case — the city blinked. The result: In the 2000s, the city sold 11 Lower East Side squats, including the single remaining one on 13th, to the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board for $1 each, and the buildings became co-ops, with former squatters assuming the debt incurred for renovations to bring the buildings up to code. Read more

From the Heartland to the Hudson, access to housing is a struggle and solutions aren’t simple

KBIA, December 20, 2022 – “In the early days, people would actually take over the building, clean it out and then fix it up with their own labor,” said Andrew Reicher, the executive director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB).

UHAB supports New Yorkers who want to take over their buildings as Limited Equity Co-ops, where the residents own their building and are responsible for management and upkeep, making their lives more affordable and stable. But, Reicher said residents need lower tax rates or low interest government loans to afford these homes. Read more

Affordable Housing Advocates Push for Housing Co-Ops

City Bureau, December 8, 2022 – The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) was created in New York City in 1973 to combat the worsening conditions of neighborhoods that had been subjected to redlining. Today, UHAB works toward “democratic community control” of housing through the creation and sustaining of housing co-ops, granting first-time homebuyer loans and strengthening tenants unions. The organization is supported by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Council as well as banks and land trusts. Read more

The Crumbling Building Where No One Claims To Be the Landlord

Curbed, December 8, 2022 – Stamp says the tenants will end their rent strike if the repairs are completed as promised. If not, all options remain on the table, including finding a way to convert the building into a co-op and buy it, something that the Urban Homestead organization helped another building in the Bronx do earlier this year. But first, she hopes they get repairs as soon as possible. Read more

A Year Into a Rent Strike Over Living Conditions, Crown Heights Tenants Plan to Go Co-op

Brownstoner, November 7, 2022 – “Nothing has really changed,” Dulik said of the building’s condition under current ownership. “What needs to happen in general is getting everyone in the buildings organized and on the same page in fighting for it. [Second] is to find financing [and] convince the landlord to sell to the tenants.”

He said while the decision to run the building as a co-op will be a long term fight, it is something that Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, which operates HOPE, has done before. Earlier this year, the group successfully converted a Bronx apartment building into a co-op after years of struggle with the landlord. Read more

Rats, Roaches, Leaks: Rent-Stabilized Building Owners Whose Bets Went Sour Delay Repairs

The City, November 11, 2022 – “They can’t deregulate tenants in the same way, they don’t have the same power as to evict. So they’re seeing their business models slowly becoming untenable,” said Arielle Hersh, a project associate with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB),a nonprofit that helps  low-income tenants buy their homes. “And I think it’s been really clear, at least in some of the buildings that I’m working with, that the landlord stopped all investment in the building as sort of a retaliatory result.” Read more

‘Nothing has really changed’: After a year-long rent strike, Crown Heights tenants hope to go co-op

Brooklyn Paper, November 2, 2022 – Tenants of a deteriorating Crown Heights apartment building marked the one-year anniversary of their rent strike with a Halloween-themed rally on Oct. 30.

Residents of 1392 Sterling Place have been refusing to pay their rent since last fall after their building management continuously failed to meet the repair demands of their decaying home, said Charlie Dulik, a tenant organizer for Housing Organizers for People Empowerment. Read more

Mondays Are for Buying Your Building From Your Dead Slumlord

Hellgate, October 31, 2022 – Last November, the residents at 1392 Sterling Place, a four-story apartment building located in the Weeksville portion of Crown Heights, went on rent strike. To keen-eyed followers of the city’s worst slumlords, the address would have been familiar—it was part of a portfolio of Brooklyn properties owned by Rubin Dukler, a regular on the city’s worst landlord lists. 

One year later, not much has changed—residents are still on rent strike, their ceilings are still leaking, and their building currently has almost 500 open HPD violations. (HPD has filed a lawsuit to compel repairs to be made, but as UHAB organizer Charlie Dulik told me, “HPD is pretty useless. There’s literally one person in the department that is managing this lawsuit, and I can’t imagine how many cases he has.”) Read more

This Non-Profit Wants to Help You Turn Your Building Into a Co-op

Dwell, October 6, 2022 – “You see these waves of co-op development,” says Andrew Reicher. “The ’50s, the ’70s—and again today.” As president of New York-based non-profit the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), Reicher has been on the scene long enough to have witnessed the last wave, to survive the ensuing lull, and now to reckon with another co-op upswing. Originally trained as an architect, Reichert became fascinated with the affordability field in the early 1970s, moving to the South Bronx to help community-led groups save their buildings from the arson and blight then ravaging the area. Read more

Queens Renters Turn Derelict Building Into an Affordable Co-op

Habitat, July 20, 2022 – “We’re still creating limited-equity co-ops, but there are not that many ways for that to happen anymore,” says Arielle Hersh, a project associate at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), a nonprofit that assists in the formation of affordable co-ops and provides residents with technical assistance. 

Of the more than 7,000 co-ops in New York City, about 1,200 are HDFC’s, and most of them were converted decades ago. In the past five years, only 11 rental buildings have been converted to HDFC’s. So that makes the Sunnyside project both an anachronism and a rarity. Read more

Bronx tenants on verge of buying their apartments for $2,500 each

The Real Deal, May 7, 2022 – A group of Bronx tenants who banded together to fight rent increases proposed by a new landlord are nearing the end of a city-backed process to buy the building from him and sell themselves their living spaces for just $2,500 each.

The money to purchase the building came thanks to a low-interest bridge loan from a donor close to the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a nonprofit that supports HDFCs. In the end, Giddings agreed in February to sell for $2.6 million to the tenants. Read more

A Landlord ‘Underestimated’ His Tenants. Now They Could Own the Building.

New York Times, May 6, 2022 – A nonprofit organization paid the landlord $2.6 million for the property in February 2022, and plans to eventually hand it over to the tenants, who will be able to buy their apartments for $2,500 each. Over the past five years, only 11 rental buildings have converted to this type of limited equity co-op, called a Housing Development Fund Corporation co-op, where tenants buy their apartments at prices set by the city, and can sell them for a limited profit. Read more

Residents Of Eight Affordable Housing Co-ops Celebrate Climate Action Pledge In Harlem!

Harlem World, April 28, 2022 – The Climate Action Pledge and its accompanying Resource Guidebook was produced by Co-ops Go Solar, a joint campaign of UHAB and Solar One which increases access to solar power and other renewable technologies for New York’s affordable housing community. The Climate Action Pledge encourages HDFC co-ops to set and track their own climate goals, and highlights actions ranging from upgrading their building systems to be more energy efficient to fighting food insecurity through maintaining community fridges. Once an HDFC co-op signs the pledge, they connect to a network of climate leaders and free technical assistance from UHAB and Solar One to achieve their goals. Read more

Affordable Co-ops Get a Roadmap to Cutting Costs and Carbon Emissions

Habitat Magazine, April 28, 2022 – To top it off, the co-op has just signed the new Climate Action Pledge created by the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) in conjunction with Solar One, a nonprofit that provides technical assistance to multifamily buildings that are considering solar energy. Signers of the pledge agree to participate in at least one aspect of four categories: energy efficiency, training, neighborhood care and community engagement. The pledge comes with a comprehensive 32-page Resource Guidebook that offers a wealth of information on how co-ops with limited means can save money while helping save the planet. Read more

Three adjacent buildings on rent strike protesting egregious conditions in Crown Heights

Brooklyn Paper, April 25, 2022 – Now, Walters is joining her fellow tenants in withholding her $1,100 monthly rent check to the landlord until the management company starts providing basic, consistent maintenance. They were inspired by their next-door neighbors at 1392 Sterling Place, who have been on a rent strike of their own since November under parallel pretenses — 1402 and 1408 tenants contacted Housing Organizers for People Empowerment (HOPE), the group facilitating 1392’s strike, and expressed interest in an action of their own. Read more

Habitat Net Zero: An Ambitious Plan to Rehab Abandoned Buildings in Queens

Next City, March 24, 2022 – That proposal, called “Habitat Net Zero,” is now breaking ground. The 13 derelict homes will be torn down or rehabbed into 16 permanently affordable homes and transferred into the ownership of Interboro Community Land Trust, which was founded in 2017. Interboro is a nonprofit coordinated by four organizations, including Habitat for NYC and Westchester County, Center for NYC Neighborhoods, Mutual Housing Association of New York and Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. Like most CLTs, they will enter into a lifetime ground lease with homeowners and limit resale value. Read more

Bronx Tenants Celebrate Step to Becoming ‘Self-Landlords’

Next City, March 10, 2022 – On February 7, the five-story building at 700 East 134th Street was sold to the nonprofit Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB). The nonprofit will help tenants convert the building to an HDFC co-op, a type of cooperatively owned housing designed to keep units permanently affordable. UHAB will help the tenants form a corporation that will take ownership of the building, with each tenant owning a share corresponding to the unit they occupy.

As an HDFC — which stands for Housing Development Finance Corporation — the building will be less vulnerable to real estate speculation. Read more

Mayor Adams Announces Significant Quality-of-Life Improvements, New Affordable Homeownership Opportunities in Southeast Queens

NYC Press Release, March 9, 2022 – “The ownership of the land by the community land trust, coupled with the net-zero features of the homes and the Article XI property tax exemption, constitute a potent trifecta that not only strengthens the permanent affordability of the homes but also reinforces the opportunity for homeowners to build personal as well as generational wealth,” said John Edward Dallas, coordinator, Interboro Community Land Trust. “Interboro thanks Habitat, HPD, NYCHA, LISC, and everyone else who made this trailblazing and much-needed permanently affordable homeownership project possible.” Read more

Help tenants control their own housing

Daily News, March 6, 2022 – For years, residents of 700 E. 134th St., a 21-unit building in the South Bronx, fought their landlord’s efforts to illegally drive them out of their homes. After a prolonged lawsuit, the tenants’ association is celebrating buying the building, which they will turn into a limited-equity cooperative with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board.

With our Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), we hope to help facilitate many similar celebrations for tenants across New York State. Read more

After protracted fight, Bronx tenants begin to convert their building to a co-op

AMNY, March 2, 2022 – After real estate investor Jim Giddings bought the building for over $4 million in 2017 with the goal of turning it into market-rate housing and substantially increasing the rents, the tenants came together to contest his attempt to formally overturn the building’s rent stabilized status.

Instead of getting discouraged, the tenants decided on a new, more ambitious tactic: to put together financing for a bid to purchase the building themselves. In 2019, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), a nonprofit that specializes in supporting resident-controlled housing, joined the group’s efforts to turn the building into cooperatively owned housing. Read more

The Forgotten Answer to the Affordable Housing Crisis

Eugene Weekly, February 3, 2022 – According to the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) — a New York City-based co-op support group — the first housing co-ops in the U.S. were built in New York in the mid-late 1800s, and their development through the early 1900s was largely tied to labor unions and European immigrants. Now, there remains a higher concentration of co-ops on the East Coast than the West Coast, which UHAB executive director Andrew Reicher says is a result of historical and demographic differences between the two regions. Read more

Living our co-operative identity to make a sustainable future for all

Co-op News, December 30, 2021 – Dirk Vansintjan, president of RESCoop (the federation of European renewable energy co-ops), said the key to the successful shift from fossils to renewables and from centralised to decentralised energy production is to keep profits local and ensure that they are invested back in the community. Delegates also heard how schemes that connected energy co-ops with low carbon housing or community initiatives – such as those run by the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board in Manhattan, USA and the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op, Canada – were integral in making renewable energy accessible. Read more

Co-ops could help solve San Francisco’s affordable housing crisis

San Francisco Examiner, November 5, 2021 – New York City offers one example of how the process could work. Local government pays a nonprofit called Urban Homesteading Assistance Board to provide a slew of services to permanently affordable co-ops to create “strong boards and healthy buildings.” UHAB, which provides resources for residents and tenant boards on its website, recently launched a program dedicated to rehabilitating the 262 affordable co-ops citywide determined to be in severe distress. Read more

Co-op Leaders Seek to Reconnect with Movement’s Social Justice Roots

Nonprofit Quarterly, October 27, 2021 – This year’s class, included, in addition to Zimbleman, Vern Dosch, who for decades led a national rural utility support cooperative, the National Information Systems Cooperative; Andrew Reicher, executive director for the past 40 years of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) in New York City, a group that helps create and sustain limited-equity housing co-ops; and Clark Arrington, a cooperative finance leader, who currents works for Seed Commons, a national network of community-based worker co-op loan funds.

Reicher conceded that co-ops often fall short of their emancipatory goals but offered that he sees in the current moment “real interest in building and rebuilding and fixing what is wrong with the co-op model.”. Read more.

Why These New Yorkers Stopped Paying Rent

The New York Times, October 6, 2021 – Ms. Edwards became one of a dozen residents — about half the building’s tenants — who are withholding rent until the landlord forgives the debt owed by residents affected by the pandemic and makes repairs to a building they say has been neglected for too long. The protest at 1616 President Street is in some ways a microcosm of the way the pandemic has pushed many tenants in the nation’s largest city and most expensive housing market to the brink. Read more.

Four co-operators to be honoured in US Cooperative Hall of Fame 2021

Co-op News, September 20, 2021 – Mr Reicher became executive director of New York City’s Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) in 1981, where he led the organisation in its mission to empower low-income residents to create housing co-ops and strong tenant associations. During his time with UHAB, the number of low-income resident-owned housing co-ops in New York City has swelled from several dozen to over 1,300 buildings, serving more than 30,000 households, making the city home to the biggest community of shared-equity housing co-ops in the US. Read more.

Renderings Revealed For RAMSA-Designed Affordable Housing Property At 1640-1642 Anthony Avenue In Claremont, The Bronx

New York Yimby, September 15, 2021 – Members of the development team include Habitat NYC and Westchester, Camber Property Group, and Almat Urban, which will eventually transfer ownership of the Interboro Community Land Trust, or CLT. Interboro CLT is a collaboration between the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, Habitat for Humanity New York City, the Mutual Housing Association of New York, and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. Read more.

From Mobile Home Parks to Multifamily Housing Cooperatives

Shelterforce, August 2, 2021 – In the past, UHAB worked with local housing practitioners to help create cooperatives in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, Des Moines, Omaha, and Washington, D.C., UHAB Executive Director Andrew Reicher says. Some of those co-ops are still operating, but as federal funding declined over the years many of the local organizations that helped create and nurture them disappeared. Restoring and expanding that provider structure is essential to the endurance and growth of co-ops, Reicher says. Read more.

Cooperatives and Community Land Trusts: Natural Partners?

Shelterforce, August 3, 2021 – Despite their relatively limited impact, land trusts are a much better understood tool today than they were in the 1970s and 1980s. Advocates think the model can now provide the kind of longevity and professional oversight that limited-equity cooperatives often lack. “Having a land trust that’s permanent underneath provides some definition for what happens after 40 years, when the regulatory agreement runs out, when the restrictions that are built into your mortgage run out,” says Reicher. “The land trust provides a framework under which the new rules could be figured out. Built into the DNA of a land trust is the stewardship side of it.” Read more.

Interboro CLT: A Committed Pipeline from Powerhouse Community Development Groups

Shelterforce, July 13, 2021 – Interboro Community Land Trust has made its first two purchases. Both are distressed single-family properties that will now remain stable and affordable for their current residents. Interboro is a collaboration between UHAB, the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, Habitat for Humanity NYC, and the Mutual Housing Association of New York. Units will be made up of single-family homes, individual shared-equity co-op buildings, and scattered-site shared-equity co-ops. Read more.

Developer says cooperative plans are ‘crucial’ to help ease Maine housing crisis

Maine Biz, June 17, 2021 – Executive Director Andrew Reicher joined Maine Cooperative Development Partners and Hay Runner on a panel about cooperative limited-equity housing. When people can afford their housing, it means they can grow financially in other ways, Reicher said. “You actually have disposable income, an opportunity to use unused income to start a business, or go to school, or send your kids to college,” he said. Read more.

Reps. Maloney, Omar Introduce the Affordable Housing Preservation Act

The National Herald, April 26, 2021 – UHAB is proud to support the Affordable Housing Preservation Act, which will fund the creation of community-owned low-income cooperatives. “UHAB thanks Congresswoman Omar and Congresswoman Maloney for introducing this bill to provide much needed affordable housing,” Andrew Reicher, the Executive Director of UHAB said. “As the Congresswomen know, representing two states with rich co-op histories, Limited Equity Co-op Housing is a time-tested model that can provide permanently affordable housing and homeownership to solve our nation’s current housing crisis. The Affordable Housing Preservation Act of 2021 gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that.” Read more.

The Bronx Becomes a Focal Point in 2021 Mayor’s Race

Gotham Gazette, February 8, 2021 – Andrew Reicher, executive director of Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), said the next mayor needs to follow community voices in planning rather than de Blasio’s “top-down, ignore-the-community, impose-it-from-above approach.” “The issues that [the neighborhood plan] tackles are issues that were of concern to the community and the solutions were ones that the community looked at and said, ‘Yeah, that’s what we want.’” Read more.

A Habitat Chapter Embraces Community Land Trusts in the Big Apple

Nonprofit Quarterly, February 18, 2021 – As Dunbar explains, “We discovered a few other organizations interested in the community land trust model, who were asking some similar questions.” This led to the creation of a joint venture now known as Interboro, which came together in 2017. It supports not only Habitat NYC, but also the Center for New York City NeighborhoodsMutual Housing Association of NY, and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB). Read more.

Executive Director Andrew Reicher Inducted into the Co-op Hall of Fame

Cooperative Hall of Fame, January 6, 2021 – Congratulations to our Executive Director Andrew Reicher on induction into the Co-op Hall of Fame! “Because of Andy’s selfless dedication, constant innovation, and high achievement, low-income housing cooperatives in New York City exist and thrive. Strongly rooted in the communities he serves, Andy’s insight, experience, and tireless efforts has had a lasting and profound impact on the lives of thousands.” Read more.

No Pipeline in North Brooklyn

Working Class Heroes, December 13, 2020 – Monique Roberts and Fabian Rogers of HOPE gave an interview on the podcast Working Class Heroes, along with Mi Casa Resiste organizer Pati Ankalli. “People have so much on their plate already, and so utilities payments are just another layer to it, not to mention the health affects of it,” said Monique. “So we’re bridging environmental justice and housing justice.” Listen now.

Co-ops in the Time of Covid

The New York Times, December 11, 2020HDFC resident and original homesteader David Calvert and Director of Communications and Fundraising Rania Dalloul were featured in the New York Times to discuss how HDFC co-ops are weathering COVID-19. “‘So many of us are not thinking about leaving the city, but redoubling our efforts to make it a great place,’ he said. ‘But it’s built block by block, people by people, and that is our formula.’” Read more.

Are These the Cheapest Apartments For Sale in NYC?

New York Post, November 30, 20201015 Summit Avenue boasted the least expensive apartments for sale in all of New York City. “At 1015 Summit, which is in a low-income area, earnings can’t be greater than $95,520 for one resident and $122,880 for a family of three. HDFC apartments are also intended for long-term living, not investment properties.” Read more.

Listen: An Oral History of UHAB

Interference Archive, November 6, 2020 –Listen to a podcast about the history of UHAB created by volunteers of Interference Archive. The podcast features interviews with UHAB staff who recount the origins of Urban Homesteading. Read more.

The City’s ‘Worst Landlord’ Responded to His Tenants’ Rent Strike by Trying to Evict Them

Curbed, November 30, 2020 –Residents of 1616 President St in Brooklyn, who have been on rent strike since March, are being threatened with eviction. HOPE leader Vincia Barber was quoted: “’I’m not going to give up the fight . . . I could be the only one standing up, and I’ll still stand up to him.'” Read more.

He Was Thriving in New York’s Art Scene. The Virus Changed Everything.

The New York Times, May 20, 2020HOPE member Najee Wilson is featured in the Times’ Quarantine Diaries series, where he mentions his participation in Housing Organizers for People Empowerment (HOPE): “Najee paid his bills in April with his stimulus check. In May, it was his unemployment check and some help from family that got him through. He is overwhelmed by the thought of being jobless in June. He and some neighbors are organizing a rent strike.” Watch Video.

NYC’s Affordable HDFC Co-ops, Explained

Curbed, March 25, 2020 –“Lewis searched for listings through the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, which is known for HDFC assistance; its resources include a “market and match” program with unit listings and a list of HDFC-oriented attorneys. She also took a HDFC homebuying class with the organization. ‘It was a way to learn more about these types of properties,’ Lewis says.” Read more.

Bringing Solar Power to New York’s Affordable Apartment Buildings

Next City, March 3, 2020 – “Solar Uptown Now was UHAB’s first big foray into solar, and UHAB’s credibility with the resident-owners of HDFC buildings was a key to moving the project forward. The 13 buildings participating in Solar Uptown Now could save nearly $2 million in energy costs over the 25-year life of the panels.” Read More

Bill: Make Landlords Give Tenants First Shot to Buy Buildings

The Real Deal, January 31, 2020 – “In New York, groups including the Community Service Society, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, the New Economy Project and tenant coalition Housing Justice For All are pushing for the state to dedicate revenue to finance and provide supportive services for such purchases.” Read More.

Co-op Collectibles

Urban Omnibus, January 8, 2020 – “Since the early 1970s, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) has played an important role in creating and preserving permanently affordable housing in New York City … But UHAB’s mark can be measured in smaller ways as well.” Read More.

A Lifeline for Preserving Limited-Equity Co-ops in New York

Next City, July 9, 2019 – “Groups like UHAB have been a lifeline, offering technical assistance and help finding loans and grants to co-ops like 645 Barretto Street. This helps stabilize co-ops so that low- and moderate-income owners can stay in their homes.” Read more.

Building For Us: Stories Of Homesteading And Cooperative Housing

Gotham Center, November 14, 2019 – “As the system broke down, grassroots organizations filled the void. The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), which partnered with Interference Archive on this exhibition, was created in 1973 under the aegis of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to help support New Yorkers who wanted to take over abandoned buildings and become homeowners.” Read more.

Press Release: Seabury Cooperative receives financing to preserve and improve their property

Connecticut Green Bank, August 13, 2019 – “‘Creating and preserving cooperative housing like Seabury is our mission’ said Andrew Reicher, Executive Director of UHAB. ‘We are excited that our training, technical assistance and bridge lending could help preserve this important affordable housing resource in New Haven.’” Read full Press Release here.

CityLab University: Shared-Equity Homeownership 

CityLab, April 29, 2019 – “In 1978 alone, 11,000 buildings in New York City were converted to limited equity co-ops through these programs, according to Andy Reicher, executive director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), which supports limited-equity co-ops.” Read more.


Rent-stabilized tenants accuse Crown Heights landlord of harassment, neglect

Brooklyn Daily Eagle – February 22, 2019 – “Conditions inside the buildings include inadequate heat and hot water during the winter, mold, water leaks, mice and roaches, missing window guards, uncapped radiator valves and broken front doors and intercoms, according to Urban Homesteading Assistance and Brooklyn Legal Services’ Tenants Rights Coalition.” Read More.

Here’s a smart solar installation program for affordable housing you should copy

Solar Builder – December 6, 2018 – “Our joint partnership through SUN has provided education, free technical assistance, and financing options for HDFC co-ops, empowering residents to make informed decisions about if and how to use renewable energy for themselves,” said Sasha Hill, UHAB Project Associate. “When residents get power to make decisions, you can expect outcomes like this: a focus on continued affordability and sustainability for the future.” Read More.

Financing the Future of Cooperative Low-Income Housing

Next City – November 27, 2018 – “‘It’s about economies of scale,’ says Andy Reicher, who runs the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a New York City nonprofit that has provided property management training to co-op members since the 1970s. ‘It’s difficult for a lot of lenders to make much smaller loans of under a million dollars, [typically] a few hundred thousand dollars, that oftentimes limited-equity co-ops need.'” Read More.

Go Solar Helps Buildings Plug Into Sun For Power

The Villager – November 16, 2018 – “This October, Pfandler’s building at E. Second St. and Avenue C finally was finally able to plug into sun power through the Co-ops Go Solar campaign. The effort is a partnership between two nonprofits, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and Solar One, to provide housing development fund corporation (H.D.F.C.) cooperatives with technical assistance to retrofit buildings with solar panels.” Read More.

Harnessing The Sun to Power Equitable Development in NYC

Next City – November 7, 2018 – “Solar One recently launched the “Co-ops Go Solar” campaign in partnership with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a nonprofit that supports residents to form and maintain co-op buildings. The campaign provides free technical assistance, cost estimates, roof inspections, financial incentives and funding options to install solar panels on limited-equity cooperatives — a particular form of co-op subsidized by the city to make homeownership available for low-income households. Co-ops that sign-on join a purchasing group to negotiate for lower prices.” Read More.

The State of Shared-Equity Homeownership

Shelterforce – May 7, 2018 – “Alexander Roesch of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, which is the biggest affordable co-op developer in New York City, says that since 2005, UHAB has developed 54 limited-equity co-ops encompassing 1,425 co-op units. However, relatively few new shared-equity cooperatives have been created in places where co-ops were growing in the 1960s and ’70s. And the new units that have been created have typically been through converting existing buildings into shared equity co-ops.” Read More

Affordable Solar Comes to Affordable Co-ops

Habitat Magazine – April 4, 2018 –  “’In the fall of 2016 we hosted a series of training sessions for shareholders and board members through UHAB (Urban Homesteading Assistance Board),’ Heckler recalls. ‘One session was about energy efficiency. Two technical consultants came to a training session, and they talked our building through what it would look like to do this project. It seemed feasible for us to go solar.’ Income from the co-op’s flip tax was crucial.” Read More.

Housing Brass Tacks: Limited-Equity Co-ops

Urban Omnibus – January 10, 2018 – “UHAB’s executive director, Andrew Reicher, took us through the benefits and structure of limited-equity co-ops and the group’s evolving work to organize New Yorkers for an affordable city.” Read More.

Council, administration strike accord on predatory equity bill

POLITICO – November 29, 2017 – “‘This issue has been the bane of organizers and advocates and tenants across the city for over a decade now,’ said Kerri White, the Director of Organizing and Policy at Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a nonprofit that organizes and supports tenants. ‘From an advocate’s perspective, we’ve seen clearly the connection between harassment and physical conditions problems in buildings tied to how owners are purchasing properties, especially in rent stabilized properties,’ she said. Predatory equity grew out of the recent housing boom and bust in the city. While the housing crash’s effect on single family homes was well documented, the effects on apartment buildings were less publicized and continue long after the recession.” Read More.

First Citywide Community Land Trust Announced for NYC

Next City – October 24, 2017-  Interboro CLT partners include the Center for NYC Neighborhoods (CNYCN), Habitat for Humanity New York City (Habitat NYC), Mutual Housing Association of NY (MHANY), and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB). They hope the new CLT can help address the widening economic inequality that threatens the economic and racial diversity of the city.

Tenants Catch a Break

The Indypendent – August 20, 2017 – “’Construction as harassment’ involves the demolition and renovation of vacant apartments in a manner intended to ‘make life miserable for the tenants they’re trying to move out,’ explains Kerri White, director of organizing and policy at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. It’s a ‘double bonus’ for unscrupulous landlords, because they can add the cost of the renovations to the rent on vacant apartments, and if any tenants move out after their ceiling collapses or they spend a month without cooking gas, the owner can renovate their apartments and charge more.” Read More.

Investors Move Quietly in East New York Amid de Blasio’s Housing Construction

City Limits – July 17, 2017 – “The building will soon be auctioned by the city to the highest bidder, and Urban Homesteading Assistance Board organizer Jorgy Flecha is concerned that given the zoning changes in the neighborhood, that auction might attract another neglectful owner only interested in higher rents.” Read More.

Will Limited-Equity Cooperatives Make a Comeback?

Shelterforce – April 25,2017 – “But navigating through a real estate purchase is complicated without help. Nonprofits like UHAB, which assist low-income residents with all the details of turning their buildings into co-ops, make a huge difference. UHAB has been part of the preservation of more than 1,600 buildings in New York City since 1973, working often with the Tenant Interim Lease program, which allowed tenants to purchase city-owned buildings that landlords had abandoned.” Read More.

CityViews: The Case for New Regs for the City’s Affordable Co-ops

City Limits – March 21, 2017 – “Any new regulation must be reasonable and respectful of the unique history of [HDFC co-ops]. It must not be onerous or seem demeaning to residents, who already work so hard to run and maintain their often aging buildings.” Read More.

Help Is on the Way for Low-Income Co-op Buildings in NYC

Next City – March 1, 2017 – “‘The real risk is that the buildings languish in the meantime,’ Reicher says, with residents living in substandard conditions. The city has low-cost loan programs meant to provide capital for repairs to co-ops and other multifamily buildings, but buildings need to have a plan to resolve municipal debt as a condition of obtaining those loans.” Read More.

City Pushes to Regulate Low-Income Coops Amid Some Shareholders’ Opposition

City Limits – February 24, 2017 – “Samantha Kattan, [UHAB’s Assistant Director of Organizing, Policy, and Research] recognizes the amount of labor and resources invested by shareholders in the past and the need for HPD to amp up its support to HDFCs going forward. But she says it’s not wise for buildings to rely on the random event of an apartment sale for revenue. Instead, HDFCs can take advantage of HPD’s new Green Preservation Loan program, among other available benefits.” Read More

Backers of Community Land Trusts Seek to Broaden Support

City Limits – February 7, 2017 – “In general, while there is excitement for the RFEI, activists are wary of the fact that HPD has not made any promises to actually respond to the proposals received. At the panel event, UHAB’s Melanie Berkowitz said HPD ought to disclose the results of the RFEI in a report so the public can be witness to the level of support for community land trusts.” Read More.

Why 2017 Could be Make-or-Break for New York’s Affordable HDFC Co-ops

Brick Underground – January 12, 2017 – “‘Instead of giving help and guidelines, this proposal is taking the viewpoint that there have been all these problems in these buildings, and we’re going to sort of police them,’ says UHAB’s Andy Reicher. ‘And that’s where the tone is wrong. These people have taken on the city’s worst housing, and have been improving and running their buildings under difficult circumstances and providing affordable housing. They ought to be recognized, and the regulatory agreement ought to be there to make things easier for them.'” Read More.

Heroic Board Member Helps Rescue Distressed Bronx Co-op

HABITAT – October 27, 2016 – “’This is not a formalized process with a form you can download from the internet,’ says [Samantha] Kattan [Assistant Director of Organizing & Policy at UHAB]. ‘This is something we had to work out with HPD. To achieve tax forgiveness involves so many hurdles that nobody had even tried it since 2001.’” Read More.

The Last Battle for Brooklyn, America’s Most Unaffordable Place to Buy a Home

The Guardian – October 3, 2016 – “The CHTU approach is straightforward. ‘We have to disrupt the landlords’ business model by helping tenants remain in their apartments,’ Girón says. There are two keys: building community, then educating tenants about their rights and how to enforce them.” Read More.

Here’s Why a Fight Is Brewing Over 30,000 Affordable Co-ops in NYC

DNAinfo – September 27, 2016 – When re-selling affordable co-ops, it’s “‘bad policy’ for HDFCs to rely on flip taxes for [building] upkeep. ‘You [would] have to make sure someone moves every year,’” according to UHAB’s Andy Reicher. Read More.

Why are rich kids able to buy affordable HDFC apartments?

Brick Underground – September 27, 2016 – “While some HDFC buildings are subject to flip taxes to discourage re-selling ‘affordable’ apartments at a high price, housing advocates are now also looking into the possibility of sales price caps to ensure that the co-ops stay within reach for low-income buyers. ‘We’ve been talking for years about regulating sales prices, because this is an issue,’ says Samantha Kattan, UHAB’s assistant director of organizing, policy, and research.” Read More

Photos: Crown Heights Tenants Union Protests Landlord Abuse

Gothamist – August 14, 2016 – “‘Crown Heights is basically Ground Zero for gentrification,’ Donna Mossman of the Crown Heights Tenant Union told Gothamist. The Tenants Union was founded in 2014, after Mossman and other neighborhood residents decided to mobilize against harassment by their management company, BCB Property Management, which Mossman said was trying to illegally drive rent-stabilized tenants from the building.” Read More.

Squatters of the Lower East Side

Jacobin – April 2014 – ” In the final days of the Giuliani administration…[it] was determined that the titles for the remaining eleven squats would transfer to UHAB; UHAB, in turn, would oversee the conversion of those buildings into low-income, limited-equity co-ops. And so the squatters would get to remain in their homes, becoming homeowners in the eyes of the law.” Read More.

Measuring the Impact of Airbnb Rentals on New York City’s Housing Crisis

Skift – Jun 28, 2016 – “‘As Crown Heights gentrifies, the long-term tenants we work with suffer from increased speculation and harassment to leave their homes,’ said Kerri White, director of Organizing and Policy at the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and Crown Heights Tenant Union, about the report.” Read More.

Crown Heights Tenants Sue Landlords Over Unbearable Conditions

New York Daily News – June 7, 2016 – “Residents of a Crown Heights apartment building are calling for a judge to put a stop to almost two years of unbearable living conditions, according to a new lawsuit,” with the help of The Crown Heights Tenant Union, co-founded and guided by UHAB. Read More.

UHAB’s Organizing & Policy Assistant Director Named one of Top 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture

Brooklyn Magazine – March 1, 2016 – “#74, Cea Weaver. Serving UHAB for five years and counting, Weaver is a pivotal voice and organizer within the housing rights movement in Brooklyn and NYC.” Read More.

Future of 32,000 Affordable Housing Co-ops Hangs in the Balance

DNA info – February 8, 2016 – UHAB Executive Director Andy Reicher describes the efforts of the Task Force on HDFCs (formerly the Task Force on City-Owned Property) to preserve affordable homeownership opportunities in New York City. Read more.