Island House Tenants Association, Inc.
Number #3/December 30, 2004
The Island House Tenants Association sends its best wishes for a happy and healthy new year to each and every tenant of Island House!
Before the close of 2004, we wanted to inform you of what the IHTA has been working on and the goals it is working toward.
The IHTA would like to thank those Island House residents who voted in the recent tenant elections. As specified in a flier delivered to each apartment and posted in the lock box located in the lobby, residents were given the option of either placing their own name on the ballot or writing in a suitable nominee.
The subsequent election, overseen by members of the outgoing IHTA Executive Board, yielded the following results: Amrah Cardoso, Co-Chair; Mario Naves, Co-Chair; Renato Folla, Vice-Chair; Geoffrey Kerr, Treasurer; and Harriet Lieber, Secretary.
The new Executive Board looks forward to working with the tenancy in the effort to maintain affordable housing on Roosevelt Island.
The IHTA is a not-for-profit corporation; the tenants listed above constitute its Board of Directors.
Letter to the Attorney General
Pursuant to a tenant-sponsored buyout, permission must be granted by the Attorney General to raise funds for the purpose of merely considering the step. A letter to Eliot Spitzer, New York State Attorney General, has been filed on behalf of the tenancy by Arlo Chase, our legal representative from the firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips. It allows for the raising of funds--including those devoted to an engineering study and financing possibilities for a conversion--specific to exploring a tenant sponsored buyout. We will be alerting tenants as to the Attorney Generalís response upon its receipt by the IHTA.
IHTA Mission Statement
The mission of the IHTA is to represent the tenancy in matters concerning rent, quality of life, public safety, maintenance and possible conversion from the Mitchell-Lama program, all the while maintaining the Mitchell-Lama objective--affordable housing for middle-income New Yorkers--as a reality.
To achieve this mission, the IHTA will rely on the following tenant-volunteer committees: Quality of life; public safety; maintenance; rent; and housing transition. Members of the committees will make recommendations to the board as to appropriate courses of action pertaining to their particular field. The Board has the right to ask the Committee to follow up on a particular action. Following are the responsibilities of each committee:
Quality of Life: The objective is to follow up, and possibly challenge, RIOC measures that decrease the quality of life on Roosevelt Island--i.e., diminution of open space, new construction, excessive noise and public nuisances, etc. The committee will maintain contact with our elected officials about legislation pertaining to Roosevelt Island.
Public Safety: The objective is to follow up on RIOC's or Public Safety's measures that will have financial and/or safety implication to the residents of Roosevelt Island. This responsibility requires meeting with RISK and Public Safety, as well as attending RIOC public meetings.
Maintenance: The objective is to follow up on the management company's measures that will have a variety of implications--in terms of safety, quality of life and financial impact--for Island House residents. This will require meetings with the operating staff of the Management Company. (As of December 2004, the maintenance committee is fully represented by tenant volunteers.)
Rent: This committee will be called in to action once a request to increase rent is made by the owners. Responsibilities include examining maintenance and capital costs submitted to DHCR.
Building Transition: This committee will be called in to action upon receipt of the Attorney General to conduct conversations with the owners regarding a possible conversion from a Mitchell Lama rental. The committee will examine the ground lease and "PILOT" requirements; and federal, state and city legislation that could have an impact on the financial ability of tenants to purchase the building or continue as renters.
The Island House web site is up and running and can be found at the following address: www.islandhouse.us Though still under construction, the web site affords tenants the opportunity to become involved in the future of their homes. Currently the web site features a bulletin board on which residents can engage in discussions that address their questions, concerns and hopes. In the future, IHTA announcements and newsletters will appear on the web site.
To those without regular access to a computer: Donít fret. Information will continue to be supplied via fliers posted in the display cases by the buildingís mail boxes.
Please go to the web site today, securely register and make your voice heard! With your participation, the IHTA will gain a clearer idea of the will of the tenancy.
The IHTA would like to acknowledge Frank Farance, whose continuing efforts in building the web site, as well as serving as its webmaster, are gratefully appreciated.
The IHTA is collating the information gathered from the housing surveys delivered to tenants last month. We are grateful to those residents who took the time to fill out the survey. We will post the preliminary results of the survey on the buildingís web site after the new year.
If you havenít had the opportunity to do so, please take a moment, fill out the survey and place it in the IHTA box in the lobby. If you turned in a survey and were subsequently asked to re-submit another copy of the same survey, please accept our apologies.
The IHTA would like to be as accurate as possible in ascertaining the will and need of the tenancy.
The efforts to save our homes comes at a cost. Each of the tenants who serves on a committees does so as a volunteer. Our legal team does not. Nor will the services of an engineering firm--a necessary service that will help us determine the condition of Island House.
The effort to maintain affordable housing will be an expensive venture; it is also a necessary venture. Without adequate and ongoing funding the IHTA cannot work on your behalf. At the beginning of January 2005 we will be instituting an ongoing donation schedule. The suggested monthly donation for each apartment will be $50.00 per month.
We realize that not everyone will be able to afford this amount. Please know that any amount you can donate to our cause is appreciated. However, in order to realistically pursue the cause of affordable housing significant funds need to be raised as soon as possible. The more each and every one of us participates the more effective the IHTA will be in working for our common cause--and the more likely the suggested donation can be lowered in coming months.
Our Treasurer, Geoffrey Kerr, intends to provide full and frequent accounting for all funds received and disbursed by the IHTA.
In the coming weeks a flier will be distributed listing the details of our fund-raising drive. In the meantime, donations can be left in the new and secure IHTA box in the lobby, located by the mailboxes in the south lobby. We would like to thank Jennifer Jones of Blackwell Management for providing the new box.
A public meeting of the IHTA Executive Board will take place during January 2005. Important updates will be announced and discussed. Please look for an announcement on your doorstep as to time and date. Join your fellow tenants and voice your questions, comments and concerns!
Island House Tenants Association, Inc.
Amrah Cardoso*Renato Folla*Geoffrey Kerr
Harriet Lieber*Mario Naves