History of CU4ML

Cooperators United for Mitchell-Lama formed in 2008 and had our first Membership meeting in Spring of 2009. We formed as a group of individuals who are unequivocally against the privatization of Mitchell-Lama cooperative housing. Many of us had been working for many years in our own Mitchell-Lama developments, and through borough-based groups (Manhattan and Brooklyn Mitchell-Lama Task Forces) to educate our neighbors about the advantages of Mitchell-Lama co-ops and the hazards of privatization. Because of this opposition to privatization, some of us have faced harassment, intimidation, and campaigns of misinformation in our individual buildings by those who seek to privatize our homes.

As Mitchell-Lama cooperators, we know what a precious gift it is to have affordable housing. In return, our responsibility to the city and state has been, and continues to be, to oversee the governance of our buildings in order to preserve them as an affordable housing resource.

We joined together to strengthen our voices, and to cooperate in our efforts to save these affordable co-ops, protect the rights of cooperators, and work to expand the Mitchell-Lama co-op program by advocating for the building of more Mitchell-Lama co-ops—for example, as part of a Mitchell-Lama 2.0 program that learns from the mistakes of the past and does not allow for privatization or privatization-lite (Article 2 to 11 conversions).

Then State Senator Tom Duane addressing the first members’ meeting of CU4ML in March 2009

CU4ML was first hosted by St. Vincent’s Hospital on 11th street, and was later generously offered quarters and support from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), whose offices served as our base for the next 10 years. We held Board meetings there every third Thursday of the month until March of 2020 when the pandemic caused us to go virtual.

Prior to March 2020, we also hosted General Membership meetings in the Spring and Fall. These dynamic meetings had varying formats and covered different topics such as The Rights & Responsibilities of Mitchell-Lama Shareholders, and How to Finance Major Capital Improvements in your Development, and were attended by our members, elected officials, and representatives from HPD and HCR.

Our membership meetings are now held virtually, though we hope to return to at least a hybrid meeting format whenever COVID allows. We continue to educate and advocate, and CU4ML currently includes members from over 50 Mitchell-Lama co-ops around New York City and State.