ELDERLY HOUSING PROJECT RESIDENTS ARE BEING TOLD TO MOVE AWAY

Elderly housing project residents, particularly at Amsterdam Houses in the West 60′s off of Amsterdam Avenue, are being told that they have to move because they live in apartments with more bedrooms than they need.

Some seniors are being told they have to move out of their developments — and even out of the borough, said Rosalba Rodriguez, a member of Councilwoman Gale Brewer’s staff who is working on the issue. Rodriguez said she’s been talking to residents of four housing projects she works with, including Amsterdam Houses, the Amsterdam Houses Addition, Harborview on 55th Street and Wise Towers on 92nd Street.

Rodriguez said that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has known for years that some of the units in the buildings are “underoccupied”, meaning that there are fewer people living in the apartments than it can hold (basically seniors who’s kids move out suddenly are living in two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments by themselves). But NYCHA hasn’t been aggressive about pushing them out until now, and it’s freaking a lot of people out.

“They had never made these changes before,” she said. “It’s having health impacts on people.”

Rodriguez said she understands the need to make room for new families, but moving people out of their neighborhoods is unacceptable.

In a letter to NYCHA Chairman John Rhea sent last week, Brewer wrote that seniors are “alarmed.”

“It is widely recognized that seniors are vulnerable to physical and mental distress when uprooted from homes they have long occupied. They and their supporters are furious at the cavalier manner in which NYCHA is treating these residents, as though they are merely numbers to be shuffled about without regard to the harm this may cause. Ms. Curet has been in communication with NYCHA’s Family Services department and has made many referrals for assistance regarding these moves. However, she is deeply worried about the mental health of seniors who are under stress from NYCHA’s approach to downsizing.”

We contacted NYCHA for a response (Rhea apparently hasn’t responded to Brewer yet), and received the following from spokesperson Zodet Negron.

“The New York City Housing Authority faces a real crisis with more than 161,000 people on its waiting list for public housing (and another 120,000 waiting for a Section 8 vouchers). There are nearly 50,000 people in NYCHA housing units who are not living in apartments properly sized for their needs – meaning they have too many rooms for their family size. To serve families in need, it is critical that NYCHA utilize this scarce public resource as it was intended: to assist the greatest number of families eligible for affordable and subsidized housing. We will continue to work with residents as their case is reviewed annually to explore and discuss how best to meet their needs. NYCHA also will assist other families who can be better accommodated once under-utilized apartments become available.”

Negron added “This is not new, as each resident’s lease states this possibility.”

Asked why residents were being asked to move out of their neighborhoods, and even their boroughs, Negron responded: “NYCHA works with the residents to place them in an appropriately-sized unit where available. This could be within their own development or borough but it will depend on availability. For certain developments and boroughs, the wait can be longer.”

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 13 comments | permalink

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    1. John Gingrich says:

      At what point does a 94-year-old get the heave ho from a two bedroom apartment? And sent to another borough? C’mon, Housing Authority, let’s use our heads and our hearts. This is a moment for the community to think like a community. Why create distress for so many who have given so much? Is there any advocate to move a widow to a smaller apartment in the smae complex (or building)? And what is the moving stipend?
      This could stand a lot more discussion.

      John Gingrich

      • b says:

        Given so much? What are you talking about? These people have been taking taxpayer subsidies their whole lives. Now it’s time to let another family get a break. How about having a heart for the family of 6 that sleeps in a shelter each night while an apt that could sleep them all is taken up by 1 person?

    2. pete says:

      For crying out loud. Most people cannot afford to stay in family sized housing after the need to maintain family size housing has passed. What do those Manhattanites do? They downsize or move to Florida or somewhere less expensive. Do they want to leave their market rate apartments and the neighborhoods they call home? Frequently not. That is life in the big city. Have compassion, yes, but think of the other families in need. Think of the children.

    3. Anon says:

      Finally -if you’re not going to tear these things down (should be choice number one -the most expensive real estate in the world is used to house poor people? What idiot decided that was a good idea?) then at least use them properly. It’s ridiculous to have so many people on waiting lists and so many vacant bedrooms. If you ask me they should just pair people together. If you’re not happy with your new housemates then move out.

      • Rose says:

        @anon–I’m offended by your reply!! What right do you have to say that “this is prime real estate” and that “Poor” people should not be here?!! In case you are ignorant of the fact, we “poor” people are mostly hard-working adults, trying to make ends meet in an expensive city to live in! Are you “poor”? Yes! You’re poor in compassion! So your first choice is to have the PJs torn down? And then what? Put up luxury buildings? Hey, we “poor” were here first, before Trump came and made this prime property. Think about it?! And get some knowledge and compassion. @Angry in New York

    4. Someguy says:

      What took them so long to remember what they sought to accomplish in the first place? Did they never have a long term plan/exit strategy for these families? THAT is inexcusable… I wonder how much longer it will take them to realize the even worse and widespread faults of RS/RC and how much it hurts the city.

      btw, forget about the 94 y/o or whoever INDIVIDUAL, and worry about the MACRO….

    5. Jeanette says:

      What the Housing Authorithy is doing to force these defenseless elderly to move is a crying out shame. And the saddest part is after all is done it still won’t solve the homeless problem in NY or the overpopulation of poor people. I think the rights of these seniors are being violated but when your poor who cares. They don’t have the resources or energy to fight back. The NYC Housing is bullying the elderly. Shame on you.

    6. I think seven years more than enough time for people to get themselves together off on their own. Right now, there seems to be no incentive to improve yourself economically to get out of the projects.

      • Rose says:

        @real estate in mumbai: And where do you get your facts?! In the first place the housing projects were not created to be a stepping stone to a higher economic status! They were created to house the poor in livable domiciles. In a city like NY there are practically NO options about where the poor can live, save for the projects, or in uninhabitable, dirty, rat-ridden apartments that still cost way too much! If you’re in real estate in mumbai, you know nothing of the “poor” here in NYC! Don’t post about what you don’t know!

    7. If people have managed to keep and maintain their homes this long why take that away from them, is it their fault that the rate of pregnanacies and people who aren’t paying their rent is going up.

      • IgnoranceIsBliss says:

        You are a bunch of idiots! You have so much to say about poor people but dont know anything about poverty. Why dont you try volunteering at a soup kitchen or something before you share your idiotic views with the world.

    8. Rose says:

      @John Gingrich– John, you any EVERYBODY should know that NYCHA is offering an $850.00 stipend for moving expenses! In New York, that wouldn’t even pay for P:ACKING the boxes? Is NYCHA crazy?! Where is the rest of the money going to come from? NYCHA knows how much it costs to move in this city! My friend recently moved, and the lowest estimate he could get was $2,000.00!

    9. N. Diaz says:

      Well, that’s the Amsterdam NYCHA, on the
      Upper West Side. If the elderly are kicked out,
      then the apartment will be taken over by
      the shelter mothers & her 6 kids.
      They will then be roaming all the nice places,
      on the Upper West Side, making life hell
      for everyone. The old woman, doesn’t cause any
      trouble.