GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) is a neighborhood housing and preservation organization that has served the Lower East Side of Manhattan since 1977. We’re dedicated to tenants’ rights, homelessness prevention, economic development, and community revitalization.
GOLES’ long-term goals are to
Build the power of low-income residents on the Lower East Side to address displacement and gentrification
Preserve and expand the low-income housing stock
Assert community self-determination over the use of public space
Ensure a clean and healthy environment where people live, work, and play
Gentrification has made the Lower East Side a citywide destination, but skyrocketing rents resulted in the dispossession of many longtime residents and small businesses; now everyone is vulnerable.
We provide services because some problems are particular and immediate. We help tenants organize because tenants + unity = power.
GOLES aims to build up the people and break down the lines that divide us, especially by age, race, gender, language, and income. We stand with the great unnumbered for good housing, good jobs, fresh air, public space, and services.
Amid arson, abandonment and economic crisis in NYC in 1977, GOLES was born. It began with a simple idea: that tenants could organize to exercise their legal rights, defend their homes and their neighborhood.
It was also an expansive idea: that people together could organize building to block; block to neighborhood; neighborhood to city.
GOLES’ name reflects its hope, stretching beyond the struggle for legal rights and personal security to a struggle for collective security, for the gamut of people and cultures, spaces and institutions that historically made the Lower East Side one of the most unique, politically energetic neighborhoods in the world.
Remembering the movers and shakers and the dreamers who went before us, we value in living color, with justice and possibilities for all people in our streets, this country, and the world.
We see oppression every day, and we want to shift the balance of power toward the people of the Lower East Side.
We believe in collective action, and we believe in social consciousness.
We believe that these are our streets and it will take our hands and feet to make the future we want.
We believe in thinking critically about the systems that keep us down, and in organizing to bring us up, working in alliance with others who share our beliefs.
We believe we each have a role in bringing our community together and building our organization.
We believe that the market doesn’t have all (or even most) of the answers.
We honor the gritty, rebellious, multiracial, immigrant history of the LES, and believe that a lively knowledge of the past helps us deal with the present and envision the future.
We believe we all need to discuss the issues that affect our lives, educate ourselves about the solutions and respect others even when we disagree.
We believe in developing grassroots leaders from the community and actively supporting them.
We believe in all being responsible for our commitments.
We value the historical memory of our elders and the idealism of our youth, and we believe in unity across generations in making decisions about the direction of our community.
We believe in creating the space for youth to take leadership.
We believe that sustaining our organization is all of our responsibility: Put your money where your mouth is.
We believe that liberty is central to the identity of the LES, and that freedom for artistic, linguistic, sexual, spiritual, cultural and political expression is our birthright.
We believe that housing, education, healthcare, a livelihood, are human rights; that workers rights, and immigration rights are also fundamental to self-determination.
JoAnn Wypijewski, Board Chair
Susan Pillay, Vice Chair
Amy Taylor, Treasurer
Francesca Manisco, Secretary
FoundationsConsortium for Workers EducationFan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation JM Kaplan Fund Mertz Gilmore FoundationNeighborhood Opportunities Fund (INCO)New York Community TrustNew York FoundationNew York Women's FoundationRetail Wholesale and Department Store UnionScherman FoundationWebsite design and development donated by The Taproot Foundation
CorporationsBTMU BankCapital One BankHSBC Bank M&T BankGovernmentCity Council Speaker Christine QuinnCouncil Member Margaret ChinCouncil Member Rosie MendezBorough President Scott Stringer National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)New York State Department Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)