We acknowledge the unceded territories known today as New York City originate from the indigenous populations that once inhabited and cultivated the area, as far as Manahatta and its collective five boroughs.
Subsequently, in uniting and extending homage to the Munsee Peoples who have stayed on this Lenapehoking land and endured a quiet genocide, we give full recognition to their contributions and offer words of honor to their memory.
Our pledge in this moment is to shift from unconscious bias to conscious reverence and goodwill.
Land acknowledgment statement kindly shared with us by the Ramapough-Munsee Lenape Nation
WHAT WE PROTECT
We protect the idea of community control of land in perpetuity. We protect the fabric of our neighborhoods. We protect the efforts and memory of previous generations of activists. We also currently protect the land of 23 buildings, comprising over 360 units, twenty-one owned by the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association II and two by the Two Buildings Tenants United HDFC.
COOPER SQUARE MUTAL HOUSING ASSOCIATION II (CSMHA II)
The CSMHA II is a limited-equity housing cooperative formed in 1995. It is committed to keeping its 21 buildings, with 328 units, permanently affordable to low-income residents under principles of economic and social justice embodied in our community’s history. CSMHA II is the product of local residents organizing against their own displacement, and governance of the co-op by local residents remains a central dynamic in their organization.
With a vibrant community of color, primarily Latinx, the CSMHA II is an important vehicle in obtaining homeownership and intergenerational housing stability for historically marginalized communities. Besides preserving low-income housing, CSMHA II also offers 22 ground-floor commercial spaces that are rented out for businesses that are needed in the neighborhood but are increasingly forced out by skyrocketing rents and chain stores. The organization also acts as a managing agent for several other buildings outside of the CSMHA II co-op. Altogether, it is responsible for maintaining over 400 units of affordable housing.
TWO BUILDINGS TENANTS UNITED (TBTU)
The TBTU HDFC is comprised of two rent-stabilized buildings, with 18 units each, located at 230 East 4th Street and 280 East 3rd Street. In mid-2019, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) asked us to take over these two tax-foreclosed buildings to prevent them from going into a public auction and a likely loss of low- and moderate-income housing in the neighborhood. The CLT formed a Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) called Two Buildings Tenants United, as part of an effort to have the tenants see themselves as one entity. The TBTU Board is comprised of two Cooper Square CLT Board members and one now former CLT Board member. The tenant households are primarily Hispanic and Asian.
Under the direction of the TBTU Board, a consulting engineer was hired to complete an Independent Physical Needs Assessment (IPNA), in order to develop plans for the buildings’ renovation and secure rehabilitation funds from HPD. The Board hired Alembic Community Development, as its development consultant, and Edelman Sultan Wood Knox (ESKW), as the architect. Preliminary plans are in progress. Simultaneously, the HDFC Board is working toward developing tenant leadership within the buildings. There has been one tri-lingual meeting with tenants to introduce the Development Team, explain the preliminary plans, and get tenants’ feedback. Currently, we await HPD’s assignment of a Project Manager, which has been delayed amidst City agency budget cuts. The buildings are currently managed by Cooper Square MHA II, which is responsible for rent collection and building maintenance and operation.