NYCalling all Tenants: 411 on the 311
Created by New York City teenagers in the New Media Arts Apprenticeship program at the Educational Video Center (EVC), NYCalling All Tenants: 411 on the 311 is a transmedia project that looks at housing inequalities and informs New York residents on rights they have as tenants. This project draws inspiration from a documentary made in 1986 by EVC youth producers - 2371 2nd Ave: An East Harlem Story - where a brave teenager named Millie Reyes, tries to find answers to her own community housing inequalities and fights for better living conditions for her family.
Every New York resident that rents should be aware of all the rights that they have as tenants. No tenant deserves to live under poor conditions for the mere reason that they are poorly informed of actions they can take to stop this from happening. Expanding on Millie's example, we explored our own neighborhoods as well as the current conditions in East Harlem, we interviewed a housing court counselor and a tenant organizer, and created this website and app that we hope will help inform tenants and advocates on their rights and give them resources for further information, to be active in their own homes and communities.
In 1986, Millie Reyes documented the poor living conditions of her family's apartment, in an effort to demand repairs by the landlord. We researched the same building, 28 years later to see how conditions have changed. In 2014, while still moderate to low-income, it seemed many of the apartments had been renovated with none of the original issues MIllie had experienced.
I, Dominque, sat down with my mom Cynthia Ward and asked her to talk about some of the issues we've had in our apartment and what she's done to demand repairs from our landlord.
We interviewed Jenny Laurie, Executive Director of Housing Court Answers, to help explain some of the main issues tenants face and who is most affected by housing inequalities in New York.
1/3 of NYC's population, especially those who must pay market rate for apartments - $1,500 monthly or more - pays more than 1/2 of its income on housing.
“The mayor has promised 200,000 new units of affordable housing over the next 10 years, a goal that has been called ambitious. But, as some have pointed out, the city is expected to lose 38,000 affordable units on an annual basis at the same time”
Widening inequality intensifies New York City housing crisis
NY poverty rate is 6.5 points higher than the national average and 1.8 million people — around one in five — require food assistance to get by.
The citywide poverty rate remained stalled at about 21 percent. About 1.7 million New Yorkers were living below the official federal threshold for poverty, with the biggest numerical increase among New Yorkers who are 18 to 64 years old.
Here we have created a map of different tenant organizations and a court house in the city. There are likely many others out there, and if you don't see an organization in your neighborhood on the map, a good place to start is by either contacting one of these organizations for references, or talking to your neighbors, and see if anyone has formed a tenant association or knows of organizations that can help.
DO YOU KNOW who your Landlord is?
Millie Reyes had a hard time finding her own landlord when she put together a petition for repairs in 1986.
In NYC, a landlord can be
or can be
that you send rent checks to every month.
For many NYC tenants, they have never met their landlord, let alone know who they are.
WNYC Radiolab segment: "My Mystery Landlord"Jan 13, 2015.
DO YOU KNOW exactly what services your landlord is supposed to provide for you?
Listen to Jenny Laurie, Executive Director of Housing Court Answers, talk about what some of the services are here.
Important info every TENANT should know...
How does rent control and rent stabilization work? ASK Jenny
What is the screening process like for tenants? ASK Jenny
Learn more about rent stabilization leases HERE.
When you move into an apartment, you are required to pay a security deposit. When you move out, you're suppose to receive that money back (plus interest) unless your apartment has been damaged (cost of damages are taken out). HELPFUL TIP
How to Find Affordable Housing
Learn more about Affordable Housing in NYC HERE.
What is the housing lottery?
Housing lottery are rental properties reserved for households that meet certain income restrictions, commonly referred to as either low-income or middle-income. Each posting specifies how many of each type of apartment is available. Each posting specifies how many of each type of apartment is available.
Here is a link to a list of affordable housing programs.
If your landlord doesn’t comply:
Take them to Housing Court
If you are a tenant in a rent stabilized or rent contolled apartment:
Contact State Housing agency
If you cannot afford a lawyer for Housing Court:
If you can't find your landlord
If you want to break your lease
If you get evicted:
Finding a lawyer
If you can’t pay rent:
EVC NMAA Youth Producers:
EVC NMAA Instructors:
Lindsay C. Harris, New Media Arts Apprenticeship Instructor
Christine L. Mendoza, former EVC Youth Programs Director
Melanie Martinez, Teaching Assistant and former NMAA Youth Producer
Support for the Educational Video Center and its New Media Arts Apprenticeship Program is provided by: The After-School Corporation | The Wellspring Foundation This program is also made possible by public support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. In-kind support for the New Media Arts Apprenticeship is provided by: Adobe | Etsy, Inc. With Ongoing Support from Individual Donors Other Support for the Educational Video Center is provided, in part, by: The Brenner Family Foundation | The Brightwater Fund | The Jewish Communal Fund | The Hearst Foundations | HBO | The National Board of Review | The Pinkerton Foundation | The W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation | The Wellspring Foundation | The Milton A. & Roslyn Z. Wolf Family Foundation Teacher of Conscience Fund EVC Receives Generous Capital Support From: Office of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer | Office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer | Office of New York City Council Member Corey Johnson In-kind Support for EVC is Provided by: City-As-School High School, New York City Department of Education | The Film Society of Lincoln Center | Manhattan Neighborhood Network | The Robert Bowne Foundation EVC is supported, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. EVC programs are also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Organizational in-kind support from: City-As-School High School | New York City Department of Education | The Film Society of Lincoln Center | Manhattan Neighborhood Network | The Robert Bowne Foundation