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Rudin-Funded Affordable Housing Clinics Launch in Greenwich Village

By Andrea Swalec | November 14, 2012 2:54pm

MANHATTAN — Rent-controlled and rent-stabilized Greenwich Village and SoHo residents now have a new resource to turn to if trouble with landlords should strike — thanks to the developer turning the former St. Vincent's Hospital into luxury condos.

The nonprofit law firm MFY Legal Services Inc. is launching free legal advice clinics funded by a $1 million donation from developer Rudin Management.

Community Board 2 and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn secured the donation in negotiations with Rudin in March, during the approval process for the controversial rezoning of the hospital site.

The clinics, which will be held every two weeks for the next 10 years, were conceived of as a way to defend the rights of longtime Village residents, MFY executive director Jeanette Zelhof said.

"The concern was that when St. Vincent's was sold, there would be even greater forces of gentrification," she said. "In an attempt to give long-term tenants some assistance with that, that's how this came about."

Rudin did not respond to an inquiry about the donation.

Lawyers at the clinics — held at The Caring Community at Greenwich House's Senior Center on the Square, at 20 Washington Square North — can help rent-stabilized and rent-controlled tenants who are being harassed by landlords, who need help to have repairs made to their apartments, or who face eviction, Zelhof said.

"We're prepared to help anyone who wants help," she said.

The sessions are open to anyone who lives within the bounds of Community Board 2, which covers Greenwich Village, the West Village, SoHo, NoHo, NoLita, Hudson Square and the Meatpacking District — roughly between 14th and Canal streets, from the Bowery to the Hudson River.

The next clinic will be held Friday, Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Village residents looking for legal assistance can drop by the clinics to be helped on a first-come, first-served basis, and can call MFY at 212-417-3797 for more information.