Renovations on more than 1,700 units of public housing in upper Manhattan are making a big difference in residents’ lives

Renovations are underway on more than 1,700 units of public housing in Upper Manhattan. The New York Housing Authority put collectively a collaborative staff to restore and renovate the units spanning throughout 16 developments in Manhattan underneath the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together Program. 

The units are situated primarily in upper Manhattan, although enhancements are additionally being made to units in Murray Hill and the Upper West Facet.

In all, 3,000 residents will profit from the reservations. Renovations began again in January 2021 and are projected to be full by 2023.

“It is unfortunate that the conditions that these individuals and families have been living under, have been horrible, and they’ve endured it for such a long period of time,” stated Yvonne Stennett, government director at Community League of the Heights (CLOTH). “And it is really inhumane. So I think that correcting the ill that they have had to face, because of the lack of focus on their lives, it’s huge.”

Olga Lauriano lives at 99 Fort Washington, one of the senior developments that’s at the moment underneath renovation, and serves as its tenant president. Her unit was renovated final month. Lauriano is handicapped, and, earlier than the renovations, she didn’t have a handicapped sink or range and her retailers weren’t low sufficient for her to succeed in. The tile was previous and cracked and the bottom across the ground had holes the place mice would scurry into the dimly lit unit.

Now, she is ready to simply entry every little thing in her house, the tile has been changed and a new baseboard was put in. The mice are gone and Lauriano couldn’t be happier, she stated. LED lights have brightened up the room together with a recent coat of paint on all of the partitions.  

“And it looks so beautiful,” Lauriano stated. “I’m looking at it, I don’t want to leave my home. … I’m happy here. I feel like a bride. You know how when you first get married and everything is new? That’s the way it is.”

Location of all 16 developments to endure renovation. Not all of the developments are senior residing buildings. Photograph courtesy: PACT Renaissance Collaborative

Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) was chosen by the New York Housing Authority to be half of the event staff in cost of financing, rehabilitating and managing the 16 properties. CLOTH has supplied over 3,000 units of reasonably priced housing for the communities it serves since its founding in 1952. The New York Metropolis Housing Authority offers public housing in New York Metropolis, and is the biggest public housing authority in North America.

“Everyone should be living as decently as anyone else,” stated Stennett, who began as a youth counselor with the group in 1979 and have become the manager director in 1994.

PACT Renaissance Collaborative was additionally chosen to be half of the event staff. CLOTH is serving because the social service supplier for the PACT Renaissance Collaborative

Renovations for particular person residences embrace safety upgrades and new kitchens, loos, home windows, doorways and flooring. 

Laurino’s toilet was additionally fully renovated to incorporate additional handicap bars and a larger bathroom. The closet was additionally renovated to be more accessible.

“I feel like I’m in Park Avenue,”  Lauriano stated. Including, “I have a beautiful place. I’m so proud of it. You know, it’s so much easier for me to get around. And it’s easier for me to keep it clean.” 

In-unit renovations are at the moment underway at Smart Towers, Washington Heights Rehab, Public Faculty 139 and 99 Fort Washington. 

A rendering of the renovations.Photograph courtesy: PACT Renaissance Collaborative

Constructing-wide renovations can embrace roof repairs, facade work, elevator upgrades and replacements, mechanical programs upgrades, extra safety programs and new heating programs, in keeping with PACT Renaissance Collaborative. Design upgrades will embrace daring graphics and signage to supply visible curiosity and enhanced wayfinding which may be useful for senior residents.

Frequent areas, neighborhood facilities, landscaping and playgrounds can even be enhanced if wanted. 

“I think at the end of the day, we will be able to make some really great strides in enhancing the lives of the over 1700 families that live in those developments,” Stennett stated.

Throughout the renovation course of, present tenants have been capable of and can proceed to have the ability to stay in their residences. 

CLOTH companies

All through the renovations, CLOTH has supplied programming for the residents together with pc lessons, movie, yoga and Tai Chi lessons. By means of their Tech Discuss program, CLOTH has helped their senior residents navigate expertise use by the pandemic. CLOTH additionally focuses on the social, emotional and well being wants of the residents. 

“The amazing thing is to see my seniors happy,” Lauriano stated. 

CLOTH has made practically 12,000 wellness calls to residents throughout the developments to make sure a clean transition throughout the course of.  

“They’re here almost every day. And whatever problems they have, they talk to the seniors about it, and they become friends of the seniors.” 

On the peak of the pandemic, CLOTH delivered meals to many of the residents by their meals pantry and continues to supply meals to residents when wanted. 

Lauriano was one of the individuals who acquired meals from CLOTH throughout the pandemic. 

“We really believe in making sure that we’re making someone’s life better than we found it,” Stennett stated. 

CLOTH has been working to deal with the basis causes of poverty in northern Manhattan neighborhoods for practically 70 years. Since its founding in 1952, CLOTH has helped assist the Washington Heights, Inwood and Hamilton Heights communities by preserving reasonably priced houses for households, offering free meals by their meals pantry operation, training and implementing well being and wellness programming.

Yvonne Stennett government director of CLOTH.Photograph courtesy: Group League of the Heights



































































In 2005 CLOTH established Group Well being Academy of the Heights, a profitable sixth to twelfth Grade Public Faculty that educates practically 700 college students yearly with a 90% commencement price. CLOTH additionally offers after faculty applications and summer season camps. 

“It’s really turned into a hub for the community. So I’m very proud of that,” Stennett stated. 

By means of their expertise heart, CLOTH works with over 200 adults yearly on literacy, pc expertise, English as a second language and job coaching applications together with house well being aide coaching and certification .  

CLOTH is situated at 500 West 159 Avenue. Anybody is ready to stroll in and get assist. 

“I see that there’s so many injustices in the world, and I think if any of us can play a small part in eradicating some of those injustices by treating other people humanely; by just trying to be good people and do good work for one another, I think that’s what it is. That’s my calling,” Stennett stated. 

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