October MFJ newsletter

Mobilization for Justice

MFJ Saves Home for Three-Generation Family

Ms. L, a 56-year-old woman who receives disability benefits, lived in her mother’s Hell’s Kitchen apartment for more than 40 years. When her mother died, she came to MFJ, worried that the landlord in this gentrified neighborhood would try to evict her, along with her daughter, grandchild and severely disabled brother. The lease was in her mother’s name and the apartment was one of the few rent-regulated units left in the building. MFJ staff helped Ms. L gather all the documents she needed to prove her legal right of succession, and tracked down third parties to obtain additional documentation. After prolonged negotiations, the landlord agreed to give Ms. L a successor rent-stabilized lease and, as a person with disabilities, Ms. L is eligible for a rent increase exemption. With MFJ’s help, Ms. L and her family’s housing remains secure and affordable.

Freed from Debt, Domestic Violence Survivor Can Move On

Domestic violence and financial abuse often go hand in hand, as was the case for Ms. A. After fleeing her abuser and later losing her job, she contacted MFJ for help with $25,000 in credit card debt, most of which was due to coercion or fraud by her abuser, as well as a $10,000 debt for a repossessed car. MFJ helped Ms. A file a bankruptcy case that wiped out these debts and brought her relief. She had also been trying for years to deal with co-signed student loans taken out fraudulently by a former acquaintance. MFJ successfully discharged these loans. Ms. A is now renewing her professional license and getting back to work in her field, with the heavy weight of her financial burden lifted.

MFJ in the News …

New York Law Journal announces Partnership for Children’s Rights’ merger with Mobilization for Justice.

MFJ Supervising Attorney Leah Goodridge, one of two tenant representatives on the Rent Guidelines Board, defends her vote for a rent freeze in an Op-Ed in City Limits. “Public Housing and Public Health: The Separate and Unequal Protection of Private and Public Housing Tenants’ Health in New York City,” by MFJ Supervising Attorney Justin La Mort, published in the American Bar Association’s Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, exposes how public housing tenants’ health is put at risk by government policies and practices and how public housing tenants receive unequal treatment when compared to tenants in private housing. It argues that lower rent should not mean lower expectations for tenant safety. After examining the history and regulatory structure that has led to this disparate treatment, the article stresses the importance of future NYCHA reform including greater funding transparency, accountability, and equality to ensure decent, affordable housing for all NYCHA tenants.

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Masthead photo by Cindy Knoke.