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MSCC’s Homeless And Housing Meeting Agenda: September 5, 2023  

(MSCC) Event Date/Time: September 5, 2023, 9:30 am-10:30 am / ZOOM.US

SUMMARY

This meeting will focus on the under used 7A (a tool for chronically distressed buildings); how 7A could intervene and be an intervention for landlord’s neglect; NYCHA Tenant’s updates on demolition and development, and more.

CHAIR: John Mudd

WELCOME / INTRODUCTIONS

We appreciate all suggestions to help us run this meeting proficiently.

  • Housekeeping (Zoom protocols) copying chat, muting, etc.
    • Signing in: Please sign in with your name and organization
  • Please email subject and speaker suggestions by the 15th of each month
  • Items to Triage: To give time to pressing topics, please forward items at least 24 hours prior to meetings
  • Introductions, welcoming new and old members (keeping it short and sweet)

PURPOSE

The Homeless and Housing members, attendees, and speakers share knowledge, ideas, and resources to identify problems and find solutions to the homeless crisis.

5 min

POLICY MEETING UPDATES

The prior 8:30 Homeless and Housing Policy meeting wrap-up as presented by attending members.

3 min

PROGRESS REPORT

Council’s progress report on actions and initiatives.

  • Farms
  • Web
  • Healthcare (medicare) Committee
  • Vornado / ESD Development / Community-led plan
  • Developing a panel to support the US Inter-Agency Council on Homelessness (USICH) US Inter-Agency
  • Annual Agenda
  • Other

5 min

SPECIAL INTRODUCTION(S) AND OR UPDATES: 

The below list of intros and updates are brief; everyone is welcomed to present for a planned lengthier discussion

  • Elected officials/agencies—updates
  • Nicole Krishtul, comptroller Office
  • Daniel Pichinson, Ryan Chelsea Clinton—updates 
  • Rue Parkin, HelpNYC—updates
  • Richard Vernon, Exec Director, Shower Power
  • US Inter-Agency Council on Homelessness (USICH) US Inter-Agency potential impact and partnership
  • Dwelling Place news
  • Alex Yong, WSNA NYC, Member of the End Apartment Warehousing Coalition—Updates, initiatives
    • Under a Tenant Association: Citation (*with*  §  silcrow § ) which says *tenants have protection against eviction for a year if you start a tenant association.* (source is BrickUnderground.com) 
  • Other
  • New Members?

10 min

The 7A

The 7A is an underutilized tool. An average of 23 petitions were filed in housing court annually between 2016-19, yet Community Service Society of New York estimates 10,000 chronically distressed buildings[sic] in NYC representing[sic] over 115,000 units and 300,000 individuals.

  • Review of last weeks discussion of 7A
  • Working in tandem with HURT, Home Urban Repair Team
  • Next steps 

Speaker(s): Alex Yong, Tenant advocate and others

NYCHA

We’re following up from our last month’s robust discussion on the developer’d plans and NYCHA struggle to be heard

  • NYCHA has stated they have empty apts supposedly for the residents who will be displaced when construction occurs
  • Outcomes from Alex & Luana’s meeting
  • Current actions

Speaker(s): Ramona Ferreyra, Save Section 9, Marquis Jenkins, and other coalition members

15 min

PUBLIC CONCERNS

  • Guadalupe Fernandez Soberon’s update
  • Other concerns

5 min

ACTIONS

  • Requests
  • Summary

ANNOUNCEMENTS / EVENTS

  • Additional announcements from new attendees, committee members, elected officials, others 
  • MSCC’s Forums, Annual Networking Party
  • Last words?

2 min

DEVELOPING INITIATIVES & PROGRAMS

  • Rally to highlighting the inequities and bad policies
    • Locations: Midtown near Port Authority, Hudson Yards, NYCHA, Penn Station
  • One Stop Shop
  • Objectives/Mission/Vision: MSCC is busily restructuring to become more effective in accomplishing its goals and making plans for the coming new year to complete their:
    • Mission: Midtown South Community Council strives to dismantle the causes of homelessness by building an equitable, just, and sustainable social infrastructure to ensure dignity, health, and home for all. 
    • Vision: Midtown South Community Council envisions a city where homelessness and poverty are eradicated
  • Committees: Managing our overwhelming tasks together with our intersecting network. If anyone wants to be involved with building committees to serve programs and projects of mutual interests (Housing, Urban Farming, Education & Awareness, healthcare, incarceration, workshops, health access, Home Improvement, communications/social media messaging, Midtown Street Sheets…), please let us know
  • Street Sheets; New batch printed

4 min

AOB

  • Topic Suggests:
    • Illusion of Choice: How Source of Income Discrimination and Voucher Policies Perpetuate Housing Inequality, UnlockNYC
    • Charisma White (MSCC), what does deeply affordable housing mean
    • Network marketing and communications committee (suggestion)
    • Planning committee with Mount Sinai about their unused wings (suggested)
    • Prison to shelter and back again
    • Policing the problem away; 50% of the jail population are mentally ill
  • Speaker Suggestions: All suggestions are welcomed
  • New Members: Thank you for joining, feel free to tell us your needs, schedule a presentation, and connect with anyone within this network
  • NEXT Meeting Homeless and Housing Meeting: 9:30 AM Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023
    • Always the 1st Tuesday of every month (We’ll be introducing Common Point’s services)

2 min

Contact hello@midtownsouthcc.org or john.mudd@usa.net for more information and Zoom invitations.

ADDENDUM: 

”  I chaired an oversight hearing examining Department of Housing Preservation and Development 

tools for enforcing the city’s housing maintenance code and seven bills relating to the same. 

As we approach the anniversary of the Twin parks fire, caused by an electric space heater, it is 

critical we look at whether these programs are protecting our tenants as is intended. My key takeaways:

Despite over 500,000 annual inspections conducted by HPD, and a set of escalating enforcement programs meant to correct bad-landlord behavior, far too many New Yorkers remain in substandard housing conditions.

While the staffing shortages at HPD lead to delayed inspections, there are also gaps in the operation of these programs. Thank you to my colleagues Council Member Gale A. Brewer, Alexa Avilés, Councilmember Oswald Feliz for highlighting gaps impacting the implementation of these tools:

Fee collection rates remain abysmal. Between 2018-present NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) and NYC Department of Finance collected only 67% of fees charged, and this year to date, only 35% of fees charged for ERP have collected.  We are waiting on more DOF data regarding longer-term late fees vis a vis tax enforcement programs.

The Alternative Enforcement Program is meant to keep landlords from using HPD’s Emergency Repair Program as their handymen, but with approx. 386 buildings going through AEP multiple times, and over 6,000 buildings repeatedly using ERP, coupled with insufficient fine and fee collection, we are concerned the worst actors are still abusing these programs.

For HPD, litigation is the end-all enforcement effort. Buildings that fail even after going through AEP, UC, Proactive Enforcement are then taken to court. However, the agency has no established metrics to measure the success of its litigation efforts. If housing quality improvements are the goal, and fee collection is secondary, then the agency must set key performance indicators regarding housing quality improvements post litigation. 

Finally, 7A is an underutilized tool. An average of 23 7A petitions were filed in housing court annually between 2016-19, yet Community Service Society of New York estimates 10,000 chronically distressed buildings[sic] in NYC representing[sic] over 115,000 units and 300,000 individuals. 

We must ramp up our use of these programs.” {END}

Other notes ALEX: 

On Tue, Aug 1, 2023 at 3:27 PM Alex HS Yong < alex.yong.nyc@gmail.com> wrote:

With 7A, a landlord of a small building can’t deceive in the same way because tenants can simply  look at the mailbox area and look for overflowing junk mail and then infer X apartment is empty and there’s no need to pursue getting a signature from an empty apartment. Or they can just door knock. With a big building + lack of transparency, sabotage is a real thing. For the September MSCC I’ll wait until Greg or someone else says that 7A is viable for NYCHA. Because in NYCHA, the city is the landlord, yes? … The tenant association I was a part of in 2020 could not do a 7A because the landlord didn’t want to say how many apartments were empty, which for us created guessing games based on unclear totals (remember it’s 33% of total bodies, never 33% of total apartments especially if empties are kept a mystery- you can knock on a door til your knuckles bleed but if there’s nobody inside, and nobody reveals that, then you will keep knocking on the door like a fool).

On Tue, Aug 1, 2023 at 11:39 AM Luana Green < psalm316.lg@gmail.com> wrote:

That’s very interesting Alex because NYCHA has stated they have empty apts supposedly for the residents who will be displaced when construction occurs.  So the document the tenants sign have to say what? Then what would be the next steps? Outcomes from further discussion?

On Tue, Aug 1, 2023, 11:27 AM Alex HS Yong < alex.yong.nyc@gmail.com> wrote:

Advice on 7A vis-a-vis NYCHA for next month:

Being that NYCHA properties have tons of apartments, it’s crucial for NYCHA to disclose which apartments are empty.

Why? Because NYCHA tenants can achieve the one-third requirements of consent, but if NYCHA doesn’t say how many apartments are empty, a tenant assoc. can “win, but never know they won” (victory meaning they successfully gathered one-third of signatures of bodies in the building) and wake up the next day wrongly assuming there’s more signatures to collect. No honey– you won. But if nobody tells you you won, you just assume you “lost”.  I have more to say but that’s one caveat. 

So while I’ll never say “warehoused apartments are good”, there’s a tenant-friendly loophole in 7A because the success number is easier to achieve with fewer bodies. NYCHA might say  “No, you need one-third signatures from the entire building” THIS IS A LIE. it’s bodies, not apartments….. because you can’t get signatures from empty apartments. And so for every 3 empty apartments, and you believing a lie, you inch closer to assuming you “lost” when you really WON. 

7A for upstate and Long Island won’t be called 7A. It’ll be 7D , or as tenant activists like to say: TDSHA pronounced tuh dasha. TDSHA is tenant dignity and safe housing act. Because every abode needs to be safe and decent

*https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2023/S1332

<https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2023/S1332>* Those tenants need to wait until the end of December. TDSHA/7D can’t be used before then.

7A stays 7A and it’s only for NYC. And it’s also about safety and dignity. …No waiting. 7A can be used now but so few tenants know about it. 7A’s 60th birthday is coming up soon. I’d like to see a big 60th anniversary celebration. Pierina is a proponent of 7A, and if her office is smart they should plan a 60th anniversary celebration. 7A should get lots of attention next year because upstate tenants will be using *TDSHA *alot, hopefully.  They’re the same law. With some differences. TDSHA was supposed to go into effect in June of this year but Governor Hochul wants New York State to print up educational pamphlets & brochures about TDSHA so tenants, lawyers, activists, landlords and judges won’t be confused. And ideally a public education campaign to go with it 7A has no bill. It’s been NYC law since 1964.

On Wed, Aug 30, 2023, 23:58 Alex HS Yong <alex.yong.nyc@gmail.com > wrote: Which bill? The upstate version of 7A called 7D? (also known as TDSHA). That bill’s sponsor is an upstate State Senator named Rachel May. It becomes usable law at the end of December but it’s not for NYC because Governor Hochul said NYC already has 7A and there’s no need to be redundant.

I’ve spoken to Greg about it. He told me it’ll be called 7D in 2024. In some ways it’s inferior to 7A and in some ways it’s superior. If you want to put that on the agenda with my name next to it ,that’s fine with me.