UHAB empowers low- to moderate-income residents to take control of their housing and enhance communities by creating strong tenant associations and lasting affordable co-ops.
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.
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), creatring homeownership opportunities for residents of more than 30,000 apartments.
Over the years, we have developed a unique experties 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.
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