About UHAB

UHAB is a 45-year old affordable housing nonprofit that creates opportunities for resident empowerment by supporting low-income residents to take control of their housing solutions, and build their communities through cooperation.

We organize residents to be active participants and decision-makers in shaping and building their neighborhoods. Most notably, UHAB utilizes cooperative ownership as a model for democratic participation, and a tool for permanent affordability, helping to create and preserve over 30,000 affordable co-op units across the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. UHAB’s programs address a cycle of affordable housing needs: from building resident power and organizing tenants as community leaders to preserving existing affordable co-ops through  training, education workshops, technical assistance, regulatory compliance, and providing co-op share-loans.

In addition to preservation, UHAB’s programs and activities address the needs of future generations through long-term solutions: developing new affordable co-ops, creating energy efficient and solar power opportunities, and strengthening housing policy.

 

 

Since 1973, UHAB has been helping New Yorkers with limited means become part of their own housing solutions.

  • Homesteaders using their sweat equity to rehab a vacant distressed building
  • Residents of a tax-foreclosed property taking over its management, then owning it as an affordable cooperative
  • Neighborhood tenant associations uniting to push their unresponsive landlords to improve their living conditions

These are all examples of the success stories that UHAB has trained and guided residents to achieve for themselves.

 

UHAB’s work is based on five core principles.  
 

I. Self Help

When residents take the lead on everything from creating, managing, and preserving their own co-ops to advocating for affordable housing policy reform, this not only improves buildings and neighborhoods, but it transforms lives as well.

II. Democratic Residential Control

Transparent leadership and the participation of a majority of residents—each contributing unique skills and perspectives—make democratic governing and organizing possible.

III. Shared-Equity (or Limited-Equity) Co-op Ownership

Allowing departing shareholders to make only small profits when selling their shares preserves affordability for current and future low-income co-op homeowners by keeping purchase prices low and protecting building eligibility for a variety of subsidies.

IV. Cost-Effective Sustainability

UHAB provides access to affordable, high-quality resources, including fuel and weatherization programs, bulk-rate fire and liability insurance, assistance with loans for co-op shares and capital improvements, advice on governance, tax abatement guidance, debt analysis, and streamlined bookkeeping.

V. Continual Learning

Ongoing education and training is the key to preserving affordable housing cooperatives and strong tenant associations.

 

 

Our History

The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board was born in the midst of New York City’s economic crisis of the 1970s.

With landlords abandoning their buildings en masse, the city found itself with more than 11,000 buildings on hand and no idea what to do with them. UHAB became a voice for the residents living in those buildings – longtime New Yorkers who had no intention of leaving.

Turning buildings over to their residents to manage began as an experiment. But soon the city was convinced that this revolutionary approach could be sustained. The first year UHAB offered training, in Harlem, residents of 200 buildings learned how to cooperatively govern and operate their own multi-family dwellings.

We have only grown since then.

UHAB has now assisted in the preservation of more than 1,600 buildings (comprising 1,350 housing cooperatives), creating homeownership opportunities for residents of more than 30,000 apartments.  

Over the years, we have developed a unique expertise in serving the needs of the city's limited-equity co-op community. Today, New York City has the largest number of affordable co-ops in the country.