Star of Queens: Ana Rivera – QNS.com

Star of Queens: Ana Rivera

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Ana Rivera has volunteered for Woodside on the Move for the past three years in helping tenants with housing problems. “We help as many people as we can in the community with housing problems like Major Capital Improvement that landlords add to your rent for services that they shouldn’t be adding on. It’s an injustice.” She also helps address issues tenants are having with landlords such as “non-working security cameras, doorbells and by showing up to housing court for their cause.” Rivera believes that it is important for people to “gather together and fight against unfair charges and against landlords who don’t make [necessary] repairs to the apartments.”

INSPIRATION: She was inspired to volunteer with Woodside on the Move because they helped fight a problem she was having with a leak in her apartment and the complaints that went unaddressed for two and a half years. “I thought I was alone before but now I feel that there are so many and that we can make a difference. It’s not only one person’s problem, but many. We try to educate. Woodside on the Move really helped me get the problem solved.”

PERSONAL: Rivera, 68, is currently a retired building superintendent. Working with Meltzer and Meltzer she managed clerical work, supply ordering, assisted the plumber, among other things for approximately 40 years with her husband. After retirement she attended classes for the elderly such as art and ballroom dance at LaGuardia Community College class for “self improvement and [increased] self esteem.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Following through to help others sometimes is a big challenge,” Rivera said. She said that it is well worth the initial stress to help others because the results are fruitful. “When it’s a whole community that shows the same help and we all get together and show our voices … [it’s better] than one person doing it alone,” said Rivera.

FAVORITE MEMORY: “Gathering together and working together with everyone in March 2011 we went to visit the new housing commissioner in Albany,” said Rivera, who takes care of her grandchildren during her free time. “We expressed what our community needed: that major capital improvement notices should be sent in different languages and real rent reform.”

DREAM: “I hope to see the changes and improve our community for our tenants. We want our rents to be stable so we don’t have to go away from our home…we want our children and grandchildren to be raised in the same community as us. I hope all the hard work we are doing pays off,” Rivera said. – Salimah Khoja

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