Haber Houses tenants protest potential privatization, citing fears of displacement • Brooklyn Paper

Tenants at NYCHA Haber Houses in Coney Island rallied towards potential privatization of the advanced on Sunday, calling on the town to desert their plans so as to add their houses to a public-private housing program. 

Alongside a corporation known as United Entrance Towards Displacement, residents have been working to unite their neighbors towards privatization since December, once they say they discovered the town plans so as to add Haber Houses to both the Everlasting Affordability Dedication Collectively program or the newer New York Metropolis Public Housing Preservation Trust

“We are not given enough information, and our questions are not answered in detail,” stated Alex Travinskiy, a 20-year NYCHA resident. “We cannot trust what NYCHA says. It took them six years to fix three boilers for our buildings.” 

Authorities packages use personal administration to handle repairs, renovations

NYCHA oversees 335 developments housing over 530,000 folks throughout New York Metropolis — and lots of of these developments are in some state of disrepair. Strapped for cash and sources, NYCHA has turned to the 2 packages to assist rehabilitate buildings. 

However some tenants say the packages harm greater than they assist. With PACT, developments are primarily leased to non-public administration firms, who take cost of renovations and repairs with assist from the federal Rental Help Demonstration program.

haber houses tenants
Many tenants at Haber Houses are seniors, and a few communicate solely Russian — and worry being displaced by development or eviction if their improvement is added to PACT or the Belief. Caroline Ourso

Final summer time, Gov. Kathy Hochul launched the New York Metropolis Public Housing Preservation Belief — a “public option” that primarily replicates the situations of PACT, whereas retaining developments beneath NYCHA management. 

Below each packages, developments are switched from Part 9 to Part 8.

Greater than 36,000 residences at 137 developments are at present present process or have already undergone renovations beneath the PACT program, Mayor Eric Adams announced final month. The company plans to “recapitalize” 62,000 NYCHA residences by 2028. 

“With NYCHA’s buildings rapidly deteriorating due to decades of federal disinvestment in public housing and a $40 billion capital need, the Trust and PACT are crucial tools for bringing transformative repairs and providing residents with the quality of life they deserve,” NYCHA spox Nekoro Gomes informed Brooklyn Paper. 

However reports and tenants say personal administration has resulted in increased eviction charges and fewer rights for tenants — some say their new landlords haven’t solely failed to handle ongoing points, however have introduced their very own, newer issues.

Haber Houses says no to “privatization scheme”

Having seen the problems their fellow NYCHA residents are coping with, tenants at Haber Houses say they need no half of the privatization “scheme.”

“The residents will be given a voucher and will be forced to find another residence while our current residence will undergo a renovation,” reads an anti-privatization petition signed by 210 Haber residents. “Currently there is a lack of clarity regarding this plan.”

Travinskiy stated that whereas the company guarantees to supply short-term housing for tenants if repairs are extreme sufficient to require them to maneuver, many are previous or sick and can’t be relocated for lengthy intervals or in any respect. A quantity of residents communicate solely Russian, and organizers fear a transfer — even a short lived one – might considerably influence their high quality of life by transferring them away from their regular medical doctors’ workplaces, grocery shops, and neighborhoods. 

woman holding sign at protest
Members of the family of Haber Houses tenants supported the protest on Sunday, frightened about what would occur if privatization is permitted. Caroline Ourso

With the assistance of UFAD, tenants went door-to-door at Haber Houses, informing their neighbors of the potential change and gathering signatures on their petition. In response to the petition, NYCHA has not offered a timeline for the renovations or details about what housing could be offered as development begins. 

Many residents on the Feb. 5 rally stated they don’t wish to change to Part 9 beneath both program.

“No PACT, no Trust, we don’t want to leave our homes,” one stated. 

Regina Bulayevskaya stated her mom lives at Haber and, like many residents, is a Holocaust survivor. She’s lived by way of World Struggle II, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and now desires only a protected and steady residence, Bulayevsakaya stated. 

“Stability and peace is all we want to secure our future – my mother thought she found that in an apartment provided by the state,” she stated. “Out of nowhere this thunder, this earthquake came.”

UFAD wrote letters concerning the scenario to a number of native elected officers – and solely acquired a response from New York Metropolis councilmember Ari Kagan, who attended Sunday’s protest. 

“This is a democracy. If the overwhelming majority are against privatization, so be it,” the councilmember stated. “People should not be relocated without their permission. People should be listened to.”

Haber Houses required large repairs after Hurricane Sandy – as of 2019, NYCHA was actively replacing the roofs of two buildings on the advanced, plus putting in warmth and steam traces and establishing new electrical and boiler techniques. 

UFAD stated NYCHA and the Haber Houses Tenant Affiliation tried to close down their work to prepare towards privatization, taping up flyers that say their survey was “not approved by NYCHA management” and asking residents not to participate in it.

ari kagan at haber houses protest
Councilmember Ari Kagan stated if the tenants are towards privatization, NYCHA ought to drop the proposal. Caroline Ourso

“Residents here at Haber Houses got organized and put together a petition, and their Tenant Association president has outrageously claimed that collecting signatures for a petition is illegal and dangerous,” stated UFAD organizer Alice Pote. “Residents are saying very clearly they do not want this privatization scheme.”

No motion taken but

Linda Harrison, president of the Haber Houses Tenant Affiliation, stated no choices have been made by NYCHA. The company is working alongside the Tenants Affiliation to coach Haber Houses residents about their choices, she informed Brooklyn Paper, together with their means to vote against becoming a member of the Belief. NYCHA will proceed to work to coach tenants of their choices till a vote is scheduled, she stated. 

When a improvement is chosen for the PACT program, NYCHA begins a prolonged public involvement process, inviting tenants to study extra about this system, assist choose a developer, and create a plan for renovations. 

“I am heartbroken that outside and inside agitators are stoking our elderly Haber resident’s fears of being evicted through privatization when no such action has been proposed or chosen by this development,” Harrison stated. 

Source link