Danny Cabrera, a community liaison in my Northern Manhattan office, was recognized with an award at the Marble Hill Houses Family Day on August 18 for the outstanding work he has done on behalf of tenants at the development.
When Danny found out that an older woman who uses a wheelchair had to travel well out of her way to get from one point to another because of large cracks in the sidewalks, he helped get them repaved.
When a tenant showed Danny the peeling plaster and paint in her apartment, he filed a complaint alongside her and then followed up on it to make sure the repairs got done.
When the boilers at the Marble Hill Houses began to malfunction last November, Danny was quick to raise the problem to NYCHA and make sure tenants had heat.
“Many NYCHA residents feel like the system has let them down,” Danny told me. “They do the right thing – submit a ticket for a problem – but then often get left in limbo. My strategy has been to take the burden off of them.”
Because he grew up in Grant Houses, a NYCHA property, Danny is familiar with the struggles tenants face and the tenants trust that he knows what he’s talking about.
“Growing up as a NYCHA tenant, I know the frustrations that these people have…when you have to take off work, when you don’t have heat but don’t know who to go to – situations like those,” Danny said.
In middle school, Danny was accepted into Prep for Prep, a leadership development program for students of color. The program allowed him to travel around the country, access educational support, and participate in sports. After high school, he enrolled in Hobart College (with a full ride!) where he graduated with a degree in economics. Shortly after graduating, he joined my office.
While he considered going into private sector after college, he decided that he wanted to empower people for a living.
“I don’t advocate for people, I advocate with them,” Danny said. “My goal is to empower folks and work with them to create change. To show them what can happen if we claim our power as a community.”