Director, Organizing and Policy
The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) is seeking a Director of Organizing and Policy. UHAB creates, strengthens, and advocates for community-controlled housing through strong tenant associations, affordable cooperative homeownership, and other tenant-controlled housing models. The Director will lead our Organizing and Policy department to build power among tenants so they can take control of their housing.
UHAB empowers low- to moderate-income residents to take control of their housing and enhance communities by creating strong tenant associations and lasting affordable co-ops. Since 1973, UHAB has helped form hundreds of tenant associations and transformed troubled rental buildings into 1,200 affordable co-ops, providing homeownership opportunities for over 25,000 families. With democratic community control at the core of our mission, we work to sustain this thriving affordable housing community for this generation and those to come.
We organize residents to be active participants and decision-makers in shaping their neighborhoods. UHAB’s programs address a full spectrum of affordable housing needs: from building resident power and organizing tenants as community leaders, to developing thousands of units of affordable housing across the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, to making small loans to first-time homeowners, to preserving affordable co-ops through training, education, and technical assistance. UHAB’s programs address the needs of future generations through long-term solutions: developing new affordable co-ops, increasing energy efficiency and introducing renewable technologies, and strengthening housing policy.
Organizing and Policy Department
UHAB’s Organizing and Policy department works with tenants who are at risk of displacement due to gentrification, poor living conditions, or predatory behavior from landlords. UHAB works with tenant leaders to develop resident associations and engage members in fighting for their own housing solutions. These tenant associations educate tenants about their rights and fight to uphold and expand them through City and Statewide campaigns
Since 2018, UHAB’s tenant organizing work has been focused in Brownsville and East New York, Brooklyn. In 2019, alongside tenant leaders in the neighborhood, we launched HOPE (Housing Organizers for People Empowerment), a community group building tenant power through political education, coalition building, outreach, and fighting for legislation that expands tenant rights. UHAB provides support and leadership development to this intergenerational, Black-led, member-led group. In 2020, the UHAB Organizing and Policy department was awarded a “Champion of Justice” award from Brooklyn Legal Services for our work with HOPE fighting displacement in East Brooklyn.
UHAB also works on policy that supports our work with HDFC co-ops, including a member-led group of HDFC shareholders organizing for housing justice, Affordable Housing is For All (AHIFA). In the past, UHAB has worked on policy initiatives around new regulatory frameworks and tax relief for HDFCs, and is currently leading the statewide campaign for the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), which would allow tenants whose buildings go up for sale to have the first opportunity to purchase them and become HDFC co-ops or affordable rentals.
UHAB is seeking a Director of Organizing and Policy to support the growth of UHAB’s organizing work as an integral part of its larger mission; to further the work of our organizing efforts, including expanding and deepening HOPE; and to help shape UHAB’s policy and organizing priorities. This role offers a motivated and mission-driven leader the opportunity to build tenant power, connect tenants to larger policy issues and campaigns such as Housing Justice for All and the Brownsville Residents Green Committee, and identify new homeownership prospects from among interested and strong tenant groups. Additionally, the Organizing Director will work cross-departmentally to advance policy priorities that further UHAB’s mission. The Director will report to UHAB’s Executive Director.
- Develop base-building and outreach strategies to carry out with staff organizers and members
- Support UHAB’s Organizing team and tenant leaders in organizing rallies, press conferences, and other direct actions
- Help start and sustain tenant associations in multi-family buildings throughout the city, including East Brooklyn, as needed
- Help identify and support opportunities to convert buildings into cooperative ownership, or other tenant participatory ownership models
- Partner with UHAB’s Co-op Development department on trainings and organizing strategy for tenant associations interested in pursuing co-op conversion
- In collaboration with members, plan and co-facilitate monthly tenant leaders meetings, agenda planning meetings, and community meetings (currently over Zoom)
- Develop curriculum for HOPE’s leadership development and political education programming, and other similar programs in the future
- Research landlord and portfolios throughout East Brooklyn and other New York City neighborhoods to identify targets for organizing
- Work closely with and provide support to UHAB’s Assistant Director of Development and Policy
- Co-facilitate cross-departmental UHAB policy committee meetings
- Draft policy and legislation with elected officials and member groups
- Stay abreast of current legislative proposals related to: affordable and co-operative housing, climate and resiliency, and other intersecting issue areas related to UHAB’s work
Leadership and Administration:
- Supervise, train, and mentor a team of 3 full-time organizers and one apprentice organizer
- Foster a positive and collaborative team culture, rooted in a deep commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and mission-driven service to low- and moderate-income tenants and shareholders.
- In close partnership with UHAB’s Fiscal team, manage the Department’s operational budget
- Working closely with UHAB’s Fundraising & Communications team, aid in planning and execution of the Department’s development and communications strategy, as well as drafting quarterly reports to UHAB’s Board of Directors
- Manage contract and grant reporting, ensuring Organizing staff achieve all required deliverables
- Represent the Organizing and Policy department on the UHAB management team
Organizational Strategy and Policy Work:
- Participate in organization-wide policy development strategy, on both tenant and co-op issues
- Provide support and guidance for UHAB’s HDFC shareholder leaders group
- Maintain a database of press and elected official contacts
- Maintain and build relationships with coalitions where UHAB is a member, as well as partner organizations engaged in similar work
- Collaborate with other departments on developing UHAB-wide trainings, social events, and professional development opportunities for staff
- Respond to organizing and training requests, referrals and inquiries
- A strong commitment to housing, racial, and economic justice,
- At least four years prior experience working as a community or labor organizer (preferably within New York City),
- At least two years’ experience leading, engaging and motivating a team of staff
- Experience managing a programmatic or operating budget preferred
- The ability to communicate complex ideas in a clear and accessible way
- The ability to work in a fast-paced environment and effectively handle multiple projects at the same time
- An interest in alternative ownership models of housing such as cooperatives and Community Land Trusts.
- Knowledge of housing policy and the current political landscape of NYC housing preferred
- Competency with common workplace technology and systems
This position is currently hybrid, based at UHAB’s office in Lower Manhattan and requiring regular travel to other locations across NYC.
$67,402 – $80,000 annually. UHAB offers a generous benefits package including 100% employer paid medical and dental insurance; long-term disability insurance; a 403b retirement plan; medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts; 3 weeks of paid vacation for new employees and 4 weeks of paid vacation after 2 years of employment; 14 paid holidays, 12 sick days, and 1 personal day per year; and bereavement leave.
To apply, send a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UHAB works with a diverse community of tenants, community members and co-op shareholders and believes that the UHAB Staff should reflect this diversity. Women, people of color, LBGTQ+ people, and people with lived experience of economic and housing instability are encouraged to apply. UHAB is an equal opportunity employer.