My name is Jose Velez and last year, when I was threatened with being evicted from the home I have lived in with my elderly mother for the past 27 years, I knew I had to take a stand. I had already lost my building maintenance job, unemployment benefits had run out, and there was little chance of me finding a new job in this weak economy. But I couldn’t just give in – my 82-year-old, disabled mother depended on me.
And I knew exactly what to do – I came to PACC. PACC helped me years ago when we had 107 violations in our 8 unit building. If it wasn’t for PACC, we wouldn’t have gotten the apartments repaired.
PACC directed me to the right organizations and charities and told me the right steps to take. They advocated alongside me in housing court; connected me with free legal help; assisted my mother with her Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption application; and were there for me every step of the way.
Last month, financial assistance from NYC and CAMBA came through and I was able to pay off the rent arrears and save my apartment. I am currently enrolled in HRA’s Work Experience Program (WEP) and Back to Work Program (BTW) and in a much better financial situation.
Supporting our neighbors
Like Jose Velez, many working class families struggle to eke out a living in NYC. Daily, people on the verge of eviction or foreclosure, or who are living in unhealthy, often dangerous conditions, come to us for help. With your support, we will continue to advocate for tenants and homeowners, build affordable housing and create local economic opportunities.
Please donate so that PACC can continue to help Velez and many others like him.
Protecting Affordable Housing in Brooklyn
PACC has always believed that the problems that affect our neighborhoods are best solved by the people who are directly impacted. Our monthly free legal clinics and tenants rights workshops teach people to stand up against displacement and rectify long-standing maintenance grievances. Last year we developed over 30 new tenant associations, giving tenants the skills they need to advocate for themselves and their communities. And through PACC Leadership Group, we are developing leaders who take major roles in statewide campaigns such as the Living Wage Campaign.
Defending people’s homes against foreclosure
PACC’s Home Services department first became involved with mortgage foreclosures in 1993 when a homeowner lost his Clinton Hill home due to a shady $75,000 predatory mortgage. While the profile of the home owners seeking PACC’s assistance has changed from predatory lending victims to people facing economic hardship, we remain at the forefront of the fight against foreclosures. Since July 2010, we have individually counseled over 260 people facing default or foreclosure, kept 32 families in their homes by modifying their mortgages to affordable rates, and persistently advocated on behalf of our community for legislation and other initiatives to save people’s homes.
Championing Small Business Owners on Fulton Street
PACC is spearheading Fulton Street revitalization, ensuring that small businesses have the capital and expertise to compete. Since 2008, our innovative Rolling Up the Gates storefront strolls have nurtured the opening of over 50 businesses. Annually, dozens of local merchants benefit from PACC’s one-on-one small business services, obtaining business tools, services and referrals to a broad range of no- and low-cost business specialists, such as pro bono legal advice from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. And, our popular Small Business and Marketing Workshop Series develops local merchants into savvy small business owners through expert led classes focusing on acquiring and managing a thriving business.
Preserving and Creating Homes
Over the past 20 years, PACC has developed 88 buildings, or 813 low- and moderate income apartments, of which we manage 697. Current projects, totaling 187 apartments, include a new 98-unit supportive housing building, Navy Green, in the Fort Greene/Wallabout neighborhood of Brooklyn; a 71-unit renovation project at 265 Hawthorne; and the historic preservation of an 18-unit affordable housing development that is also an exceptional landmark building—the former Headquarters of the Fire Department of the City of Brooklyn. By the end of this year, PACC will reach a milestone of 1000 affordable rental and home ownership apartments!
For 47 years PACC has been working to keep community residents safe in their homes. Please donate now. As a not for profit, 501(c)3, organization, your donation is tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
Sun, January 1, 2012
by Michelle Etwaroo