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.
Trabajadores de Tom Cat Bakery en protesta contra acciones anti-inmigrantes. Foto: Getty Images por medio de El Diario NY
Viernes el 21 de abril, trabajadores de Tom Cat Bakery, una de las panaderías más conocidas en la cuidad organizaron #DayWithoutBread o #UnDíaSinPan junto con Brandworkers, la organización laboral que les une. Era el deseo de los trabajadores que en la cuidad no comer pan como “un gesto de solidaridad y protesta a la política anti-inmigrante”. Los trabajadores están representados por abogados con Servicios Católicos de Migración y el Urban Justice Center-Community Development Project.
A tenant resource fair was held in Bushwick on Tuesday, March 28th hosted by the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development along with Councilmembers Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal. The event aimed at informing tenants and providing legal tools and associations to help tenants fight back against landlords and scrupulous tactics. Managing attorney for the housing program with Catholic Migration Services, Andrew Lehrer was among the organizations present.
After a rally held on March 22nd to protest the threatened mass firings of immigrant workers following a Department of Homeland Security investigation, employees at Tom Cat Bakery have secured an extension of the deadline that would fire long time employees with no severance pay, within 10 business days if they did not provide documents proving they are in the United States legally. The workers are being represented by attorneys from Catholic Migration Services and Urban Justice Center – Community Development Project.