Board Spotlight: Richard Heitler

Richard Heitler is a former UHAB staffer as well as a longtime affordable housing co-op board member.

Why does this work resonate with you?

I am firmly committed to the cooperative movement as the most fundamentally fair and equitable way to organize human economic activity. UHAB’s work to promote and maintain shared equity housing cooperatives embodies values that I hold dear.

What do you do outside of UHAB?

I have lived in a shared equity cooperative – Village East Towers, a Mitchell-Lama coop on the lower east side – since 1975. I have served on the board for over a decade, for much of that time as president. About 12 years ago, I helped found Cooperators United for Mitchell-Lama (CU4ML) to assist groups of shareholders to defeat attempts to convert their affordable coops into private for-profit and more much expensive entities. CU4ML has received a great deal of support from UHAB and has evolved into a very effective City-wide advocacy organization.

How do you want to help UHAB grow?

I think UHAB is an absolutely essential and necessary part of New York’s affordable housing movement. We are at the center of one of the largest networks of shared-equity housing in the United States and we need to build the resources – in terms of financial tools, training, technical support, and organizing – to preserve and hopefully expand this network.