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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Palante Harlem Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeowners & Tenants Associations, Housing & Shelter

Mission: To reduce poverty and advocate for safe housing by organizing, educating and empowering residents. We are committed to supporting each other and to preserving our quality of life, our health, and our personal safety by assisting tenants when their rights have been violated and by holding unresponsive landlords and building managers accountable.

Results: -Rent Refunds (Rent Abatements) to Tenants: $2.7 Million -Rent Overcharges (Monthly Rents Rolled-Back): $1 Million -Secured Succession Rights in City-Owned Buildings: 1,525 Families

Target demographics: Housing

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2000+

Geographic areas served: New York City

Programs: Tenant Organizing, Leadership Development, Mediation and Legal Services

Community Stories

130 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My mother suffers from dementia and was in jeopardy of losing her rent stabilized apartment of 41 years, until Pa'lante Harlem helped. This organization operates with professionalism, expertise, passion and unfettered determination to help tenants! After a year of back and forth to court, with no resolution or assistance from Adult Protective Services or the Guardian ad litem. Pa'lante Harlem stepped into action, making sure that my mother's rights where upheld and that she received the necessary assistance to allow her to remain in her apartment. They level of care and service we received by far exceeded our expectations. Thank you to the entire staff at Palante Harlem and the legal minds that volunteer their services!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Palante harlem was very helpful ,we got peace of mind within minutes of contacting them.Extreamly nice people very good service and knowledgeable i suggest you visit palante harlem, for any of your troubles.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Walkiria Colon and I live at 1600 Nelson hdfc. Last year around September 2018 my life change when the city of new York thru the TPT PROGRAM took over my building by just posting a piece of paper on the door of the building stating that from now on Neighborhood Restore was the new owner. I was shocked and confused as to how I could quickly turn from being an owner to becoming a tenant without a meaningful explanation. I had worked as many as three jobs at the same time to purchase my place years ago as a shelter and nest egg for myself and my son, and now that foundation had disappeared. I am a medical technician and well educated but this turn of events was unfamiliar and the system was new, so after reaching out to people in the community, somebody mentioned an organization helps people faced with this type of adversity. The people in my building were so desperate that we simply showed up at PALANTE HARLEM and from that moment our life changed when the people of PALANTE welcomed us and our problem. Elsia Vasquez took the time to ask about the problem and immediately connected and understood the challenge we faced. From that moment we met, something inside me told me she's going to help us, and OMG it was a blessing. I remember when we first arrived at PALANTE Harlem around 12pm, and after 9 hours of work, Elsia and her team were in action making phone calls and opening her network to help us give us the tools we needed. All the vibrant passion of the people in the PALANTE organization gave me hope and strength, and more important, it reinstated my faith that there are people who care about people's problems and difficult situations and willing to act in a professional and compassionate way. After that day I learn that I'm not alone. Thank you PALANTE Harlem for be there and helping us with our cause. You are the voice for many that don’t have the ability but are deeply in need. Thank you for all the effort and dedication in everything you do. There are no words to express the feeling of knowing that you have people like Elsia Vasquez and her team who is there for you and make sure that justice is delivered.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization has been God sent to my family and I!
I am currently going through a legal action with my landlord, who wants us out to rent for more than double to others.

This organization has helped me with the process and located legal representation to help me stay in my home in upper Manhattan.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I reside in a HDFC (Housing Development Fund Corporation) and in September 2018, our life as we knew it came to a halt. Our building was being taken over by a third party. The desolation and emotional heart ache are indescribable. However, one of our shareholders knew about an organization in Harlem that could help. We went there on September 8, 2018 and walked into that office with our hearts broken and walked out filled with hope, a desire to go forward and fight back. PALANTE Harlem has since then been our backbone and the place where we learned that you can in fact fight City Hall, which is what we are doing, under the guidance of PALANTE Harlem. I know that without the guidance and support of PALANTE we will have not found the courage to stand up for our right. PALANTE helped us get a lawyer, meet our elected officials, get press coverage and organize our self to fight City Hall, HPD and the Third Party Transfer agencies. Most importantly they have taught us to build community, share resources and fight for our intergenrational wealth and sweat equity with dignity and respect. They open their doors to the neediest and don’t turn anyone away. This organization deserves many accolades, but I know that the biggest achievement is to see that tenants’ rights are protected and preserved.
Isabel Adon, Board President 1600 Nelson Avenue HDFC

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been an intern here at PALANTE Harlem for a couple of months now and it has turned out to be a life-changing experience. It's where I met my second family whom are people so dedicated and committed in helping so many families from around the city including mine. We take a lot of pride and effort in the work we do and it's one of the best things to be apart of. I was able to experience this through my parents' housing situations which led me to be here. As now being part of the PALANTE family, I've been able to open my eyes more and see miracles happen through the work we do and I learn from everyday. It always a great feeling being continuously told "Thank you for all your help" on a daily basis. \

-Rosely Nunez

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

...From the moment our HDFC fell into the city’s TPT bka City Landgrab - we came across the PALANTE nonprofit group and it has been a tremendous blessing ever since. Elsia and her wonderful staff have gone above and beyond with their tireless efforts and sharing from their wealth of knowledge and resources that go beyond words.
Today, thanks to in great part to the PALANTE staff, we are better prepared and educated on the many rights we have as Shareholders in our continued legal fight.
I am and will always be grateful to PALANTE for helping me and my fellow neighbors fight for our American Dream.

2 Sergio A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

PA’LANTE HARLEM is such a great organization lead by the unique Elsia Vasquez a person dedicated to help the little guy in our Comunity,the one being harrased by slumlords.my personal experience was tiring and very stressful as I had to fight 3 different landlords in as many years.without the help and knowledge is miss Elsia and my lawyer John Gorman I would likely be homeless right now.thanks pa’lante,you are not only helping the community you are the Comunity.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Some unscrupulous landlord took my name of the lease and then he was giving me the run around and took me to housing court claiming that I was not a tenant even though I have been living in the same place for more than 12 years.i did not know I have rights and I coul fight this people back until I got to Pa'lante Harlem offices,not just Elsia and her crew fight with you they also give you knowledge and really help you understand your situation.i am so happy I met them because otherwise I woul be homeless right now.i am in debt with Pa'lante for all they had done for me.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've always wanted to come to New York. Never expected something as great as Pa'lante Harlem. I never intended to work with them. I am learning a lot with Elsia and the other people that work beside her. They are a very serious and determined organization. I love how I can be a part of changing peoples lives with Pa'lante. It is the feeling of helping others that drives me to continue coming to Pa'lante. Its been Two months now and they are just awesome.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

PALANTE is a rare gem that showcases the best of our community through the power of integrity and education. I, first, witnessed the results of their work from afar through the conditions that were addressed for my grandmother, who had been fighting alone for those same results for more than a decade. After a tough time adjusting to adulthood, I was given the opportunity to try something new as an intern at PALANTE. It was then that I realized that the real beauty is not just in fighting landlords. It lies in the empowerment that we create through real unity and community. Now, as a member of the PALANTE family, it's one of the most amazing things to be a part of. Watching a person that feels intimidated and defeated, grow in confidence and strength is a miracle that I get to see and be a part of every day.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Palante doesn't just help residents being harassed by slumlords they help bring the community together. For example, last year the organization hosted a candidate debate in Harlem. A housing non-profit has never attempted to do something like that before. CEO and owner, Elsia Vasquez understands how important politicians are in solving the problems with housing in NYC and so she made them accessible. Palante is Harlem

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For me, P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. was an unknown gem nestled in the heart of Harlem. From the moment I walked in as a volunteer I saw a small, tight knit team dedicated to serving the community, fighting for the men and women struggling to house their families in livable, safe places they can call home.

As someone who has found a passion in fighting for social justice and civil rights I knew I was going to remain committed to this organization. During my time at P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. I have seen with my own eyes lives changed, deplorable living conditions fixed, depressed and scared tenants renewed and reinvigorated. I watch as people come in frightened and overwhelmed by their circumstances but after receiving guidance from the staff they leave armed with knowledge and feel empowered to tackle and resolve their situations. P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. changes tenants' lives for the better. Can't say the same for their slumlords though!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I can earnestly say that Pa'Lante Harlem takes pride in the work that they do. They work with excellence and selflessly. Their workers from the youngest to the eldest provide meticulous work when dealing with a customer. They are loving and caring doing their best to meet the needs of the community. I saw it first hand when my mother became a customer. The dedication and time that each person took to meet her needs, starting from the director Elsia, was priceless. I thank GOD for them and i am happy to have my children serve in this organization.

1 Maria S.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have known about Pa’lante since 2013 when I first moved to Harlem into one of the Lionel Hampton buildings. I came across some flyers advising tenants to request a rent history from DHCR to find out if the apartments were deregulated illegally. I did it but didn’t see anything that struck me as odd. Six months into my tenancy dealing with numerous apt issues, I was moved into another building with a two year lease. I requested a rent history and found some discrepancies. I heard Pa’lante was hosting seminars at DHCR in Harlem and I went to a few. They were so informative and with the guidance of an attorney, I filed a rent overcharge claim. I know it can take years to get this resolved and hopefully get the apt back to rent stabilized status but it’s so comforting to know that organizations like this exist to educate people about illegal deregulations. I wish them much success at their new location.

1 Gabriel B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't state enough of P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. Harlem exceptional work based in Harlem a non-for-profit organization assisting, educating, tenants of their rights and much more. The effort this organization puts forward in resources should be rewarded and made more visible to the community. P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. Harlem shows landlords how to be responsible for their property and reminds him/her that tenants DO have rights. I know if this organization was fully funded and was to receive a full-time staff, some landlords would stop their irresponsible behavior all together. Right now P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. is working at full capacity, we need politicians and donors to make this wonderful organization grow to its full potential.

Ms. Vasquez it is an honor and pleasure to continue work together with P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. Harlem.

Respectfully,

Gabriel Bencosme
Tenant Association President

Previous Stories
4

Client Served

Rating: 5

P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. Harlem is an exceptional harlem based non-for-profit organization assisting, educating, tenants of their rights and much more. The effort this organization puts forward in resources should be rewarded and made more visible to the community. P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. Harlem shows landlords how to be responsible for their property and reminds him or her that tenants DO have rights. I know if this organization was fully funded and was to receive a full-time staff, some landlords would stop their irresponsible behavior all together.

Ms. Vasquez it is an honor and pleasure to continue work together with P.A.'L.A.N.T.E. Harlem. Your organization has full support of 569 West 150th Street Tenant Association.

Respectfully,

Gabriel Bencosme
Tenant Association President

1 Raybblin V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

P.A.L.A.N.T.E. Harlem is one of the most vital organization to families in our community. It is not an exaggeration to say that THEY SAVE LIVES!

P.A.L.A.N.T.E. Harlem has kept our building from being vacated which would have put over 60 families out on the street. We must continue to support P.A.L.A.N.T.E. Harlem in every way we can.

When we formed our tenants association, we went to P.A.L.A.N.T.E. Harlem because we knew that we were going to get the best logistical, administrative and organizing support. They treated our members with integrity and that empowered us to be successful in our struggle to live with dignity.

http://abc7ny.com/news/exclusive-illegal-gas-lines-found-in-manhattan-and-bronx-apartments/700788/

In May of 2015, ABC Eyewitness News uncovered illegal gas piping in 8 buildings owned by our landlord, ALMA Realty. Stunned that we were living under a ticking time bomb, we reached out to P.A.L.A.N.T.E. Harlem for help. They helped us organize the tenants, and informed us that we are living in a building without a current Certificate of Occupancy.

P.A.L.A.N.T.E. Harlem then guided us in effectively organizing a rent strike that led to a unanimous Supreme Court decision in our favor.

We are forever grateful to P.A.L.A.N.T.E. Harlem for literally saving our lives.

" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Sincerely,
Raybblin Vargas
President
600 West 161st Street Tenants Association

COURT DECISIONS
http://nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2018/2018_50396.htm

https://www.hmgdjlaw.com/Major-Cases/GVS-Properties-LLC-v-Raybblin-Vargas-et-al.pdf

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Nana Kwame Anokye Adigun Bomani. I have been an intern at Pa’lante Harlem since November 2017, Pa’lante Harlem has helped me grow so much as an individual. Through the course of these past months since November Pa’lante has been a place where have developed a family, been introduced to a brand new culture, and a new community. The experience of working at Pa’lante has shown me that I want to continue to help people, and Perdue a career working towards social change and social justice.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are not enough wonderful words I could say about PA'LANTE. What an amazing, TRUE, non-profit that is actually doing what it sets out to do.

I started working with PA'LANTE when I was fighting a predatory landlord that had purchased my apartment building, as well as 5 others from my previous owner. The immediately started threatening tenants, harassing them, and illegally performing gut renovations of units. I and a group of us had started a tenant organization, learning from what we could from reading online. But then we hit a wall, no traction. When we finally were at our witts end we were introduced to PA'LANTE.

Immediately we got some teeth to our organization. PA'LANTE worked with us, organized us, got us in touch with the right people to really start to fight. They helped us get a press conference organized in front of one of our buildings with all the major networks there. With that press our landlord finally started to listen. From there we were able to also get our landlord on the watch list of the city, effectively putting them to a stop.

Inspired by all the work I now volunteer there every week, and really feel a part of the "family" of this amazing organization. Every single one of the members of our family knows that we are all in this together, and we will always stand side by side no matter what! What a great organization that I am proud to be a part of!

Previous Stories
4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I cannot begin to express how much help PA'LANTE Harlem has been to myself, the people of the community, everyone they deal with. They go above and beyond to help protect tenants rights! They helped organize my tenant association and have gotten me involved with helping out other people in my same situation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working as an intern at this organization for a couple of months. I can honestly say that this has been one of the most inspiring and moving experiences that I have had. This organization is deeply committed to enriching the lives of the people within the community through their work. It am left breathless with the amount of support and care that this organization shows it community members. This organization has taught me how to authentically advocate and empower others. As a client, I would feel lucky to have this organization by my side. 5 star organization!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recently had been locked out of my apartment by the marshall and was completly lost and distraught. I was put in contact with Palante harlem and all i can say is thank god this organization exist. They immediately came in offered legal assistance and saved me from eviction. Elsia Vasquez is true blessing and a true advocate for tenant rights.

4 SaraF

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It’s Thanksgiving … and well past time for me to thank Elsia and everyone else at P.A.’L.A.N.T.E.

Without Elsia’s super-quick and professional help last summer, I would have lost my apartment.

My part-time jobs had mostly dried up, though not completely and not permanently. HRA had just closed my case because I was making too much to receive public assistance but too little to make rent or receive a one-shot deal. I had already tried everything I knew to do and, in a last-ditch effort, walked straight from the HRA office to P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. I couldn’t afford bus fare. And I’d been served with a Marshal’s Notice.

Elsia had never met me before. But she immediately recognized the direness of my situation. She also recognized that I was capable of stabilizing my finances, given a little help and a little time. She made a call and sent off an email detailing job training I was already scheduled to attend the next week. HRA came through with a one-shot deal. A HomeBase worker called it a miracle. I call Elsia a Miracle Worker.

Since then, I’ve landed a full-time job and am on my way to a better future.

¡Para Adelante! Forward!