Is your apartment rent stabilized or rent controlled? Etc?
Am I rent stabilized? http://amirentstabilized.com/
Please check out these pages:
Facebook: Ridgewood Tenants Union
NYC Housing Connect
Currently taking applications at the following buildings/locations:
A great resource for the Bushwick Community
If you have any concerns please contact: Community Board 5.
(Also a link on how to serve on your community board via Queens Chronicle)
Illegal construction or need legal advice? Ridgewood Property Owners & Civic Association
This amazing article is from everydayfeminism.com.
We are thankful for this article and hope you check out their site!
1. Acknowledge Your Privilege
Privilege is a complicated issue, and no one is definitively “privileged” or “oppressed.”
But if you are able to live somewhere post-gentrification, are able to enjoy the amenities in a gentrified neighborhood, and aren’t somebody that people want out of their neighborhood due to some aspect of your physical presentation or identity, then you have some privilege that others don’t.
Own it. And use it to engender change.
Like, if you’re chillin’ at your start-up and your broworker is bragging about how he kicked a bunch of Latino teenagers off of their neighborhood soccer field because he paid the city to rent the field (seriously, I don’t make this stuff up), put down your craft brew, hop on the slide down to the first floor, and be like, “Not cool, bro!” He may hear your voice over those of a hundred local kids.
Yes, that likelihood is maddening.
But that’s the thing about power: It’s powerful.
2. Respect the History of Your New Neighborhood
Neighborhoods have a history, a people, a unique culture.
Enjoy it, learn about it, and work to preserve it, even as new cultural elements and businesses are introduced.
Don’t expect it to look like your old neighborhood.
3. Listen to the Voices of Your Neighbors
People like to talk about being a “voice for the oppressed.” That’s misguided. The oppressed have their own voices. We just have to hear them.
In February, Spike Lee criticized gentrification in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, where he grew up.
When he was a child, Lee recounted, “The garbage wasn’t picked up every [expletive] day…the police weren’t around… why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers for the facilities to get better…to get the schools better?”
Lee’s impassioned speech was met with vicious criticism. Apparently, Lee had “mouthed off” and should “take a valium and calm down.”
Don’t dismiss the voices of marginalized people of color according to your genteel preferences. Open your mind. Truths aren’t always spoken calmly.
4. Understand That Residents Have Feelings About Their Changing Neighborhood
If there is anger, there’s a reason.
People who have been disadvantaged by gentrification may not be friendly or nice to you if your presence represents the destruction of their neighborhood – the very destruction that you benefit from.
Be sensitive to this, and allow for some discomfort.
Your discomfort is nothing compared to a disenfranchised group’s oppressed experience.
5. Make Socially Conscious Purchase Decisions
When you go out for a coffee or a drink or a sandwich, think about the places you are going to.
Are they welcome spaces for all types of people? Do they fit into the social landscape of the existing community? Do they hire local bartenders and waiters? Are they paid a living wage? Are there at least a few items on the menu that most people in the area could afford?
It doesn’t always matter that these places aren’t new – there’s always room for creativity and innovation – but that they add to the character of the neighborhood and don’t take away from it.
6. Invest in Community-Focused, Community-Run Organizations
Developers and large businesses love to create charities and fundraising projects to minimize (read: distract us from) the damage they are doing to a community. These projects are, however, often run by people from the organization (read: not the community).
If you want to invest your money or time into a community (yes! do!), make sure you are giving directly to the community and following their lead.
Communities know who they are, how they do things, and what they need better than outside bodies. And they should have the agency to direct these efforts towards change.
7. Question Exclusionary Tactics Claiming to Be About ‘Safety’
You may be told that the influx of bouncers, security guards, and police in your area is about keeping everyone safe.
Because this isn’t about the safety of everyone.
Security staff keep paying customers safe while making elite spaces unwelcome to anyone who doesn’t look like they fit in. Ask a teen in a hoodie if they feel safe in front of a nice restaurant or with increased law enforcement presence in the area and you might get a very different perspective.
Most importantly, despite claims that revitalization lowers crime, studies have suggested that gentrification actually increases crime. So, there’s that.
8. Advocate for Yourself and Others
Get to know the tenant rights laws in your area – they may be more comprehensive than you realize – and visit local organizations for additional information.
Share materials with others. Stand with your neighbors if they are facing eviction or being taken advantage of, and do the same for yourself.
When my last landlord attempted exploitative and illegal actions, ones he had carried out successfully with a string of young female tenants before us, we reported him immediately to the Rent Board. We won several hundred dollars, a signed agreement to stop, and the upper hand. We moved nearly a year ago, and he has yet to re-rent the place.
These victories matter.
This may be the most important factor of all.
Your vote can determine how rent control is regulated, how much affordable housing is built, whether a large corporation can build a skyscraper on your cityscape, what social services will be available this year, and other things that affect your area.
So, get out to the polls! No dress code required.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the reality of gentrification, but if you’re able to afford your apartment and your groceries, it’s also easy to ignore.
This isn’t about blame or guilt, but a call to make choices more in line with our values and visions of the world while maintaining respect for the visions that community members have for their own communities.
Unfortunately, not everyone will hear this call to action. They will shut their curtains, lock their doors, and call the cops if it gets too loud.
RIDGEWOOD HOUSING MATTERS