One group of residents is determined to do their part to protect against the “extreme gentrification” they say is happening in Brooklyn.
Founded by a handful of young Occupy Wall Street veterans last summer, the Crown Heights Tenant Union is one of the most effective groups at dealing with issues raised by the rapid gentrification of the neighborhood, just east of Prospect Park. It has organized tenants in some 40 buildings from Crown Heights to Bushwick, to combat what the group says are patterns of abuse directed at residents who live in the area’s many rent-regulated apartments.
Struggles between tenants and landlords are nothing new, but this one has a twist: Fueled by the influx of a new generation of socially conscious recent college graduates, most of whom, unlike Mr. Wortham, have only lived in the neighborhood for a couple of years, the group is challenging the stereotypes that pit long-term residents against newer ones, which are often drawn along racial and class lines, in the struggle over gentrification.
“It’s pretty unique,” said Kerri White, an organizer with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, which, along with the Pratt Area Community Council, is one of the seasoned advocacy groups that has joined forces with the Tenant Union. “Because the rate of gentrification in Crown Heights is happening so rapidly, it really does put the spectrum of tenants together.”
According to Real Impact Real Estate’s Brooklyn Rental Market report, the average rent in Crown Heights has increased almost 10 percent over the last year.
The Tenant Union hopes that by organizing tenants, educating them about their rights and streamlining information about the city’s arcane housing laws, it will be able to help fend off landlords who aggressively, and at times, the group says, illegally, try to clear rent-stabilized units of their long-term residents.
Join The Union at their monthly General Membership meetings! They occur on the THIRD THURSDAY at 7PM in the atrium of the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, located at 727 CLASSON (between Park and Prospect).
May 29th - “How to Start a Tenant Association” Training
This 90 minute training will give you the skills you need to organize your own Tenant Association and get your neighbors to CHTU meetings.
May 31: “Capitalizing on the Crown” Screening
A documentary about the gentrification in Crown Heights. It features interviews with CHTU members and footage from some CHTU meetings!
★ June 7: March and BBQ ★
A rally at a park, march through the neighborhood, stopping at specific locations to show how Crown Heights is becoming unaffordable. Ending with a BBQ to help build community and have a little fun!
Like The Crown Heights Tenants Union on Facebook!