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The Call Blog: Public Housing Tenants, Advocates File Lawsuit Against NYCHA

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Have something to tell us at The Call? Drop us a line at thecall@ny1.com and we'll post it to our blog.



It's interesting that while several callers who live in public housing buildings were against the land lease plan, there were quite a handful in support of it. They said they hoped high-income housing will improve their neighborhoods. While the plan may have that effect on some developments, it may have the opposite effect on others, eating into affordable housing space. The City has to invest in building more low and middle income housing because it is becoming a City for the rich. Part of makes the City so great is its diversity and pretty soon, we may be without it.



Public housing tenants and advocates today filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court against the New York City Housing Authority’s proposed land lease program. The housing authority is looking to ground-lease several sites within 8 Manhattan NYCHA developments in an effort to raise millions of dollars. They are asking private developers to submit bids by November 18 to build market-rate apartment buildings on the plots, which are mostly parking lots, setting aside 20 percent of the units for low-income housing.

Several residents and groups fear the influx of high-end apartments would drive up costs in their neighborhoods. The lawsuit today also claims the authority failed to obtain the necessary legislative approval before soliciting bids. But in a statement today, NYCHA said it remains committed to pursuing the land lease process “as it would generate significant revenue for NYCHA – money that would go directly into developments and capital improvements for NYCHA residents.”

What do you say? Do you think the land lease plan is a fair way to raise money? If not, what are other ways to increase funds for public housing developments? Would you like to see such private developments built on public land?

Reply with your thoughts using the link above.



I think it is a bad idea.

Rosalie
Canarsie



This is just another form of re-gentrification to make more money for the housing agency and to get rid of low income housing and minorities.

Jeanne
Jamaica



I think the upscale housing that is supposed to be built can only improve the area. If middle class people are stupid enough to want to live there and risk being mugged they will likely get great apartments. What are the people in housing projects complaining about?? They will get more security, nice facilities and stand to benefit from needed repairs. Having grown up in a housing project that was beautiful when new and then totally destroyed by many of the tenants, I would never again return to living in such a hellhole. The poor housing project tenants should be thrilled to have some upscale housing near them.

Look at beautiful upscale housing in Flushing very near a housing project where middle class people must take a taxi or risk being mugged at night when returning home.

Susan
Brooklyn




Listen everyone this Bloomberg has his fingerprints all over everything !! Before he leaves
office he will do so much more damaging things that will never be in our favor at all. He
is going to fulfill his promises to his cronies and this is a good chance for this DeBlasio to put a stop
to all of this immediately. Let’s see how the big talker handles this.
Bloomberg finds a way to scoop up all real estate any way he can and no one ever stops him
because he is more than just a ruthless man.

Maxxiee
Morris Park



First i would like to say my condolences to you and your family about your father god bless. NYCHA should mske sure all of the existing apartments are repaired before they make any sudden moves and they get legistive approval before they start constructing any other apartments. The reason why NYCHA dont have any capital is because of Mr Rhea he needs to be fired he's living somewhere nice while some of the NYCHA tenants are living in apartments with holes in the walls and rodents running around freely, Mayor-elect Diblasio needs to revamp NYCHA from the top down

Herman
Upper West Side



Here's a better idea. Get the government out of housing, privatizing all of it. The government should own nothing, not even the buildings in which its offices are located.

Joe
Port Richmond



Some of The neighborhoods containing NYCHA housing are in desperate need of new ideas and balance between retail stores, including grocery stores, middle income housing and higher end housing. Pooling all of the poor people together in concentrated areas has just not worked. And they need additional revenue streams because taxing the middle class to pay for everything just doesn't work. We need to explore all options.

Audrey
Clinton Hill



Is that what they called it when the Europeans came here and ran the Native Americans off of their own land? Same story, different era.

Norm
Upper East side



This idea by NYCHA to lease land to luxury builders is wrong. NYCHA needs to open their books to see why they don't have the money to make necessary repairs.

The Developments, predominately on the lower east side, simply do not have the land available to build high-rise buildings.

DeBlasio keeps talking about a tale of 2 cities..this plan will highlight this condition. The first order of business is a New Housing Commissioner.

Kate
Midtown East



Housing Committee hearings in the City council revealed NYCHA sat on billions of dollars from federal government, didn't place security cameras or make needed repairs. The head of NYCHA must be replaced and returned to Wall Street. Poor people living in public housing are
human beings and deserve our respect, care and attention.

Allan
Midwood



Who would want to live in a market-rate apartment just yards away from gun shooting, muggings, and gangs? Nearly 50% of crime in NYC today is connected to NYCHA housing developments.
NYCHA needs to address this before any talk of a land grab.

Steve
Forest Hills



NYCHA SOLE PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE PUBLIC HOUSING TO THE CITIZENS OF THIS CITY NOT TO GET INTO THE LEASING BUSINESS. NYCHA HAS MONEY FOR REPAIRS BUT THEY ARE NOT USING IT. THIS ADMINISTRATION JUST WANTS TO ABOLISHED PUBLIC HOUSING

PEDRO
THE BRONX



The projects already suffer from severe deferred maintenance. If that continues, many buildings may be declared uninhabitable and face the wrecking ball, which is what happened to many other low income section 8 housing projects around the country. The federal govt. has reduced aid to all these projects, which has partially created the shortfall. New development may save this from happening. I'm in favor of mixing it up.

Gretchen
Upper West Side



I am the 20 year old Vice President at Smith Houses, one of the developments targeted in the infill plan. There is no doubt that NYCHA need money, but there is also no doubt that the way they about this plan was downright selfish and is only beneficial for the wealthy. Not only does this go against NYCHA's mission statement: to preserve public housing, it also threatens the true essence of this great city, to provide steady resources for every single New Yorker.

This plan will be the beginning of the end of public housing as we know it. We will continue to fight tirelessly to protect public housing!

Jonathan
Smith Houses



If New Yorks Economy was to get better and higher paying jobs would be available to Minority like myself I would not mind the cities leasing the property. However since unemployment rate its at highest and jobs seems to get much more competitive for minority I oppose the development idea. How about raising minimum wage and then thinking about the development project ? Baby steps or eventually segregation will once again become a part of our lives.

Armando
Brooklyn



The city does NOT need more "market rate" housing. It DOES need more affordable housing. If the city really cared about affordable housing, it would be made a priority and given the funding it needs to make repairs. This is just another ploy to keep giving away more and more of New York to greedy developers, and away from the people of this city.

Sarah
Brooklyn



A few years ago I contacted NY1 about "Fountains of NYCHA" and Ruschell Boone came to report the story - the "sprinklers" in the children's playgrounds would run full blast, 24 hours a day, for days at a time, literally pouring money down the drains, and this had happened for several years before I contacted NY1 and continued in the years after NY1 ran the story. Management had to have been aware of it because numerous NYCHA personnel would have passed by the playgrounds and seen it daily. NYCHA needs to be both audited and personnel needs to be changed.

Star Wind



The proposal by NYCHA management to build luxury housing on public housing land, is another dangerous step toward the privatization zeal that is occurring across the country, as federal government dysfunction, creates a tempting void for vulture capitalists, especially real estate developers in New York City.

The GOP and their neo-liberal proponents are clearly focused on eliminating as much of the federal government as possible, e.g., corporate school reform, reduction in safety net programs for the most vulnerable in our society, and etcetera.
Understanding such motivation, NYCHA‘s current scheme is certainly meant to move in such a direction.

As has been noted elsewhere, this proposal is only occurring in Manhattan, not in the outer boroughs. Why, because many NYCHA developments in Manhattan are located in prime real estate areas, such as Douglass Houses on the Upper West Side, and Fulton Houses in Chelsea, and etcetera.

Since the Reagan Administration, public housing has been severely defunded, and state governments/ municipalities have not adequately filled the gap.

There are many problems that NYCHA ought to confront. What NYCHA should be focused on is filling the appalling gaps in existing services, not adding to the problems that public housing residents have to confront everyday.

Deborah
Washington Heights



Instead of building for the rich they need to build for low income cause there is so much people that are homeless because they can't afford these high rents.



This is a terrible idea. I am a Harlem public housing activist. This is the beginning of the end of public housing. We have gone to Washington D.C. to talk with policy analysts and we know that there are those who are plotting the demise of public housing through a program called RAD which is now law being part of the appropriations bill of 2011. We must have elected resident commissioners, not selected commissioners by Bloomberg to save our homes and a public housing resident Bill of Rights to protect our rights.

John



Thousands of applications are submitted for the affordable housing plans. Currently a luxury building on W 77th Street has 3 bedroom apartments ( market value 16,000/month) go to low income tenants for 1,000/month. Applicants are trying to keep their incomes LOW to be eligible. Why am I working so hard to live in NYC?

Fran



An important reason to oppose NYCHA's luxury tower plan is something called secondary displacement. Landlord's all around the development, now that there are luxury rent tenants, will up their residential and commercial rents. Affordable grocery and clothing stores will be replaced by bars and boutiques. Landlord's will start pressuring lower income tenants out to raise rents. This will make us even more a tale of two cities.

Harriet
Lower East Side



People are forgetting how did housing start and the purpose it was created. Housing was made for low income tenants and veterans after they came back from war and wanted to settle down.I think they should focus on other ways to create money. The cost of living is getting worst I'm a husband that works really hard and provides for my two kids. They need to get rid of tenants that are not working and raise up the rent to those that could pay more. Also start becoming strong in choosing who should live in housing because lots of tenants are messing up the reputations of working Hispanics and blacks because many that live in housing are dirty rude and disrespectful Around housing property. Thats why the government does not want to give any more money for housing tenants. I think they are trying to come up with a way to make it safer and cleaner this way. They lost control in what to do.



I do not support the plan NYCHA is proposing because it's a way to abolish Public affordable Housing and its current tenants.

Migda



Yes I do I agree that everyone should pay rent my parents leave in public housing and my Father's is the only one that works in that house...my mother is home and she doesn't work now my father stop working because they closed TAVERN ON THE GREEN back in 2009....My father was still paying almost 1,000 and he was not working...and they didn't reduce his rent He reporter the he was not working...there is people that paid $100 $200 even $300 and they have good apartments.... Now my parents apartment house have many violations and they have reported and no one has taking actions about it....

Frank

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