Tenants & Neighbors was founded in 1974 to be the statewide center of power for tenants. Since then, we have successfully preserved thousands of units of affordable housing and strengthened tenants’ rights at the city, state, and federal level.
To build a unified and powerful statewide organization that empowers and educates tenants; preserves affordable housing, livable neighborhoods, and diverse communities; and strengthens tenant protections.
The Problem We Are Addressing
Gentrification is rapidly displacing low and moderate income New Yorkers from their homes and communities. Throughout New York, landlords are converting buildings that have been regulated or subsidized for generations into market rate or luxury housing. At the same time, the landlord lobby is persistently and effectively advocating for the expansion of the mechanisms owners use to remove apartment buildings from their affordability programs, and also for weakening of tenant rights. As a result, low and moderate income tenants are being displaced from their homes, the fabric of our communities is unraveling, and New York is losing its diversity.
We believe that low and moderate income people should not have to live on the verge of displacement and to have to constantly defend their right to be part of this city. Instead, we believe New York should be a place where people from all walks of life can put down roots and build strong, stable, dynamic communities.
“When I was growing up, we had a sense of community, that everyone should be responsible for everyone else, that we’re all in it together, that there’s strength in numbers. We had this attitude- I’ve got your back and I know you’ll have mine. Tenants & Neighbors still has that value.” –Tenants & Neighbors Board Member
We believe that at the root of the problem – displacement of low and moderate income people from their homes and communities – is the major power imbalance that exists between the real estate industry and tenants. We believe that the way to correct this power imbalance is through grassroots tenant organizing. For this reason, our core activity is providing organizing support and technical assistance to tenants who want to organize campaigns to keep their building affordable and/or broader policy or legislative campaigns that address the underlying causes of loss of affordability.
“I learned from working with Tenants & Neighbors that by organizing, you allow your voice to be heard.” –Tenants & Neighbors Board Member
Tenants & Neighbors is comprised of two affiliate organizations. First, the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Information Service, a 501c3 organization, does base building, grassroots community education, and leadership development. It helps tenants organize at the building and community level to preserve at-risk affordable housing developments and also organize broader campaigns for administrative reforms. Secondly, the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Coalition is a 501c4 membership organization that helps tenants organizes legislative campaigns that address the underlying causes of loss of affordability.
The power of the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Coalition comes from our members, and our day-to-day work is made possible by their active involvement. Our broad base of dues-paying members sustains our work financially. A smaller group of members are active in events such as rallies, demonstrations, and lobby trips. Additionally, a core group of member leaders help us decide what issues we should work on, and help plan and execute our system change campaigns.