Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tenants Take Over Caucus Weekend!

See below for a blow-by-blow from our Valentine's Day trip to Albany, and an update on upcoming vacancy decontrol actions. Our tentatively planned trip to Albany next Tuesday, Feb. 24 has been POSTPONED until mid-March.

Last Saturday, tenants from across the city flooded the Annual Black and Latino Caucus in Albany, calling on legislators to repeal Vacancy Decontrol!

Over two hundred tenants and leaders descended on the capital, calling on members and participants of the caucus to repeal vacancy decontrol. Tenants spent hours passing out flyers, handing out stickers, and collecting signatures demanding the passage of the Senate bill that would signal the most significant win for tenants in more than three decades.

Tenants held a press conference and rally at the Legislative Office Building, followed with the Caucus workshop on Housing. We were joined by Senators Andrea Stewart Cousins and Bill Perkins and our allies Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries. Tenant leaders moved the crowd, including Julia Boyd of ACORN, Joseph Ferdinand and Ramona Santana of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Narcisa of Make the Road NY and Cathy Stephans of Community Voices Heard.

Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins announced she introduced the bill to repeal vacancy decontrol in the Senate as S2237. It already has 23 co-sponsors, and needs only 9 more votes to win. The fight is on to get every Senator we can signed on to the bill in the coming weeks.

We closed the day marching through the concourse on their way to the buses, chanting so loudly that there could be no mistaking what everyone was there for.

The repeal of vacancy decontrol would halt the loss of tens of thousands of affordable apartments from New York City.We need to keep the pressure on to carry the bill through the Senate! Check out who has already signed on:

Has your Senator signed on?


Great work to all the groups that made a special effort to turn out members for this event, including Make the Road NY, ACORN, Community Voices Heard, Housing Conservation Coordinators, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, Tenants & Neighbors and Tenants PAC. This event could not have happened with out all of your hard work and dedication to this effort.


The tentatively scheduled Lobby Visit to Albany for Next Tuesday the 24th has been postponed. Stay tuned for an early-March press conference, and many more actions to come.

We need to do everything we can in pushing the Senate to pass the repeal of vacancy decontrol. There are nine Senators who have not yet signed on. Let's start planning phone banks, district rallies, flyering, forums, and everything else we can to get these Senators on-board with tenants. Get together with your group and brainstorm actions you can take on.


For more information on upcoming mobilizations, please contact me! I can be reached at (718) 246-7900 x273 or

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Has your Senator signed on?

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has introduced S2237 in the State Senate to repeal vacancy decontrol. We have 23 co-sponsors. We need 32 votes to win.

Check back here for a tally of which Senators have signed on, and which haven't. We'll be updating this daily.

The following Senators have co-sponsored S2237 to repeal vacancy decontrol:

1. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D- Westchester)
2. Liz Krueger (D- Manhattan)
3. Eric Adams (D- Brooklyn)
4. Joseph Addabbo (D- Queens)
5. Darrell Aubertin (D- Jefferson, Oswego, St Lawrence Counties)
6. Neil Breslin (D- Albany)
7. Ruben Diaz, Sr. (D- Bronx)
8. Thomas Duane (D- Manhattan)
9. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D- Bronx, Westchester County)
10. Shirley Huntley (D- Queens)
11. Hiram Monserrate (D- Queens)
12. Velmanette Montgomery (D- Brooklyn)
13. George Onorato (D- Queens)
14. Suzi Oppenheimer (D- Westchester County)
15. Frank Padavan (R- Queens)
16. Kevin Parker (D- Brooklyn)
17. Bill Perkins (D- Manhattan)
18. Eric Schneiderman (D- Manhattan, Bronx)
19. José Marco Serrano (D- Bronx, Manhattan)
20. Daniel Squadron (D- Brooklyn, Manhattan)
21. Toby Ann Stavisky (D- Queens)
22. Antoine Thompson (D- Buffalo)
23. John Sampson (D- Brooklyn)

We need 8 more votes to get win!

These 9 Democratic Senators have not yet signed on:

1. Martin Dilan (D- Brooklyn)
2. Carl Kruger (D- Brooklyn)
3. Pedro Espada, Jr. (D- Bronx)
4. Jeffrey Klein (D- Bronx, Westchester County)
5. Malcolm Smith (D- Queens, Long Island)
6. Craig Johnson (D- Long Island)
7. Brian Foley (D- Long Island)
8. David Valesky (D- Syracuse)
9. William Stachowski (D-Buffalo)
10. Diane Savino (D- Brooklyn, Staten Island) - Savino removed her name as a co-sponsor.

As well, we are hopeful we can encourage these two downstate Republic Senators to sign on:

1. Martin Golden (R- Brooklyn)
2. Andrew Lanza (R- Staten Island)

Check back daily for updates.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Yesterday, tenants and housing advocates with Housing Here and Now cheered as the New York State Assembly passed the repeal of vacancy decontrol, and a whole package of pro-tenant legislation. Over calls for us to quiet down, nearly 50 tenants from New York City and Albany applauded cheered as news of the vote came through on the Assembly session floor. This crucial victory comes following more than a year of hard work by the entire housing justice movement of New York City. We rallied throughout the city, we braved the snow in endless trips to Albany, we lobbied our legislators, and yesterday, the assembly heard our demands!

The repeal of vacancy decontrol would halt the loss of tens of thousands of affordable apartments from New York City. The Assembly's passage of the repeal yesterday is a giant victory for tenants. The final vote count is still be calculated. At last count, the repeal of vacancy decontrol passed 91 to 52. Now, we need to keep the pressure on to carry the bill through the Senate!


Next, join Housing Here and Now on SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14 for the next mass mobilization to Albany to push the State Senate! We're headed up for Caucus Weekend, a key time where Democrats sets their agenda moving forward. We need a mass presence to show them we mean business, and that the repeal of vacancy decontrol has to be the top of their priorities.


Great work to all the groups that joined Housing Here and Now yesterday on the Assembly floor to represent tenants, including ACORN, Pratt Area Community Council, Mitchell-Lama Tenants' Association, Tenants & Neighbors, Tenants PAC, West Side Neighborhood Alliance and Park West Village Tenants Association. These folks turned out on short notice to show the Assembly that tenants are behind them in this key victory.

Special congratulations as well to all the groups who took the lead on last week's Senate lobby visits in Albany and recent in-district lobbying, including the above groups and North West Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, New York City AIDS Housing Network, Community Voices Heard, Make the Road NY, New York Immigration Coalition, Catholic Charities of Queens and Brooklyn, Real Rent Reform Campaign, Bushwick Housing Independence Project, Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness, Voices of Women Organizing, Picture the Homeless, Chelsea Tenant Action Committee,


For more information on the Albany mobilization on Saturday, February 14 or to RSVP, contact Housing Here and Now's new Lead Organizer: Jon Furlong. He can be reached at (718) 246-7900 x273 or .

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Cheer the Assembly passing a major victory for housing justice
Demand the Senate carry the repeal of Vacancy decontrol through to the end!

Free Bus from NYC:
Brooklyn: 7:30 AM; 2-4 Nevins St. & Flatbush Ave at ACORN's Office
Harlem: 8:30 AM; 135th St & Lenox Ave

RSVP to or (718) 246-7900 x247

This Monday, 55 tenants and housing advocates will be headed to Albany. We will cheer the Assembly passing the repeal of vacancy decontrol to save New York's rent-regulated housing, and hold a press conference demanding swift action by the Senate. We're carrying the momentum from our 1,000 person rally on December 9 and last week's Albany lobbying to push the biggest victory for tenants in 34 years.