Equality for Flatbush defines ‘gentrification’ as a concerted, deliberate effort to price out low-to-middle income residents from neighborhoods by city government, corporations, real estate developers, and landlords in favor of renting, selling, and catering to people of higher and/or more flexible incomes. We see gentrification as an intersectional issue that is deeply connected to the ways that race, class, gender, sexuality, gender identity, age, ability, nation of origin, immigration status, physical and mental capacity, etc. impact individuals and our communities.
We know from first-hand experience that the same unscrupulous property owners who use tactics to force long-time older tenants of color out of their rent-stabilized apartments will turn around and illegally overcharge incoming younger white tenants for the same apartment.
For this very reason, we believe that all of us-long-time and new residents, communities of color and white communities, low-income and middle-class people – have a stake in the urgent struggle to save affordable housing in Brooklyn.
If you are a BROOKLYN residential or commercial TENANT or HOMEOWNER
experiencing harassment or need housing, legal or organizing resources
please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call /text (646)820-6039
En Español: (513) 445-8532
En Kréyol: (707) 200-3692
Launched in 2015, Before It’s Gone // Take It Back – B4G is the 1st Brooklyn-wide campaign to stop the displacement of #Brooklyn tenants, homeowners and small businesses due to gentrification.
Join us for a Brooklyn-wide B4G Meeting to plan for upcoming actions, find out ways to get involved and updates from different organizations across the borough.
Monday, May 7th
at JACK 505 1/2 Waverly Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238
(Between Fulton St. and Atlantic Ave)
for more info contact: B4G@equalityforflatbush.org or call /text (646)-820–6039
The tenants of 441 Brooklyn Ave are fighting for repairs.
Photos of repairs by Tom Knight for The E4F Video Strike Force : http://equalityforflatbush.
Please Sign & Circulate Widely: Petition to #SaveAmericanStar Hardware Store, a fixture in the Crown Heights, Brooklyn community for over 20 years !!
For over a year Mr. Mohammed Kamara, a small business owner has been in a legal battle with his landlord, Pastor Denzil Vaughn of Lanney Leonard Shand to stop the eviction and displacement of his store. American Star Hardware has been located at 1386 St Johns Place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn for over 20 years.
In February 2018, 674 people throughout New York City and across the country came together to raise $25,322 to help Mr. Mohammed Kamara, buy the building and save his business. Despite this tremendous community effort and securing a financial investor, Mr. Kamara’s landlords, Pastor Denzil Vaughan and Lanney Leonard Shand Trust are refusing to allow Mr. Kamara to buy the building and save his business from displacement.
Tell Pastor Denzil Vaughn & Lanney Leonard Shand Trust to DO THE RIGHT THING and sell the building at 1386 St Johns Place to Mr. Kamara! Crown Heights is one of the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn, with one of the highest rates of evictions and closures of small long-time businesses. Large real estate developers want nothing more than Pastor Denzil Vaughn of Lanney Leonard Shand Trust to sell the building to them, in order to build yet another towering hi-rise full of luxury condos. The only way to stop the rapid gentrification of Brooklyn is for us as a community to come together to stop the displacement of residents and small businesses like American Star Hardware Store We, the community are calling on Pastor Denzil Vaughn of Lanney Leonard Shand Trust to DO THE RIGHT THING and sell 1386 St Johns Place to Mr. Kamara.
Here is the GO FUND ME fundraising campaign created by Mr. Kamara’s neighbors: https://www.gofundme.com/help-
#SaveAmericanStar #WeLoveAmericanStar #WeLoveMrKamara #BrooklynIsNotforSale #CrownHeightsIsNotforSale #LanneyLeonardShandTrust #PastorDenzilVaughn
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BEFORE IT’S GONE // TAKE IT BACK: Documenting Brooklyn – Fighting Gentrification (B4G) is a Brooklyn-wide neighborhood and web-based response to the crisis of gentrification of Brooklyn, NY. www.beforeitsgone.co *
This website is a way for every day New Yorkers to tell their stories about was happening to them right now, on the ground. This is the place to share pictures and videos of OUR BROOKLYN. For us to meet your family – birth and chosen. It is the place to tell the stories about what it was like to grow up in Brooklyn or when you first arrived from Haiti, Bangladesh, Puerto Rico, Italy, Korea or wherever else. We want your footage of Old-Timers events in Red Hook, Brownsville and Bushwick. We want you to post pictures from your Quinceañeras, bar/bat mitzvahs, high school graduations, weddings, baby showers, Brooklyn LGBTQ Pride and Lunar New Year celebrations. This is the site that CELEBRATES the cultural, racial, ethnic, linguistic, social and economic diversity of #Brooklyn. #BeforeItsGone #TakeItBack
To Learn More : B4G Talking Points 2017
Our main goals are to:
- Organize “No Eviction Zones” throughout Brooklyn – block by block, building by building
- Maintain the 1st ever social media platform to resist gentrification by amplifying the stories of low-to-middle income Brooklyn residents
- Provide vital legal, housing and community organizing resources to help keep Brooklyn residents in their homes and small businesses in our communities
B4G 2017 Statistics:
E4F receives between 1-4 calls/emails/Facebook messages a day from residents requesting housing, legal, or community organizing referrals.
In 2017, we conducted 45 formal intakes with homeowners, small business owners, and tenants – including NYCHA, unregulated, rent-stabilized, and rent-controlled tenants – who expressed interest in engaging in a B4G campaign
25 of the 45 intakes (56%) led to either a B4G “No Eviction Zone” public campaign or an E4F private attorney taking their case
These 45 residents lived across 12 Brooklyn neighborhoods: Bedford-Stuyvesant/Clinton Hill, Bensonhurst, Canarsie, Crown Heights, Cypress Hill/Brownsville, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Sunset Park, and Williamsburg. E4F also conducted 2 campaigns for tenants living in The Lower East Side and Queens, NY .
Equality for Flatbush is a grassroots resident-led, volunteer-based organization that currently does not have a full-time staff or an office.
E4F provided a Private Lawyer and/or Community Organizing Campaign for 12 individual rent-stabilized, NYCHA and unregulated tenants or households in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Crown Heights, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush and Sunset Park as well as a tenant living in NYCHA housing in the Lower East Side and a rent-stabilized tenant living in Queens, NY.
4 out of the 12 individual tenants or households were unregulated, meaning they have little legal protection against eviction under New York State law.
Through a private attorney and legal intern, E4F began legally representing and conducting interviews of clients of a supportive housing program who were being targeted for eviction by a predatory landlord
Tenant Associations/Building-wide Organizing of Rent-Stabilized Tenants:
In 2017, E4F engaged in tenant organizing in approximately 23 historically rent-stabilized buildings in Brooklyn.
We helped to create or have supported the work of 15 Tenant Associations in 2017.
E4F organized or supported the work of 4 “Tenant Congresses”, where 2 or more Tenant Associations were fighting the same landlord/management company.
As of 12/29/2017, E4F is working with 10 Tenant Associations and is in the process of organizing 3 more. 7 of out 10 of these tenant associations are currently engaged in or in the process of filing a legal action against their landlord
As of 12/29/2017, E4F is working on legal and/or community organizing campaigns on the behalf of 9 Homeowners in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of East Flatbush, East New York, Bed-stuy and Prospect Heights
7 of the 9 Homeowners are seeking damages or fighting displacement due to real estate developers
All 9 Homeowners are Black or Latinx identified
To date, E4F has won the renewal of 3 commercial leases through private negotiation and/or community campaigns. We have also made several legal referrals, as well as provided free or low-cost legal representation to 1 small business and 1 Community Garden in Brooklyn.
In 2017, E4F provided legal or community organizing support for 5 long-time small business owners, 1 Merchant Association and 1 Community Garden. These business entities were located in the neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Flatbush, Park Slope and East New York
Here are also the current E4F Working Groups/Teams to Join:
- Translation/Language Accessibility Team
- The Fundraising Committee
- Administrative & Office Team includes Graphic Designers & Artists
- Social Media & Online Outreach Team includes building the content for www.beforeitsgone.co
- B4G Organizers : focused on supporting Tenants, Small Businesses & Homeowners
- Real Estate Watch : Investigative Research and Resource Team:
- B4G Tenant Harassment Documentation Team : for Videographers & Filmmakers
- League of Extraordinary Lawyers
Please contact us at : email@example.com or (646) 820-6039. Please feel free to join our B4G Volunteers gogglegroups in the meantime: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/b4g-volunteers
CURRENT B4G CAMPAIGNS TO SUPPORT
New #EqualityforFlatbush Video #ThisIsFlatbush : Fighting Back Against the Corporate Rebranding of Flatbush, Brooklyn #ThisIsFlatbush #FlatbushForever #LittleCaribbean #Beforeitsgone #TakeItBack #BrooklynisNotforSale
B4G sticker sightings:
Just a saw a #BeforeItsgone Sticker ???
Please TAKE A PICTURE & Post it to social media using #beforeitsgone hashtag OR send the picture to firstname.lastname@example.org or text (646)820-6039
5/7/18 ACTION ALERT FOR 441 Brooklyn Ave: CITY SHUTDOWNS DANGEROUS ELEVATOR at 411 Brooklyn Ave! Spera Brothers / ABBA Realty Manager is NOT concerned about tenants safety and instead said “tenants who reported the broken elevator to 311 are to blame for the inconvenience”
The 411 Brooklyn Ave Tenants Association is asking the community to Please Call 718.677.1667. Ask for Mike Spera, Steve Spera or Carmella Chapman &/ or email Carmella Chapman at : email@example.com – TELL them we the elevator at 411 Brooklyn Ave to be fixed IMMEDIATELY
On May 1st, 2018, Tenants at 411 Brooklyn Ave reported to Equality for Flatbush that the Dept of Buildings had shut the elevator at their 6-story apartment building. There are many tenants, some of whom live on the top floors or have small children who will struggle with daily tasks like doing laundry, carrying packages, or groceries while the elevator is out. The last time the elevator was out, it was down for several months. Some elderly tenants were forced to move out temporarily from their apartments until the elevator was fixed.
When a tenant leader, simply called the Spera management office to find out how long the elevator would be out, she was appalled to learn that the manager was not at all concerned about the safety of the tenants but instead said, “tenants who reported the broken elevator to 311 are to blame for the inconvenience” . This is incredibly alarming given that The 411 Brooklyn Ave Tenants Association is currently engaged in a legal battle with for repairs against Mike and Steve Spera of ABBA Realty. Tenants have also reported over the last few days that water and other services have been turned off without being notified.
Again, the 411 Brooklyn Ave Tenants Association is asking the community to Please Call 718.677.1667. ask for Mike Spera , Steve Spera or Carmella Chapman &/ or email Carmella Chapman at : firstname.lastname@example.org – TELL them we the elevator at 411 Brooklyn Ave to be fixed IMMEDIATELY
BEFORE IT’S GONE // TAKE IT BACK: Documenting Brooklyn – Fighting Gentrification (B4G) is the Brooklyn-wide anti-gentrification campaign ofEquality for Flatbush
#MYNYCLANDLORD #MikeandSteveSpera #ABBARealty #441BrooklynAve #NoEvictionZone #CrownHeights #Brooklyn #Beforeitsgone #TakeItBack
On 3/2/2018, the Grand Putnam Tenants Association, which consists of 4 historically rent-stabilized buildings in the Bed-stuy/Clinton Hill neighborhood, publicly announced that they were engaging a RENT STRIKE against their landlord Coastline Apartment Investors. Currently, The Grand Putnam Tenants are in the midst of a legal battle with their landlord.
Tenants received no notice prior to various construction projects beginning, nor has there been any communication from the landlord/management at Coastline regarding the length of the projects. There has been no courtesy extended in the form of a note apologizing for the inconvenience and outright danger of being forced to walk through wet, loose tiling to access one’s home.
#BedStuy #Brooklyn #ClintonHill #MYNYCLandlord #NoEvictionZone #Beforeitsgone #Takeitback
#BrooklynEquities #MyNYCLandlord #NoEvictionZone #TenantsFightBack #BeforeItsGone #TakeitBack #BrooklynIsNotforSale
After burying their father/ grandfather, Tenants of Slumlord Isaac Pollack come home to NO electricity
Equality for Flatbush learned on Saturday, 2/24/18 that a family at 104/110 Empire Blvd came home to find that they had no electricity in their apartment even though their CON EDISON bill was paid. (pictures attached)
The family can home on Saturday after being away for the funeral services of their father/grandfather to find that all the electricity was off in the apartment. Their elderly father/grandfather lived in the apartment for 45 years and family members had moved in over a year ago specifically to take care him.
Once their father/ grandfather, became very ill, Isaac Pollack began an eviction proceeding against him. The next court date is set for early March. STAY TUNED for potential details!
CON EDISON came out to 104/110 Empire Blvd, on Sunday afternoon and turned the power on and stated “that it was turned off manually by someone who had access to the basement. “
To get involved in the campaign to arrest Isaac Pollack CONTACT: B4G@equalityforflatbush.org OR Call 646.820.6039 #ArrestIsaacPollack #NoEvictio
BEFORE IT’S GONE // TAKE IT BACK: Documenting Brooklyn – Fighting Gentrification (B4G) is the Brooklyn-wide anti-gentrification campaign of Equality for Flatbush www.
#ArrestIsaacPollack #NoEvictionZone #MYNYCLANDLORD #TenantsFightBack #BLACKLIVESMATTER #Beforeitsgone #TakeitBack
Ways you can support Equality for Flatbush’s #ArrestIsaacPollack
*Support the Heat & Hot Water Action Alert from The 332 Rutland Ave Tenants Association: Demand that Issac Pollack provide adequate heat & hot water for the building 24 hours a day. All winter long heat and hot water have been sporadic and inconsistent at 332 Rutland Road especially between 12 am to 8 am. Report Slumlord Isaac Pollack to 311: Call 311 or Complain Online: http://www1.nyc.gov/
*Please continue to sign and circulate the petition demanding Isaac Pollack hire a super for 332 Rutland Road: https://www.
*FLOOD Isaac Pollack with CALLS at (347) 680.5393 & DEMAND he provides adequate heat & hot water as well as hire a super IMMEDIATELY!
COME OUT to Court on March 8th & Stand with The 332 Rutland Road Tenants Association in their fight to win a super and repairs for their building. Wear your #BrooklynIsNOTforSale or
*COME OUT to Court on April 16th LET ISAAC POLLACK know that the COMMUNITY STANDS with Ms. Smith . Wear your #BrooklynIsNOTforSale or #DefendBrooklyn T-shirts or wear Black 9:30 am 141 Livingston St. Brooklyn, NY 11237 ROOM506. https://www.facebook.com/
Please sign & circulate the petition to demand Isaac Hirsch & JIH Builders Stop the Evictions and Harassment of The Tenants of 693 Madison Street
We, the undersigned, are supporters of The 693 Madison Street Tenants Association and demand that Isaac Hirsch and JIH Builders cease all forms of tenant harassment.
JIH Builders has also used other illegal tactics of harassment to punish the remaining 693 Madison Street tenants in an effort to force them out of their apartments including:
- Round the clock, non-stop construction on vacant apartments
- The use of industrial paint with fumes so toxic that an ambulance had to be called for a grandmother and two children
- Restricting access to the basement with a combination lock on the door so tenants are unable to check meter readings. As a result, the gas and electric bills are higher than average
- The incessant blaring of the roof door alarm day and night after a JIH Builders worker came to fix the broken door
- Sending 30-day notices to vacate
- Refusal to issue new leases
- Daily calls telling the tenants they must move
We also call upon the community to contact Isaac Hirsch to tell him tenant harassment is a crime and that they must stop the mass evictions at 693 Madison Street:
President and CEO
JIH Builders Group LLC
We the undersigned stand with The 693 Madison Street Tenants Association and demand JIH Builders cease all tenant harassment and the mass evictions.
Video shot and Edited by Nadeem Salaam of Elev Trax @elevtrtrax
BEFORE IT’S GONE // TAKE IT BACK: Documenting Brooklyn – Fighting Gentrification is a Brooklyn-wide project of Equality for Flatbush www.
#BedStuy, #Brooklyn #MYNYCLandlord #NoEvictionZone #Beforeitsgone #TakeitBack #JIHBuilders #693MadisonStreet #TenantsFightBack
#JusticeforMsElias Action Alert
Flood the NYC Department Of Buildingswith calls on behalf of Ms. Elias to demand the immediate removal of work permits their department illegally granted M Remodeling Corporation for 438 Herkimer St.
Ask WHY has the Brooklyn Department has failed to uphold the rule of law? Ms. Elias has WON 2 “Stop Work Orders” in the Supreme Court against M Remodeling Corporation. Why are they allowed to continue construction at 438 Herkimer St.?
Call Brooklyn Borough Office of Dept of Buildings
Ira Gluckman, RA, Borough Commissioner
Kazimir Vilenchik, PE, Deputy Borough Commissioner
Reda Shehata, RA, Deputy Borough Commissioner
Borough Manager: (718) 802-3635
Customer Service: (718) 802-3675
TTY Number: (718) 802-4330
FOR MORE DETAILS SEE THE NEW E4F VIDEO: https://youtu.be/1Fb0zDFWKb0
Looking for more videographers and editors to volunteer on The BEFORE IT’S GONE // TAKE IT BACK (B4G) Tenant Harassment Documentation Team which is part of our #NoEvictionZone campaign.
Tenant Harassment RAMPANT & REAL! We are looking for more video and film folks to help get out the stories of courageous tenants standing up against their landlords in Brooklyn Housing Court or organizing their neighbors in their buildings. Have an idea for a project? — WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT!
To get involved or for more info : contact Equality for Flatbush at: email@example.com
or call/text (646) 820-6039
Equality for Flatbush calls for the ARREST of Racist Slumlord Isaac Pollack for Tenant Harassment
#ArrestIsaacPollack #NoEvictionZone #MYNYCLANDLORD #TenantsFightBack #BLACKLIVESMATTER
The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) is a people of color-led, mass-based coalition of tenants, homeowners, block associations, anti-police brutality groups, legal and grassroots organizations working together to end the rampant gentrification and displacement of low to middle income residents of Brooklyn, New York. BAN was initiated by Equality for Flatbush in 2015. To Get Involved Join The Brooklyn Anti-gentrification Network – BAN Community List
The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) in solidarity with our member organization Mi Casa No Es Su Casa opposes the current plan to rezone the neighborhood of Bushwick as endorsed by Brooklyn Community Board 4 with Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal. We know all too well that the process of rezoning, the change of land use initiated under the guise of community preservation and additional affordable housing, far too often becomes a hostage situation where communities bargain for crumbs with the city or risk getting nothing. The general public should understand that rezoning is an opportunity for real estate interests to raise real estate prices and their subsequent abilities to make profits under our feet, and that no level of additional services or amenities that our neighborhoods already deserve should be used to justify this fact.
When Mayor De Blasio was first elected mayor in 2013, his answer to the city’s housing crisis was a plan that called for the construction and preservation of 200,000 affordable units across the city. The majority of this goal would be through saving units from falling out of the state’s rent stabilization program but 80,000 of that number would be newly built in fifteen communities chosen to be rezoned for increased density to accommodate that new construction. In addition, the city passed a new housing policy, known as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, to encourage more affordable units across the city, but only mandatory after a neighborhood is rezoned. This policy was the supposed solution to counteract the a wave of market rate development coming not only to the targeted communities of the rezonings but citywide.
But what happens when affordable housing isn’t affordable enough for the community already there? During the Bloomberg administration, dozens of neighborhoods were rezoned in ways that changed the rental landscape of the city, often subsidized by programs such as the 421a tax abatement and with very few demands of developers for affordable housing and no protections for current tenants. One of the worst examples was the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfront rezoning, where in exchange for an upzoning that would allow 20 and 30 story towers, promises were made but not kept and new developments have led to the displacement of tens of thousands of former rent stabilized tenants and small businesses within the rezoned and adjacent areas.
Fast forward a dozen years and the failures of that process have shown up on the steps of Bushwick, which has seen some of the highest rent increases over the past 10 years and has been found to be the neighborhood most likely to have housing code violations in the city. In 2014, Brooklyn Community Board 4 with Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal created a process they have called the “Bushwick Community Plan”, which now consists of a Steering Committee for mostly staff of nonprofits that stand to potentially gain through improved relationships with council members based on their support of the process and may have disproportionate power over which parts of the community are represented in these conversations and which are not. Truly, the Bushwick Community Plan has been anything but community focused, as was best exemplified by Brooklyn Department of City Planning director Winston Von Engel when he said at a February community meeting about the plan that “our intention is to preserve the character and the buildings, not the people in them.”
We as the residents of this city must recognize this Freudian slip for the truth it holds of this process. The goal of the dozens of small meetings behind closed doors has never been to address the needs of Bushwick residents for better enforcement of tenant law against landlords, seek to use land available for the creation of affordable housing or for additional municipal services – school seats, public transportation, garbage removal, etc – that many local residents have advocated for in good faith. What has actually happened is an illusion of democracy that is being calibrated to both meet the mayor’s intended quota for the neighborhood and minimize potential community backlash. The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network demands no more rezonings as a tool to allow record real-estate profits in the name of community preservation and for the Bushwick Plan Steering Committee to end this process before irreparable harm is done to the neighborhood.
For more info contact : 646-820-6039| info@BANgentrification.org
UPCOMING BAN EVENTS
The next Brooklyn Anti-gentrification Network meeting is 6/11 at 7p at the NYC Solidaity Center located at 147 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011 . Join us to help develop our 2018 campaigns including They Say We Say, anti-gentrification teach-ins, and more. Whose City? Our City! https://www.facebook.com/events/169434913723437/
Contact : firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text (646) 820 -6039
For details on the next planning meeting : https://bangentrification.org/events/
Real Estate Watch is the E4F investigative Research Team that works to hold greedy landlords and developers accountable by providing information and tools to empower residents.
Current Real Estate Watch Campaigns:
- Equality for Flatbush’s Real Estate Watch creates Map of Properties Bought up by Predator Developer #OzoneDevelopment, LLC https://beforeitsgone.co/stories/Gvdr74
- Real Estate Watch releases Fact Sheet on a predatory developer, Rafael (Rafi) Manor
The intent of this initiative is to bring new residents together, building by building, block by block, in solidarity against the skyrocketing rents and property grabs by developers that is transforming our neighborhoods.
Contact us for information on how to get involved.