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The ANHD Blog raises the profile of our issues, and educates our member groups, city decision makers, and the general public on our core issue areas. The ANHD Blog offers sharp, timely and effective commentary on key public policy issues, as well as our work and the work of our member groups.

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CASA/New Settlement Apartments Wins 2013 Excellence in Neighborhood Organizing Award

May 7, 2013

  ANHD is pleased to announce that CASA/New Settlement Apartments is the winner of the 2013 Excellence in Neighborhood Organizing Award. The award recognizes significant organizing that both achieves substantive results and also incorporates high quality, innovative and strategic organizing practice.

CASA and its tenant leaders used a variety of smart strategies to support 63 families living in three College Avenue buildings in the Bronx who for years spent their own money to do major repairs, struggled to pay already high rents (often without basic services like heat and hot water), fought recurring leaks, mold and falling ceilings, while being routinely mistreated by an aggressive landlord. With organizers from CASA, tenants formed a single, powerful tenants' association  to launch a campaign that ultimately ousted their landlord, (rated as the #1 worst landlord in NYC) replacing him with Banana Kelly - a non-profit committed to affordable housing and rehabilitating buildings, which is already creating individualized eviction prevention plans for each tenant.

Throughout the campaign CASA focused intensively on developing strong tenant leadership, while also leveraging resources and pressure from the outside. An important component of CASA's campaign was the establishment of an effective collaboration led by ANHD along with HPD's litigation unit and Proactive Preservation Initiative, New York Community Bank, the building's mortgage holder, and many elected officials who became not only allies but advocates for the tenants.

This collective effort not only ushered in new responsible ownership for the College Avenue buildings, it was a victory for the First Look program, ANHD's important new model in which forward-thinking banks are giving HPD and a local not-for-profit developer the opportunity to negotiate a sustainable transfer price on distressed, overleveraged apartment buildings and maintain them as valuable community assets. CASA's campaign serves as a model of cooperation between banks, City agencies and community groups to rehabilitate distressed properties, preserve affordable housing and protect tenants.

Honorable Mention:

ANHD would like to acknowledge Good Old Lower East Side(GOLES) for its leadership in the multi-year Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) campaign, a forty-five year campaign for equity and affordable housing.

ANHD also wishes to recognize the following organizations for their excellent work:

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