Non-profit

Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition

The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition is a left-of-center organization based in the Bronx, New York that engages in community organizing, political and civic engagement, and policy advocacy.

The coalition is a strong supporter of rent control: to that end, it was one of the leaders of the Upstate/Downstate Housing Alliance and its Housing for All campaign that led to enactment of rent control for all of New York State and more restrictions on when property owners can evict tenants in 2019.

History and Overview

The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition was formed in 1974 in the wake of series of arson and the abandonment of homes and businesses. The group helped stop the wave of arson. [1]

The organization works on issues related to affordable housing, weatherization assistance, health care, ending reliance on fossil fuels, education, and economic development. The coalition claims to be grounded in “racial justice and economic democracy” and it seeks to address systemic inequality. [2]

Community Organizing

The main way the coalition works to influence policy and opinion is by community organizing. It helps organize protests and demonstrations to promote their views. It also works to develop more community organizers through its leadership development programs and reach out to left-of-center-aligned clergy and their congregations. [3]

It also strongly pushes civic engagement as a means of activating voters. It organizes voter registration drives and get out the vote campaigns on behalf of left-wing candidates and campaigns. [4]

It also works to promote some policies and lobby lawmakers. [5] Among the policies it supported was the Community Reinvestment Act, the Student Safety Act which weakened discipline in New York City public schools,[6] and housing legislation. [7]

Staff

Sandra Lobo is the current executive director. Edward Garcia serves as the lead community development organizer. Leah James is the lead organizer for equitable economic development. Evy Viruet is the small business organizer. Claude Copeland is the energy organizer. Adelaide Alexander is the lead housing organizer. Jorky Badillo is the CNL organizing apprentice for Sistas and Brothas United, the coalition’s youth arm. Crystal Reyes is the youth director. Fran Fuselli is the weatherization director. [8]

The coalition is governed by a board that is made up of allied organizations. The president of the board is Juan Nunez. Chhaya Chhoum is the vice president. Margaret Groarke serves as the treasurer. Yorman Nunez serves as the secretary. [9]

2019 New York State Housing Laws

In 2019, New York State’s housing laws were set to expire. Democrats and tenant rights groups saw an opportunity to pass regulations including statewide rent control and barring landlords from evicting tenants without “good cause.” The real estate industry and “mom and pop” landlords opposed the legislation package. The package passed, despite the opposition of the real estate industry. [10]

The coalition joined forces with 70 other organizations and spent around $500,000 to get the package enacted into law. The $500,000 was spent to hire a full-time coordinator, pay for meals for tenants who were lobbying in Albany, hire a strategic communications firm, and buy targeted Facebook ads. [11]

The coalition was a part of the Upstate/Downstate Housing Alliance’s steering committee. The committee set strategy and issues. [12]

The IRS does not require nonprofit organizations to disclose their revenue sources. However, the real estate website the Real Deal discovered that some of the organizations the led the tenant alliance were funded by the Ford Foundation, which donated $438,000 to the Upstate/Downstate Alliance in 2017. [13] The Oak Foundation donated to member organizations. The alliance also received $150,000 from the Neighborhoods Trust Fund, which is funded by the Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, and Deutsche Bank. [14]

In addition to the lobbying effort, activists used direct action tactics. Eleven days until New York State’s rent laws expired, a human chain of tenants blocked the entrances of both chambers of the New York State Assembly, letting no one in or out. [15]

References

  1. “History”. 2019. Northwest Bronx Community And Clergy Coalition. Accessed October 11. https://www.northwestbronx.org/history. ^
  2.       “About Us”. 2019. Northwest Bronx Community And Clergy Coalition. Accessed October 11. https://www.northwestbronx.org/about-us. ^
  3. “About Us”. 2019. Northwest Bronx Community And Clergy Coalition. Accessed October 11. https://www.northwestbronx.org/about-us. ^
  4. “Civic Engagement”. 2019. Northwest Bronx Community And Clergy Coalition. Accessed October 11. https://www.northwestbronx.org/civic-engagement. ^
  5. “Strategic Policy Advocacy”. 2019. Northwest Bronx Community And Clergy Coalition. Accessed October 11. https://www.northwestbronx.org/strategic-policy. ^
  6. “The Student Safety Act”. 2019. New York Civil Liberties Union. Accessed October 11. https://www.nyclu.org/en/student-safety-act. ^
  7. “Strategic Policy Advocacy”. 2019. Northwest Bronx Community And Clergy Coalition. Accessed October 11. https://www.northwestbronx.org/strategic-policy. ^
  8. “Staff”. 2019. Northwest Bronx Community And Clergy Coalition. Accessed October 11. https://www.northwestbronx.org/staff. ^
  9.    “Board Of Directors And Affiliate Members”. 2019. Northwest Bronx Community And Clergy Coalition. Accessed October 11. https://www.northwestbronx.org/board. ^
  10. Brown, Nicole. 2019. “New York Rent Laws: How 9 Bills Could Change Regulations Across The State”. AM New York. https://www.amny.com/news/politics/rent-laws-new-york-1.30287622. ^
  11. Kromrei, Georgia. 2019. “The Money Behind The New York Tenant Movement”. The Real Deal, , 2019. ^
  12. “Who We Are”. 2019. Housing Justice For All. Accessed October 11. https://www.housingjusticeforall.org/who-we-are-1. ^
  13. Kromrei, Georgia. 2019. “The Money Behind The New York Tenant Movement”. The Real Deal, , 2019. ^
  14. Kromrei, Georgia. 2019. “The Money Behind The New York Tenant Movement”. The Real Deal, , 2019. ^
  15. Kromrei, Georgia. 2019. “The Money Behind The New York Tenant Movement”. The Real Deal, , 2019. ^
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