The Tenants’ Coalition was one of the many organizations across the country that was nominated for the NLIHC’s 2017 Organizing Award. The NLIHC’s Sarah Jemison writes about the success of the Tenants’ Coalition.
The Tenants’ Coalition was nominated for the 2017 Organizing Award in recognition of the group’s commitment to empowering tenants and expanding access to affordable rental housing in Newark, New Jersey.
The Tenants’ Coalition members include public housing tenant organizations, tenants living in subsidized housing, public housing residents, other renters, and homeowners. Seventy-three percent of Newark residents rent their homes. The Greater Newark HUD Tenants Coalition advocates for the needs of this broad population in addition to the specific needs of residents of federally assisted housing.
The Tenants’ Coalition works to maintain the city’s decreasing number of public and private federal subsidized homes, to preserve Newark’s strong rent control ordinance, and to create a strong inclusionary zoning ordinance. In 2016, the group successfully fought to preserve 166 units of affordable housing units in the City of Newark by relocating households to new apartments using U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Housing Choice (Section 8) vouchers.
These relocated households had been living in affordable housing that was slated to be demolished.
The Tenants’ Coalition also raises support for residents of subsidized housing at public events. Two examples of events include a June 2016 rally in support of repairs to public housing apartments and a September demonstration at Newark City Hall as a part of the National Renters Day of Action. At the September event, coalition members called for city leaders to protect their constituents against gentrification and displacement.
Finally, the Tenants’ Coalition works to educate and empower residents across the city, helping tenants understand their rights and fight eviction.
Writing in support of the Tenants’ Coalition’s nomination, Arnold Cohen, Senior Policy Coordinator at the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, an NLIHC State Partner, said, “Their work has meant concrete improvements in very low income tenants’ lives…they have worked with tenants to successively keep their buildings affordable by fighting rent increases and stopping owners from opting out of HUD subsidies.”