Reclaim FAQ

Who is Reclaim for?

Are you a NYCHA tenant who is fed up with the terrible conditions forced on you and your neighbors, waiting months for repairs while still expected to keep up with unconscionable rent increases? Are you frustrated with politicians who expect your votes but give nothing in return, politicians who decide that developers & insider contractors should get rich off your development but that your NYCHA community can’t share in that wealth, politicians who refuse to deal with the twin threats to our communities of gentrification & climate change? Are you ready to fight for change?

It’s time to Reclaim your power and become a leader for your NYCHA community. Reclaim is a specialized leadership development program for NYCHA tenants that combines the powerful tools of organizing with real world solutions to combat NYCHA’s deleterious conditions and uncertain future. This experiential learning model will provide residents with the training and support to build political voice for NYCHA tenants through the power of organizing, from tenants associations to city council to the halls of Albany and Washington DC.

What will I learn at Reclaim? How will I learn?

Reclaim will run for 12 weeks from September 12th to November 23rd and will be broken up into four phases: Movement Origins, Organizing 101, The Leader in Me, and Feet to the Fire. The first three phases will be a series of interactive training sessions followed by assignments that are meant to be the building blocks of the organizing projects our Reclaim Fellows will launch during the final phase and continue post-program. If a cluster of Fellows from a particular development are accepted, they will be asked to work as a team. Our hybrid program will host two sessions a week in person and online in the evenings and on the weekends. In case of an emergency, Fellows will always have the option to participate online via video chat if they cannot attend the in person session. As a cohort, Fellows will keep each other up to date and accountable.

Phase 1: Movement Origins 

We cannot organize effectively in our disengaged communities without understanding how they got that way in the first place. Movement Origins will include a series of sessions that center group discussions about the systems that govern us. At Movement School we know that in order to build campaigns that are truly representative of our working class communities, our trainings need to not only involve the technical skills, but how these skills are effectively applied in our communities. That involves having the critical conversations about how our identities operate in our current systems. This intersection of race, class, and technical skills prepare our Fellows to redefine leadership and build a movement. 

Phase 2: Organizing 101

Our national Campaign Fellows program has developed organizers to lead political campaigns across the country, including campaign management, field strategy, communications & messaging, digital strategy, and finance & fundraising. Organizing 101 will provide the most useful and powerful tools and strategies from the Campaign Fellows program to create a tool kit that empowers NYCHA tenants to win power through political campaigns.

Phase 3: The Leader in Me

What does it mean to have a leadership role within my NYCHA development? What does a movement of people that share my experiences look like? Phase 3 of Reclaim will develop leaders that will continue building political power for their neighbors. Our program will host leadership development and management training that includes sessions from how to combat imposter syndrome to how to manage a budget.

Phase 4: Feet to the Fire 

It’s time to put our feet to the fire and launch the organizing projects that have been carefully crafted throughout the program. Reclaim Fellows will implement their strategies to mobilize their neighbors and begin building the momentum to strengthen the effort towards building political power across NYCHA developments and nationwide. 

Who teaches at Reclaim?

Only the best of the best for our fellows! Some of the best organizers & progressive campaign professionals in NYC will be conducting trainings and coaching you throughout the program. Please take advantage of them! Do your homework before the training sessions, come prepared with questions to ask them, and engage with them during the feedback process. You can see a list of some of our mentors and speakers for the first cohort here (coming soon).

How long does Reclaim last? What happens after I graduate?

The program lasts 12 weeks. During the last phase of the program, Feet to the Fire, you will be launching your organizing project in your development. After graduation, you are expected to continue organizing with the support of your network of Fellows, mentors, and volunteers. Our goal is to create a coalition of public housing tenants nationally with NYCHA leading the way. 

How much does Reclaim cost?

There is no cost to apply or to participate. Every Fellow will receive a stipend of $200 during Phase 4 to help complete their organizing project.

Why am I getting a stipend?

We want to make sure you have the resources you need to accomplish your goals. During the last phase of the program, you will be given a gift card to spend on any expenses necessary to complete your project. Also, a chance to put your budgeting training to work!

How does the application process work?

Once your application is submitted, you will get an email confirming your submission and asking you to find one professional reference who can vouch for you - there will be a link in that email with a form they should fill out, just stating that they know you and that they think you would be a good fit for the program. Our team reviews every application and makes an initial and final determination on acceptance. If you are accepted, you will hear back from us no more than 3-4 weeks after submitting your application.

Why do you prioritize women, people of color, and people from working class backgrounds?

Reclaim intends to be a model for both how to we should build power in our communities, and who should lead that change. We believe that leadership should represent the communities they serve. We believe that at least 60% of leaders should be women and at least 80% of leadership should either be people of color or people from working class backgrounds. That is why we set these floors for accepted fellows. In the acceptance process, we will also prioritize other people from marginalized communities - for example, people with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ people, and transgender or gender fluid people. 

I got in! What now?

Badass! Welcome aboard :)

You will be hearing from us shortly after your acceptance letter with the schedule for your cohort and a few initial administrative tasks to get you set up for the program. Please try to use the same version of your name and email throughout, makes life a little easier for us.

I didn’t get in this time. Why not? Can I apply to a later cohort?

Don’t take this personally! We have a massive volume of applicants, which means we have to turn away some great ones. And unfortunately due to the large amount of interest in the Reclaim program, we cannot give individual feedback on why you were not accepted. This sucks, and we are sorry - Movement School is not a massive team of people, and we just don’t have the bandwidth to do that. However you can absolutely apply to a later cohort! Not being accepted to one cohort has no bearing on future applications.