Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Annual Affordable Housing Conference

The Neighborhood Preservation Coalition (NPC) of New York State held its annual affordable housing conference and membership meeting on October 10th and 11th in Albany, NY. The Coalition is  committed to support community-based organizations that are working on preserving and improving the quality of life in poor neighborhoods. T
his is done thru the creation of affordable housing and the delivery of services such as eviction prevention, tenant counseling and property rehabilitation.  

Sinergia, Inc. is proud to be an NPC member and to be part of this life changing network that is dedicated to make affordable housing possible for people with disabilities in the areas of Northern Manhattan, Harlem and East Harlem. Our housing department delivers a variety of housing services which include: housing advocacy and assistance with court related issues, repairs, tenant's education and subsidy and low income housing applications. Currently we operate three Tier II shelters, 26 Individual Residential Alternatives (IRA) apartments and six Individual Support Services (ISS) apartments for people with disabilities.  

At Sinergia we find that it is vital for neighborhood's tenants to be able to obtain affordable housing and maintain current low rent control and rent stabilized apartments. This is why we provide intensive one-to-one advocacy and case management for people at risk of losing their apartments.  

This past year many NPCs have dedicated a great amount of resources working on restoring those neighborhoods that were most affected by Superstorm Sandy. The work of the community preservation programs becomes more necessary as we confront a housing crisis in New York City where rent prices have skyrocketed. Due to the fact that rents are so incredibly high, we have more people living in overcrowded conditions, a large number of eviction cases and people going into city shelters.
The purpose of having an annual conference for all NPCs is to discuss the needs of our neighborhoods in order to improve the quality of life of the people living in these areas by ensuring the supply of affordable housing, promoting economic development, and preserving the already existing services. This meeting allows us to determine how to invest our time and funding.  

The conference was attended by government representatives and political leaders that came together to have an open discussion with the coalition members on issues related to disaster recovery, job creation, improving small business, housing alternatives and other very important topics. Among the attendees were Fran Barrett, NYS Governor's Nonprofit Liaison, Karin Kunstler Goldman from NYS Attorney General's office, Joseph Galante from the NYS Comptroller's office and the NYS Assembly member, Patricia Fahy.  

Awards were presented to two prominent individuals that dedicated their lives to the creation and development of neighborhood preservation programs in New York State. William Allen, NYSHCR's Director of the Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Program was presented the 2013 Leadership award and Gail Webster, was recognized with the Luis Arce Success Award for her work as the executive Director of Hudson River Housing.  

Those present were able to learn what other agencies in New York are doing to improve their communities and network with other fellow organizations. The idea of this annual conference is to allow an open communication between agencies that are devoted to improving the lives of residents in their communities and to exchange ideas in order to replicate the good work in other parts of New York. Sinergia is always looking forward to learning innovative ideas in order to improve our services. The conference was a great experience in which we were able to learn various methods to improve the development of our community as well as to express our concerns and advocate for better services for our residents.

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