Residents of NYCHA units are worried that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan may eventually force them out of their homes.
Over the past week, the New York City mayor’s administration has unveiled two properties where city officials are planning to launch its controversial “NextGeneration” program, reports The Real Deal. These two New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) properties are the Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side and Brooklyn’s Wyckoff Gardens. The “NextGeneration” program would have vacant or underutilized space in NYCHA properties to either be sold or fully maximized. Should it be the latter, the program would have the property on a 99-year lease for the development of buildings that are half market rate and half affordable.
However, residents of the identified NYCHA properties are not happy over the news. According to the New York Daily News, tenants have criticized the mayor’s plan and are worried that it may eventually leave them homeless. “I think they’re trying to force us out,” said a Wyckoff Gardens resident, “How are you going to have people here paying $200, $300 rent, then you’ve got tenants in a brand new building paying $1,500, $2,000?” In the area, two bedroom units have rentals of around $3,000 per month or more. Under de Blasio’s “NextGeneration” program, the NYCHA reportedly plans to build 650 units on two “underutilized” parking lots in Wyckoff Gardens. Three hundred of those units would be affordable or half market rate.
Aside from worries on potential high rental rates, tenants also felt shut out from NYCHA’s plans for the property. A few tenants told the Daily News about robo-calls they received from NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye which mentioned that the agency “will have the opportunity to build new housing that will bring additional revenue for repairs and capital improvements in your development.” The calls reportedly failed to mention the 650 apartment development on site and that half of the units will be rented at high rates.
Meanwhile, tenants at Holmes Towers are also unhappy over the news. The NYCHA reportedly plans to develop a new apartment building that will house 350 to 400 units, states DNAinfo. Fifty percent of these units will be available at half market rate and will be built on top of an existing playground. Residents reportedly found this plan “unfair” given that they will be losing play space for their children.
“What they’re doing is taking from the kids,” Unique Walker, a tenant at Holmes Towers, told DNA info. “Where will our kids play? It’s not fair that the poor suffer so the rich can have a place to live.”