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2019 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

135 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Through this present I Taylon Pérez, I am an intern in the office of Pa'lante Harlem in New York City. I started working in Palante this summer thanks to the Catholic Charities organization. My first day at this job was a little nervous because it was something new since I had no thought that I would work in an organization whose motive is to help people have better housing conditions.
My experience was very good because I really liked the positive energy they transmitted to me, the treatment they gave me, made me feel happy and sure of myself. However, what I liked most was that as the housing conference was approaching, we were assigned different buildings to distribute flyers door to door so that the tenants attended and could learn more about their rights and the new rent laws. I liked this a lot because while I was doing it I was getting to know our community more and every day on the streets I heard people talking good about our organization. Also, In the housing conference we learned a lot of housing and all the rights we have as tenants. Palante is more than an organization it is a family. This organization different from other really care about you as a human being not just as a client. I have been witness of all the people they helped. Now I still work at Pa'lante Harlem and I feel so happy to be able to help our community. This organization really inspires teenagers like us to keep our dreams up and if we really want something we could always do it. If you need help, the best place to go is Pa'lante Harlem.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Karen and I am an intern in P.A.’L.A.N.T.E Harlem. This was my summer job that I got through the SYEP Program directed by Catholic Charities.When I first heard about it, it seem very interesting because they help people with housing issues. I have always liked to help people in my community so I was really excited about it. At the beginning, I was really nervous because it was my first job. But the staff would always be helping you and supporting you. I worked all summer at P.A.’L.A.N.T.E Harlem. In the summer we did canvassing. This organization does a housing conference each year. This is very important for the tenants because you get a lot of information referring to housing like the New rent laws that protect more tenants, what to do in case your landlord is harassing you or if you need any repair to be done in your apartment. I think I had one of my best experiences at the housing conference because everybody knew about us and were grateful of how P.A.’L.A.N.T.E Harlem changed their life.This is a really good organization that helps tenants against landlord abuse and harassment. Also, they care a lot about the people and try to do day by day a better community. This organization changed my life. After the summer I stayed working at P.A.’L.A.N.T.E Harlem. I am so grateful for the opportunity that they gave me. Now, I’m learning more about housing and doing my best to help my community. P.A.’L.A.N.T.E Harlem

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've attended two of Pa'lante's annual housing (2018 and 2019). I went to learn more about housing/tenant issues, see panels, and meet with City agencies. However, the biggest reason was because they have very knowledgeable and skilled housing court attorneys who offer free advice for tenants facing issues with their landlords.

As I've navigated the housing court process on my own, it's been challenging. The resources available to tenants is often quite mediocre - especially the "advice" you get at the courthouse from the Help Center. When you don't have deep pockets to pay for a lawyer, tenants are left in a very difficult position.

But of all the places that I've turned for advice, the lawyers who come to help people at the Pa'lante conference are thoughtful, well-informed, patient, and (most importantly) steer you in a helpful direction.

Without this conference, I would be in a significantly worse position with my case in housing court. It was also helpful that representatives were at the conference from places like HPD so I could ask relevant questions and get important phone numbers to better assert my rights.

I've also found Pa'lante's staff to have great attitudes and genuinely care about helping people. And my hat goes off to the people who posted signs all over Harlem in the summer heat. I had forgotten about the annual conference and the lawyer volunteers until I saw the sign posted. The timing was perfect since I'm due back in court next week.

I also really enjoyed the panel discussion -- especially the one on foreclosures and how people of color are being scammed out of their homes. The data presented was informative.

I highly recommend this organization's services!!!! It serves a very critical function in the community.

Thank you Pa'lante for all of your help and for organizing yet another wonderful conference!

1 Betty N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I just attended PA’LANTE’s 2019 Annual Conference.
Excellent!
More than 700 Tenants and other affected community members attended the 3-Day Conference held in the Academic Center on the Campus of City College, Convent Avenue, Harlem.

Elsia Vazquez, the Director, runs a well-oiled, well-staffed organization in which energetic student volunteers also play an important role.

Too, PA’LANTE partners with key elected officials such as Borough Presidents Eric Adams (Brookyn) and Gaie Brewer (Manhattan), Council Members , NYPD.......

Useful and valuable information was disseminated.

Panelists were well-informed and quite prepared to answer the many important questions asked by attendees.

In my opinion, PA’LANTE represents “Excellence” in the sphere of Non Profit Organizations unselfishly serving the tenants of New York City.....and beyond.

Thank You, Elsia!

Elizabeth “Betty” Noel

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Palante is a valuable source of the community and brave advocate for many. Short time a go I was fearing the worst for a medical diagnosis what can have been that I have two months to go. I called Palante asking then if they know of a lawyer who does wills, I wanted to made sure my home is transferred to my love ones. In a few days I got a call from Palante, giving me an appointment, a lawyer was going to go to Palante to do wills. I couldn't believe it , they have found a lawyer for me. I went to the office at the time, and a very friendly lawyer was finishing serving another person and in short time he took care of me. I explain my situation, he typed the info and in literally ten minutes I have my will printed. Palante was able to offer free of charge a service so much need it.
good. PALANTE RESPOND they are fast, efficient and deliver; on top, it didn’t feel like a service it feels like a friend helping.

This was the first time they help me out personally. I have known Palante for almost three years now, and I have seen the level of passion when trying to made right what is wrong. I personally have accompanied the people at Palante to a meeting. In that case I was helping another person in an HDFC who have just lost her building, the title was transfer from day and night and I came with the story to Palante. They include the case of this building into the list of the other Third Party Transfer buildings that they are researching and advocating for. It is not treated likely any case at Palante, they look into it in deepness, they contrast info, they ask other for help, they research and write to try to help.
Thanks Palante!
Jana

Palante es una fuerza valiosa de la comunidad y un valiente defensor de los derechos de los residentes en la ciudad de Nueva York. Hace poco, temía lo peor para un diagnóstico médico, y de haber sido así me quedaban dos meses. Llamé a Palante y les pregunté si sabían de un abogado que hiciera testamentos, quise asegurarme de que mi casa era transferida a mis seres queridos. En unos pocos días recibí una llamada de Palante, me dieron una cita, un abogado iba a ir a Palante para hacer testamentos. No lo podía creer, me han encontrado un abogado. Fui a la oficina, y un abogado muy amable estaba terminando de servir a otra persona y en poco tiempo me atendió. Le expliqué mi situación, escribió la información y en diez minutos, literalmente, tenía impreso mi testamento. Palante fue capaz de ofrecer gratuitamente un servicio que tanto lo necesita. Ni siquiera ellos tenían este servicio, se hicieron cargo de mis circunstancias y lo buscaron para mí. PALANTE RESPONDE, son rápidos, eficientes y se entregan, y no se sintió como un servicio se siente como un amigo que ayuda.


Esta era la primera vez que me ayudaban a mí personalmente, pero conozco a Palante desde hace casi tres años, y he visto el nivel de pasión con el que se entregan en intentar corregir lo que está mal. He acompañado a las personas de Palante a una reunión. En ese caso, estaba ayudando a otra persona en un HDFC que acababa de perder su edificio, el título fue transferido de la noche al día y fui con la historia a Palante. Ellos, incluyeron el caso de este edificio en la lista de los otros edificios de Transferencia de Terceros que están defendiendo. No de una manera ligera, no, indagan, cogen datos, corroboran, argumentan, defienden.
Gracias Palante!
Jana





2

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

3

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.

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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
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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

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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