New York City

From NLC Capstone Project to Netflix

Aaron Carr’s NYC-based organization investigates real estate fraud and connects tenants to legal support

August 24, 2021

In 2015, Aaron Carr envisioned how he could address the broken system of the NYC Buildings Department, and its role protecting tenants. 

As Aaron’s NLC New York City fellowship came to a close, he put his ideas into action through his Capstone project. NLC Capstones challenge Fellows to identify a project that captures their passion, serves their community, and leverages the network and skills provided through their Fellowship. 

His project resulted in the founding of the Housing Rights Initiative, a startup watch-dog tenants agency to return affordability that has been stolen from the families of New York City. Using a data-driven approach to identify fraudulent real estate practices, HRI organizes class action lawsuits against predatory landlords for violating basic tenant rights.

“Our goal here is simple: It’s to get real estate companies to abandon their discriminatory housing practices and follow the damn law,” Aaron said in a recent interview with The New York Times. “They are the gatekeepers of housing and get to decide where families live, where they work and where children go to school. Housing discrimination goes beyond the walls of housing.”

Aaron has also been featured on season two of the Netflix show Dirty Money, which features HRI’s three-year investigation into the Kushner Companies. 

Learn more about Aaron and HRI’s work here.