On July 14, Rentlogic partnered with the NYC Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and Civic Hall to bring #HackHousing to NYC. This exclusive event featured speakers, panels, and presentations that focused on empowering renters in a city where the playing field between tenants and landlords is uneven.
The speakers also discussed strategies on how to collaborate our efforts, pack more of a collective punch, and stand up for the millions of New Yorker renters who are being threatened with displacement.
Ben Wellington, visiting assistant professor in the City & Regional Planning program at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and blogger with I Quant NY, was the event host. Wellington is a data specialist and has analyzed measles outbreaks in New York City schools, the compliance of restaurants and eating establishments with NYC health regulations, and investigated which areas of the city have the highest volume of blocked driveways.
Yale Fox, Rentlogic CEO, was among the speakers at #HackHousing. True to Rentlogic’s position as a platform to regulate and monitor housing issues, Yale talked about tactics that other cities use to enforce landlord compliance. He also presented analytics on the state of housing in New York City.
Murray Cox from InsideAirbnb, an interactive open data platform for exploring the impact of Airbnb on residential communities around the world, joined Fox as a speaker. InsideAirbnb has become an internationally recognized resource and is used by activists, journalists, academics, and city and elected officials.
Other speakers included Aaron Carr from the Housing Rights Initiative, an advocacy organization dedicated to the legal mobilization of tenants. Carr’s work involves systematically and proactively investigate rent overages in rent stabilized buildings and work with tenants to find legal support.
Noelle Francois, executive director of HeatSeek also presented. HeatSeek is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that taps the internet of things to empower tenants, landlords, community organizations, and the justice system to tackle New York City’s heating crisis.
Rob Solano, co-founder and executive director of CUFFH, rounded out the speakers list. Solano also serves on the board at St. Joseph’s Patron School, Grand Street Boys’ Association, and Brooklyn Community Board 1.
As a strong advocate for affordable housing, he spoke about empowering the community through grassroots organizing and providing access to affordable housing to his neighbors and other New York City communities in need. Solano hails from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and is a proud Salvadoran activist. One of Solano’s core beliefs is “We don’t fight the fight we know we can win; we fight the ones worth fighting for,” a belief passed down from Father Jim O’shea, one of his mentors.