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Exclusive | HPD starts hunt for nonprofits to run expanded $4M-a-year tenant organizing program

Juanita Lewis, CVH’s executive director, said they also worked with HPD to door-knock in rent-stabilized buildings — where tenants were facing issues with their gas lines, getting repairs and rent increases — with the goal of connecting them to legal services.

“We were able to go and do some door-knocking, and have conversations with tenants about what was happening in their development,” Lewis said. “And then with the hopes of being able to work with legal services, or legal aid, around addressing some of those concerns. And then identifying places where there was some deeper work that was needed around organizing. Being able to develop tenant power to hold your landlord accountable.”

Although the pilot was a “good first step,” Lewis said, the work was interrupted and changed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. But, Lewis said her group is “strongly considering” applying for the next phase of the initiative.

“Now, there’s a need more than ever because of how we’ve seen rents have skyrocketed,” she said. “You know we’ve seen some of the pluses and minuses from the rental assistance programs … But also still needing to make sure that repairs are being done in the buildings that they’re living in now.”

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