Save the Date!!
Spring Fling at Gibb Mansion
The Ribbon Cutting of The Hawthorne Condominiums
The 44th Annual Meeting at the South Oxford Art Space
|PACC Talk Spring 2008
...Read about the pursuit of building an equitable, diverse, engaged and flourishing community in central Brooklyn.
||Dermot Tenants Meet at LAPC
Tenants and Community Leaders Unite Against Harassment at the Lafayette Avenue
On Thursday, February 20th,
Brooklyn tenants living in residential buildings owned by The Dermot Company met with PACC at
the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. Approximately 200 tenants, lawyers,
advocates, media and local politicians were invited to be part of this
PACC, a community based
organization entering its fifth decade, noticed an increasing
trend of harassment from tenants of buildings locally owned by The Dermot Company (Dermot is the same private equity company that acquired the
Williamsburg Savings Bank Building at 1 Hanson Place).
After numerous calls and
walk-ins from disgruntled tenants, PACC's Community Organizers Elana Shneyer,
Juanita Edwards and Hector Rivera, put the following buildings under
"Displacement Watch": 25 and 99 Lafayette Avenue, 266 Washington
Avenue, 260 & 262 St. James Place, and most recently, 311 Lincoln Place and
301 Cumberland Street. Residents of these buildings are united when it comes to
their grievances; they claim that they have been brought to court on frivolous
non payment cases and been forced to prove that their apartments
are their primary residence. Their requests for repairs are being neglected and
improvements to vacant apartments have been disruptive of their right to quiet
As an alternative to the
"Legal Clinic", held once a month at the PACC main office (201 Dekalb
Avenue), PACC decided to invite all the Dermot tenants to the meeting. Michael
Weisberg from South Brooklyn Legal Services
offered his counsel to families in need and Milano Graduate
students were on hand surveying tenants to document patterns of harassment. PACC
staff involved the tenants directly by having them sign a letter to Earvin
"Magic" Johnson CEO of The Canyon Johnson Urban Fund, who partnered with Dermot
to purchase the Williamsburg Savings Bank. Althea Watson, a PACC Board Member,
wanted the tenant meeting to have a greater impact and thought that a letter to
Johnson, known also for his philanthropy, would help shed light on the
the local electeds in attendance were Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, Council
Member Letitia James, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. Surprisingly,
representatives from The Dermot Company were present, including key executive David Sorise,
but chose not to address the crowd.
Jeffries and Montgomery promised
the audience that the harassment bill that was recently passed, Local Law 7, was not in vain. However, it was Council Woman James, who put a hush over
the crowd as she assured everyone that they can rip up any "buyout offers", a
tactic used to metaphorically dangle a carrot in front of long-term tenants
luring them out of their apartments. While sternly looking at Dermot's representatives,
Ms. James basically told the crowd that her office was working very hard to
keep tenants in their homes, and that no private equity group has the right to
harass an individual whether they own the property or not.
To find out more about PACC's
legal clinics and how you can lend your talents, call 718-522-2613 extension 16
||The Visual Journey
Social Service Interns host The Visual Journey at Gibb Mansion; a look at the past, present and future.
evening of Friday March 28th was a night of emotional reflection as
staff and residents of Gibb Mansion presented the very first Visual Journey; A
showcase of photo essays depicting their past, present and future. Hosted by
Social Service Interns, Angie Dang and Carli Ovadek, The Velmanette
Montgomery Library at Gibb Mansion had a packed audience as residents, staff,
and even a handful of local Bedford-Stuyvesant residents, offered their support
to participants of the presentation.
Mansion is home to
some 71 Individuals that are single, low-income adults, or that may be
chronically ill but are working toward the goal of independent living. Equipped
with a camera and a journal, the groups met weekly at Gibb to share techniques
and images, and on some occasions engage in group sessions with a professional
photographer. Group members had the opportunity to take pictures together
or on their own. As a group they traveled to other neighborhoods and places of
interest; Central Park to capture the beauty of winter or taking in the
architectural grandeur of Rockefeller Center.
PACC's Director of Program's, Jeffery Nguyen,
opened the presentation by thanking everyone for taking part and introducing
the interns, Angie Dang and Carli Ovadek. Angie a student at NYU and Carli a
graduate of SUNY New Paltz explained that the philosophy behind the Visual
Journey was to explore the importance of society and environment and its impact
on the residents of the Gibb Mansion community.
The participants of the Visual Journey were given a chance to present a few images to the audience during a slideshow. Visibly moved by their own images, each resident described what each photo meant to them. Carli and Angie, then presented the residents with plaques commemorating their achievements during the six months of the program.
Dang said, "The showcase represented weeks of hard work, soul searching and
talent from residents and staff. The purpose for taking each of these photos were then shared
and discussed with peers at our weekly meetings. This gave participants the
opportunity to see images and perspectives through a different
lens, in addition to sharing individual stories through their own
Carli Ovadek continues, "Angie
and I want to use this night to recognize the hard work of the Gibb Mansion
residents, and give members the chance to present these pieces to the
community and important people with their lives."
To find out more about the Visual Journey and the invaluable work that the interns do call 718-398-5100 extension 13.
|PACC Staff Corner
Lets Welcome The Newest Faces of PACC!
In March 2008, PACC welcomed two new staff members to our
Community Organizing team. Elana Shneyer and Heather Knopsnyder.
Taking over from our previous Lead Organizer, Anderson
Fils-Aime, Elana Shneyer is our new Lead Community Organizer. Elana is a native
New Yorker from the upper west side of Manhattan. She comes to us from
Partnership for the Homeless and has a
Bachelors degree in Cultural Anthropology. Elana often says that organizing is
in her 'genetic makeup'. She goes on to say, "In the late 50's, my grandmother
organized the first congressional sit-in of terminally ill patients, and when I
was in high school, I petitioned for students to have 3 rides versus 2 rides on
the student metro cards." With a background as solid as Elana's we are elated
that she has joined the PACC family. Elana can be reached at extension 16.
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Heather relocated to New
York in July of 2007. "My Fiancée and I moved here when his business expanded
to the New York metro area. I found PACC on the internet and I am happy to be
here seven months later." Before moving to Brooklyn, Heather worked for Allston Brighton CDC, a community based organization with the same fundamentals as PACC.
Miss KnopSnyder is a graduate of Tufts University (Boston) where she obtained
her Master's degree in Open Space/Community Planning. She has a wealth of organizing
experience, and is continuing her work with us as our Section 8 Organizer.
Heather Knopsnyder can be reached at extension 25.
Ms. Howard Receives Recognition from Neighborworks®
Congratulations goes to our Executive Director, Deb Howard! She
was selected to participate in the fourth class of the NeighborWorks®
Achieving Excellence in Community Development program ("AE4") at Harvard
University. Her accomplishments represent the spectrum and richness of seasoned
leaders in the community development field.
Property Managers Receive Elite Certification
Stephanie Blue, Property Management Director, and two of her
staff Maria Navarro and Nicole Lovell passed The NAHB University of Housing "Registered in Apartment
Management/RAM" examination. PACC manages over 50 residential buildings in Central
Brooklyn. Totaling almost 600 units, Our Property Management Staff are unsung heroes,
who work diligently to ensure our buildings remain some of the best in
Stephanie Blue Maria Navarro Nicole Lovell
To find out more about PACC or to become a member, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit us on the web at www.prattarea.org
Pratt Area Community Council