Friday, May 12, 2006

BHIP Joins the Rally to Support Our Immigrants!

BHIP Housing Advocate, Yolanda Coca (far right) helps lead
the Immigrant March over the Brooklyn Bridge on Monday, April 10th

This past April 10th, and then again on May 1st, well over 2 million undocumented immigrants, workers and their families, along with their supporters, mobilized and rallied in major cities all over the United States to demand fair immigration laws, and rallied against the unjust immigration bill H.R. 4437 that was passed this year by the House of Representatives in Washington, DC. that threatens to not only deport undocumented immigrants, but have them and any of their family members living in the U.S. arrested for aiding them in the country in any way. In New York City alone, well over 100,000 (seemed like a million!) undocumented immigrants, their families, and countless supporters gathered around City Hall in an amazing show of unity and solidarity for all the honest, and hard-working immigrants who remain undocumented, and are living all over the country with the hope and promise of making a better life for their families here in the United States.

A large group of Bushwick immigrants and supporters await the next yellow bus on
Grove St. to pick them up and take them to the Immigrant March and Rally on April 10th

On what turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day for a march in April, here in Bushwick, Brooklyn, our sister organization, Make the Road by Walking, did an outstanding job of organizing hundreds of immigrant marchers, supporters, and volunteers for the rally, and also arranged for a fleet of buses (over 12 yellow buses full to capacity) to transport all the marchers to Downtown Brooklyn at the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge where the march over the bridge was to begin on April 10th. They also created and provided countless of signs, banners, posters, and even bandanas for all the marchers to utilize at the march and rally. You could see those signs and bandanas all over the place!

A Bushwick resident lets his feelings be known and is ready to march!

The first wave of immigrants and marchers proceed over the Brooklyn Bridge

The turnout of Bushwick immigrant residents was a great success at both rallies. We commend them on all the planning , hard work, and effort it took to organize these historic marches and rallies for the undocumented immigrants in our community, and for all the great work they have been doing at Make the Road in support of our families, both undocumented and documented, here in Bushwick over the last few years. We know that there is so much more work ahead of us, and we walk together with you!

BHIP Associate Director, Rick Echevarria, was at the march ..

.. and shows his support while marching over the Brooklyn Bridge

Rick's brother, Glenn Angel Echevarria,
the Center for the Arts & Culture at St. John the Baptist)
was also at the march lending his voice and support

In a very peaceful, and inspiring display of unity and solidarity, the immense number of marchers that represented so many different countries (not just latino) were very loud in voicing their feelings and displeasure for the current state of U.S. immigration laws, and especially the new H.R. 4437 bill, but they also overwhelmingly, and openly shared their love not only for the countries they were from, but their love for the United States as well.. all in the hope of one day becoming legally documented Americans.

A steady stream of youth and adult immigrant marchers
make their way across the Brooklyn Bridge proudly waving their flags

Yes, indeed.. United We Stand!

We at BHIP support all our honest, hard-working immigrants not only from our own community, but in all communities across the U. S. where immigrants are living and working trying to provide a better qulaity of life for themselves, their families, and their children. We need laws that make sense and address the issues that so many undocumented immigrants face every day when it comes to their dignity and human rights.

Volunteer organizers lead the rallying cry.. "Si, se puede!"..

..while the marchers make their way into Downtown Manhattan

We know that this is not an easy process, and much debate is taking place on both sides of this very hot issue, but as long as we have honest
debates and open communication, a positive solution can be found so that the over 12 million undocumented immigrants that currently live and work in our country, can continue to do so as they strive to attain their legalization status without the threat of themselves being separated from their families, or their family members treated as criminals, being arrested, or deported.

A couple of marchers share their feelings on the matter..

..while some others share an interesting point

BHIP is proud to join in this struggle for the dignity and respect of our undocumented immigrants who live, and work hard in our community, and who honestly work hard all over the U.S. looking to have a piece of that ever elusive American Dream, which right now, for them, seems to be a nightmare with the uncertainty of their future in our goverment's hands.

Large numbers come in droves over the Brooklyn Bridge
into the Downtown City Hall area in Manhattan

Countless immigrant families came and marched with their children..

..while the youth and teens came in amazing numbers.. represent their countries with pride.. march with their families..

and to be a part of history.. not just read about it..
with a message that was loud and clear

We will continue to join hands with our immigrants, all advocacy groups in our community and throughout the city, to help represent these
individuals and families the best ways we know how.. by being united, and walking together during this important time in our community, and in the history of our country. The numbers of immigrants who showed up in massive numbers at these rallies in New York City, and all over our country just don't lie! And everywhere you looked, as far as the eye could see, you could not only see flags representing countries all over the world, but so many of these hard-working immigrants were proudly waving their American flags!

The American flag was proudly displayed by many groups..

.. from the older generation immigrants who labored tirelessly
to support and keep their families together.. the youngest who represent our future

BHIP will continue to support all the honest, hard-working families in our communities, and all over the country in the struggle for their rights, for justice, to attain citizenship, to continue living in this great land of opportunity, and to claim their dignity.. because it is truly our struggle, too!

Our good friend, Giuliano, of the Little Brothers of the Gospel,
gives his support at the march, and his blessing as well

So, the question then for all of us, and all our immigrants is,
can this American Dream truly be realized?

We truly believe the answer is.. Yes, it can!



Wednesday, March 22, 2006

BHIP Finally Gets It's New Sign!

BHIP staff members, Renato Jordan with his sister, Karen, and Rick Echevarria,
pose with Richie Robles who helped install the new BHIP sign
After 2 years of existence, advocating for our community's low-income families and undocumented immigrant tenants, helping them retain their apartments here in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Bushwick Housing Independence Project (BHIP) finally got it's new sign for our 330 Central Ave. office location! This new sign will provide us with greater visability in the community, and make it much easier for us to be located by community residents.. which is the most important reason of all.

Glenn poses with the large ( 3 ft. x 17ft. ) sign

The new sign was designed and created by Glenn Angel Echevarria as a joint venture between BHIP and the Center for the Arts & Culture @St. John the Baptist; a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community arts center located at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Bedford-Stuyveant, Brooklyn (where Glenn is the Center's Director, and one of it's main artists). Glenn has offered his assistance to BHIP, and donated services to the organization such as painting the offices, and even taking photos at BHIP staff meetings, tenant meetings, tenant's apartments to document their actual conditions, and pictures of BHIP staff members (all of which you see on this blog site).

Glenn works on installing the sign

This volunteer assistance has been very beneficial to BHIP's work, and growth over the last few months, and are grateful to Glenn for his involvement with us, for his time, talent, and community activism. Both Msgr. John Powis and Rick Echevarria have assisted Glenn as well by being active advisors for him and his volunteer group at the Center for the Arts & Culture at St. John the Baptist over the last 4 years.

Rick Echevarria gives his brother, Glenn, a helping hand

Our good friend, Richie Robles, on the job

The new sign was created over a month period, and after dealing with some very cold and crazy weather conditions, which included the biggest snow storm in New York City history, it was finally installed this March to the staff's delight.. and even Glenn himself. We thank Glenn for the great work on the sign, and thank Richie Robles, and Kris Echevarria for their assistance getting the sign up with him.

Come see BHIP's new sign when you pass by 330 Central Ave. across the street from St. Barbara's Church. You can't miss it!

Special note: To enlarge, or save the photos on this site, just click on the pictures.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

IMPORTANT NEWS: Local Bushwick Family Gets Tossed Out into the Cold by RBSCC!

Press Release:

ON ONE OF THE COLDEST DAYS OF THE YEAR: a single mom with 4 children was evicted by a non-profit organization in Bushwick, Brooklyn that receives city money to provide homelessness prevention.

February 28, 2006

At 1 pm on Monday, February 27, 2006, on one of the coldest days of the year, a mother with four children was evicted from her city-subsidized apartment by a Non-profit organization that also receives the only New York City funds to provide eviction and homelessness prevention in her community.

Ruth Perez-Calderon is a mother of four who resides in Bushwick, Brooklyn and receives Public Assistance. Her landlord, Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Citizens Homecare Council, Inc. is one of the largest social service organizations in the entire city. They evicted her for owing approximately $6000.00 in rent. However, the property where Ms. Perez-Calderon resided was granted to Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC) by the City of New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development for the purposes of preserving affordable housing. What is even more outrageous is that RBSCC has also recently obtained a large contract from the New York City Department of Homeless Services to provide Eviction and Homelessness Prevention in the Bushwick community: a community with one of the highest rates of Homelessness in all of New York City.

At approximately 10 am on the morning of the eviction, one of our staff members spoke with a representative of RBSCC and informed them that we had secured an apartment for Ms. Perez-Calderon and her children, but that the apartment would not be ready for her until Thursday March 2, and we needed a brief postponement of the eviction to avoid Ms. Perez-Calderon’s homelessness. RBSCC representatives refused to grant an extension! Ms. Perez-Calderon is now homeless, and our organization is presently paying for her and her children to stay in a local motel while we make arrangements to move her to an apartment.


For More Information Contact:

Rick Echevarria, Associate Director
(718) 574-3007 Office
(917) 536-4821 Mobile

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

BHIP Hosts Tenant Meeting / Workshop for Undocumented Immigrants

BHIP Associate Director, Rick Echevarria, addresses tenants' concerns
at the BHIP Tenant Meeting / Workshop on Feb. 7th

This past Tuesday evening, Feb. 7, BHIP staff members held their first Tenant Meeting / Workshop specifically geared toward assisting undocumented immigrants living in Bushwick, Brooklyn who have been harassed by overzealous landlords and homeowners. Although only a few tenants attended the tenant workshop, it was an effective and enlightening experience as to the plight that so many good, hard-working immigrants are facing on a daily basis in our community; the denial of their tenant rights and their dignity. The stories shared of being disrespected, unjust treatment, threatened with eviction, and even threats of being reported to INS just to instill fear in them was very powerful, moving, and helped to raise awareness in all present that these types of tactics happen all too commonly in our community, and that this unjust treatment has to come to an end. These are some of the pictures taken of this important gathering.

BHIP Housing Specialist, Yolanda Coca, speaks to a concerned tenant
at the BHIP Tenant Workshop held at 144 Bleecker St. on Feb. 7th

This important Tenant Workshop organized and facilitated by BHIP was created to help ease undocumented tenants' concerns by educating them and informing them of their rights, proper tenant and landlord protocol, as well as providing them with the forum to express their feelings, connect with one another, to be assured that they are not alone in their struggle, and to assist them maintain their apartments through the law.

A tenant shares his experience at the BHIP Tenant Meeting/ Workshop

We sincerely thank the tenants who attended the BHIP Meeting / Workshop, shared their stories with us, showed great courage and committed to continue working with us at BHIP so that we can better serve them not only in their individual cases but as a whole. The tenants continued imput and assistance will help us greatly in making sure that their issues and concerns are not only heard, but fully addressed and something done about them. BHIP will be organizing these important meeting / workshops for all tenants being unjustly treated and threatened with evicition, to help educate tenants of their rights, to assist in organizing them and in taking proper action when faced with unreasonable landlords. We look to offer these meetings at least once a week to address tenant issues and individual cases, especially those tenants who are undocumented immigrants living in our community and are living in fear of being deported because of their housing situation.

If you are a tenant being unjustly treated by your landlord, have no heat, are living in poor housing conditions while you have been faithfully paying your rent, or are withholding your rent because of neglect by your landlord over your housing situation, are being threatened with evicition by your landlord or his/her lawyers, or know of someone or a family who is, contact us at Bushwick Housing Independence Project. We have two office locations in Bushwick, Brooklyn. You can call us at our main office (718)574-3007 or at (718)456-4441.
Fax us at (718)574-3034.

You could also e-mail our staff members:
Rick Echevarria, Associate Director -
Yolanda Coca, Housing Specialist -

We look forward to serving you!

We encourage you to share your thoughts and comments with us by posting a comment, or e-mail this post to a friend by linking into the envelope icon at the bottom of this post.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

BHIP's Mission Statement

Bushwick Housing Independence Project’s (BHIP) Mission:
is to preserve existing affordable housing for low and moderate-income families in Bushwick, and adjacent communities in North and Central Brooklyn.

BHIP Staff

Msgr. John Powis
Executive Director

Rick Echevarria

Associate Director


Yolanda Coca

Housing Specialist


Renato Jordan

Marketing / Outreach Coordinator


Kennedy Rivera
Housing Specialist

Monday, January 30, 2006

BHIP Locations

BHIP has two locations in Bushwick, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Main Office:

Bushwick Housing Independence Project /
Proyecto de Viviendas Independientes de Bushwick
330 Central Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11221
Phone: (718)574-3007
Fax: (718)574-3034

(Across from St. Barbara's Catholic Church
between Menahan St. & Bleecker St.)

Open Monday - Friday / Abierto Lunes a Viernes
10 am - 6 pm

Location #2

St. Joseph Patron Parish Office
185 Suydam St.
Brooklyn, NY 11237

Phone: (718)456-4441
Fax: (718)574-3034

(Between Wilson Ave. & Central Ave.)