On Monday, June 19th Brooklynites gathered in Founder’s Hall at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, NY for a public testimony before the Rent Guidelines Board to share their experiences about rent increases and abusive landlords. Tenants were accompanied by housing advocates, organizers, lawyers, and legislators to give a voice to a community that is often ignored. Samantha Lyons, a housing attorney with the Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Program at Catholic Migration Services expressed the need to mobilize the immigrant community so their voices are heard as well.
The Rent Guidelines Board is scheduled to host their final vote at a public hearing on Tuesday, June 27th at Baruch College in Mason Hall. For more information on the vote and to join a rally to the hearing click here.
An undocumented immigrant residing in an apartment complex on Parsons Boulevard in Queens, NY seeks assistance from Catholic Migration and Queens Legal Services after realty company seeks to evict undocumented tenants. The landlord is accused of using scare tactics to encourage neighbors to report suspicious activity to the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Unit. Posting signs accompanied by tip line numbers, tenants in the largely immigrant community now live in fear. Carlos Ortiz, tenant organizer with Catholic Migration Services shares this unscrupulous approach with NY 1 reporter Ruschell Boone.
Ridgewood resident holds sign while marching to Queens hearing. Photo: Shea Colon
On Monday, June 5th the Rent Guidelines Board hosted their first public hearing in a series of events scheduled to take place throughout the five boroughs. Over 100 tenants accompanied by advocates and organizers with the Rent Justice Coalition marched to the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Jamaica, Queens to have their voices heard. Those present testified before the board demanding the need for a rent roll back and expressing their concerns with any increase.
Carlos Ortiz, a tenant organizer with Catholic Migration was among those present. He testified and shared his concerns with the Times Ledger.
In an effort to expand how the Church accompanies people, the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development recently launched a new website, migrants-refugees.va “to ensure that those forced to flee are not left behind.” Accessible in 5 languages, the Vatican office is personally directed by Pope Francis and is a direct response to the Holy Father’s concern for the displaced and marginalized across the globe.
Photo Credit: CRS
During the Sixth International Forum on Migration and Peace at the Vatican, February 21 to 22, His Holiness shared four “verbs” when addressing migrants and refugees among us. He challenged leaders and citizens of the world to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our fellow brothers and sisters. In doing so, we are called to discover the “sacred value of hospitality.”
At Catholic Migration Services, our mission is to “welcome the stranger in our midst”, by being committed to empowering underserved immigrant communities in Brooklyn and Queens regardless of religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. We are proud to connect our community to the Vatican’s newest website as a way to expand our services, education, and advocacy among the many people we assist.
The Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development was originally announced by Pope Francis on August 31, 2016 and began operation January 1st of this year. According to Radio Vaticana, the new Dicastery was created “to better serve the needs of the most vulnerable, including migrants and refugees, in yet another expression of his strong concern for the protection of people on the move.”
Congratulations to the 2017 graduates of Brooklyn Law School and our very own, Very Rev. Patrick J. Keating, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Migration Services. Fr. Keating delivered the opening invocation and received his Juris Doctorate alongside 399 students during the 116th commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 18th.
Political anchor at NY1 News and a 2005 graduate, Errol Louis, delivered the commencement speech and received an honorary degree. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the common theme that carried across everyone’s speech was the responsibility toward community. In the commencement speech, Louis reminded the graduates not to forget their “invisible clients.”
“Remember that you have clients beyond the ones who are paying you,” Louis said. “Justice is your client. Fairness is your client. Honesty and integrity and service are your clients, and they deserve your best effort.”