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Executive Summary

West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA), a community based development corporation, was established more than 30 years ago to revitalize the under-invested West and Central Harlem communities - riddled with dilapidated and abandoned buildings. Ironically, WHGA's primary function has become to quell the negative impact of such rapid gentrification on our low to moderate income constituency as Harlem, over the past several years, is experiencing an influx of new businesses and investments.

It is also ironic that WHGA has played a major role in this era of Harlem's prosperity often referred to as the "Second Harlem Renaissance". In the 70s and 80s our tenant organizing operation prevented numerous arson attempts by gluttonous slum landlords seeking insurance payoffs. In the late 80's WHGA began re-building entire blocks which lay so vacant and destitute that even New York's poorest were only remotely interested in living there.

As the new millennium approached significant community and city based reconstruction had taken place. The once infamously barren communities of Harlem were becoming increasingly attractive to the for- profit sector. -There was the potential to generate revenue in a rapidly growing neighborhood where land was still relatively inexpensive - compared to neighboring communities on the southern border, known as the Upper Westside.

Today Harlem boasts a real estate market beyond comprehension. Renovated historic brownstones, former havens for drug dealers and prostitutes, now carry a minimum asking price of $1.2 million dollars. Two bedroom cooperatives and condominiums average $500 per square foot.

Very few of Harlem’s long term residents have the capacity to negotiate in this highly competitive real estate market. Yet WHGA operates on the premise that ownership, in the face of increased marginalization, is the best insurance against displacement. WHGA’s three- year strategic plan, therefore is guided by an ambitious asset building initiative which includes homeownership, enterprise, and education programs which target households earning less than 80% of area median income.

For the segment of the population that do not have the capacity for asset building, there is WHGA’s affordable housing development and preservation agenda that will continue to be a major component of our overall all strategy.

For more information about our programs and services see links below or contact us:

West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc.

1652 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10031

ph: (212) 862 - 1399

 

History of WHGA and Community Development in NYC - A 40-Year Retrospective (pdf)

 

Organizational Documents

WHGA Organizational Chart (pdf)

WHGA Board of Directors (pdf)

 

Applications

WHGA Application for Appointment to the Board (pdf)

WHGA Employent Application (pdf)

WHGA Apartment Application (pdf)