Gustavo RosadoBy Jose B. Rivera
June 1998 - Gustavo “Gus” Rosado, has been active in the East Harlem Community since his teenage years. Mr. Rosado is the Executive Director of El Barrio’s Operation Fightback, Inc. An organization that literally builds the community one brick at a time.
Mr. Rosado was born in Metropolitan Hospital in the mid 50’s. He was raised in our community and is a product of the Community School Board District # 4 school system.
Twenty years of his life has been spent dedicated to community service in East Harlem which includes service in youth programs, senior citizens programs and housing development. As one of the original founders of El Barrio’s Operation Fightback he has, since 1985, brought the organization from a $20,000 per year operation to an organization that has developed over $14 million in housing renovation for the East Harlem community.
His housing efforts began in 1983 when a group of tenants chose to fightback a drug dealing occupying their building. After a long and complicated court battle the tenants eventually won and today that building stands as a low income co-op owned by the tenants. During the mid 80’s when the City of New York was faced with wide spread landlord neglect most of his housing efforts were focused on on tenants rights, tenant organizing, building crisis intervention, and housing advocacy. His desire to have a wider impact on the community’s preservation and development led his efforts towards housing renovations.
During the early 90’s, recognizing his commitment and dedication to the East Harlem community, the New York Enterprise Foundation awarded El Barrio’s Operation Fightback a contract to renovate 3 vacant city owned buildings. Since that time Mr. Rosado has led the charge in housing renovations in East Harlem and has become the largest Hispanic housing developer in the community. To date he has been involved in the rehabilitation of 18 buildings, yielding over 225 new housing units for the East Harlem community.
In addition to continuing his housing development efforts which includes the renovations of 3 additional buildings scheduled to begin construction in November 1995, he has established a community youth center and also conducts a social services component geared to assist formally homeless families and individuals.
Mr. Rosado’s work has been building homes and assisting to build people’s lives. He unlike most activist can point to and touch what he has done. The product of his work are not tenuous. They are real. It is not work for everyone, nor a mission just anybody can undertake. Mr. Rosado can be very proud and satisfied with the work he has done. Keep up the good work Gus.