Want to help? Support human services workers in their fight for #JustPay by going to JustPay.com!
Education funding, tenants’ rights and older adult services are just a few of the issues Goddard Riverside and our colleagues at the Isaacs Center are fighting for this spring—in partnership with the people who use our programs.
Goddard’s Law Project, which provides legal aid and organizing support for tenants, was recently invited to testify before the Rent Guidelines Board. They helped win a rent freeze for tenants in Single-Room Occupancy buildings, which offer single rooms with shared bathrooms. They’ve also been advocating with the courts to slow the pace of eviction cases because there aren’t enough lawyers to provide free legal representation to low-income tenants. The Law Project and tenant activists have also gone to Albany to speak with lawmakers about bills such as Just Cause eviction, which would guarantee most tenants the right to renew their lease.
Members of our TOP Clubhouse came to a citywide #JustPay rally in March, calling for the city to fund a cost of living increase for human services workers. TOP also invited Director of Organizing Larry Wood to speak to them about housing and tenants’ rights.
#DegreesNYC is working with the CUNY Rising Alliance to make the city’s public university system free for students again—as it was from 1847 to 1976— and to increase its funding. The Degrees Youth Council also recently facilitated a well-received forum on Managing Your Mental Health for high school students.
The Older Adult Centers have been partnering with their fellow senior service organizations across the state to call for a more equitable budget. Even though 15 percent of New York City residents are 65 and older, the Department for the Aging receives less than one percent of the city’s overall spending. Aaron Rooney, who oversees aging programs at Goddard and the Isaacs Center, testified before the City Council in March that services have evolved rapidly during COVID and will continue to change.
“Choice is going to be essential—choice between in-person and virtual services, choice in how people access meals and food pantry, choice in how to access the healthcare system—so we look to the City Council to help us secure the support we need to meet these challenges,” said Rooney.
The Star Learning Center mobilized its families and volunteers to help win funding for the Settlement House Initiative, which supports a variety of programs at settlement houses like us around the city. Star Learning Center provides students from underserved communities with one-to-one tutoring designed to help them overcome barriers to learning and succeed in school.
Roy Baptiste, who’s been a leader in our Beacon and After School programs for decades, holds social justice activities all year long. His students celebrate an annual Peace Day to study and uplift the ideals of Martin Luther King. They have created posters about the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They also participate in the Afterschool Alliance’s annual Lights On Afterschool event to highlight the critical role of safe and enriching After School programs.
Ending homelessness is one of the most urgent and contentious issues facing the city. Our Homeless Outreach staffers, who often speak at community board meetings and other local gatherings, are developing a housing and homelessness platform to sharpen their messaging and have written an op-ed on how to reduce homelessness.
Goddard Riverside and the Isaacs Center share a commitment to lifting up the voices of our community. As we build on our strategic partnership we look forward to combining our strengths to bring about change at the local, city and state level.