Elsia Vasquez brings a unique and solid commitment to tenant organizing and public advocacy on the housing issues facing low-income renters and homeowners. She experienced first-hand the realities of living in deplorable conditions and organized fifty-five tenants living in three dilapidated buildings to help them address the poor conditions in their apartments at the hand of her landlord. Together, they organized a tenant association where she served as the president, and initiated a Housing Court action to force the owner to make repairs and demanded inclusion in the Article 7A program. After a year in litigation, the owner was stripped of management responsibilities and NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) rehabilitated the 98 units. The owner was forced to sell the buildings that cost $3.5 million to rehabilitate.
Elsia founded People Against Landlord Abuse and Tenant Exploitation (P.A.’L.A.N.T.E.) Harlem in February of 2008 to assist her neighbors. As the Founder and Executive Director, many political institutions, property owners, governmental agencies and community activists have recognized Ms. Vasquez as a partner and strong influence in the community. Under her leadership, P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Harlem delivers its core programs: Tenant Organizing and Leadership Development, Legal and Mediation Services, Homelessness Prevention, P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Stand & Deliver Kids, and Workforce Development.
Elsia’s vision has motivated other residents to take on leadership roles in the community and property owners and developers respect her work. She was presented with the 2020 New York State Senate Woman of Distinction Award and is also the winner of the 2014 #WomenLead New York City Council Award. U.S. Congress Member Adriano Espaillat, Former U.S. Congress Member Charles B. Rangel, New York City Comptrollers John C. Liu and Scott Stringer, and the Manhattan Delegation of New York City Council Members and other notable elected officials have also recognized her for her outstanding service to the community.
Before creating P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Harlem, Elsia Vasquez was Director of Prudential Investments developing and introducing practice management programs for high-end financial advisors and brokerage firms. Prior to joining Prudential, Ms. Vasquez was the Vice President of The Advisor Institute at AllianceBernstein, where she was responsible for developing and delivering practice management programs to top financial advisors, mutual fund wholesalers, and relationship management/key accounts. Prior to AllianceBernstein, Ms. Vasquez was a Senior Associate at Zurich Investments, Morgan Grenfell (Deutche Bank), and a Marketing Coordinator at Coutts Bank in the Americas responsible for assisting private bankers and mutual fund wholesalers in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong. Elsia Vasquez also worked in the public relations department at Salomon Brothers when it was located in the financial district. Elsia sits on the Board of P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. Harlem.