Showing posts with label NYCHA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NYCHA. Show all posts

April 18, 2020

COVID-19 is Wreaking Havoc in The Problem Prone (NYCHA) NYC Housing

New York City buildings | Getty Images
Original buildings in Public housing in New York. | Getty Images

The coronavirus preys on vulnerabilities, and that has made New York City's public housing system and its tenants unfortunate targets.

The results have been deadly.

As the virus sweeps through the roughly 174,000 apartments overseen by the New York City Housing Authority, it is threatening the economic picture of an agency just starting to find its fiscal footing and exacerbating inequalities that have long plagued low-income communities. Many NYCHA tenants have pre-existing medical conditions. Many are seniors or frontline workers who risk their health while on the job and then come back to apartments cramped with family members sheltering in place.

Residents and officials interviewed by POLITICO said that with health care systems overwhelmed, tenants are dying in their homes every day. Because the city has not been testing the deceased for Covid-19, the cause of each particular case is unclear. But the increased count is palpable in the data.

“So many people have died this week,” said Lisa Kenner, resident association president at Van Dyke Houses in Brooklyn. “It’s enough.”

Nearby Woodson Houses has lost six seniors. A few blocks away at Glenmore Plaza, the former resident association president died in her apartment last Friday morning. She was not taken away until the next day, according to Kenner.

She said 10 residents have died in their apartments at Van Dyke. In one case, the bodies of a mother and son were discovered in their unit only after the smell prompted neighbors to call city officials. Eventually, the National Guard came to remove the bodies, and then cleaning crews passed through the home. But the odor of death lingered.

“NYCHA has always struggled,” said City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, chair of the Council’s public housing committee, who represents Kenner's district. “Unfortunately because of this crisis, they are struggling even more.”

New Yorkers have been dying in their homes at around 10 times the usual rate, according to city statistics. Several officials have posited that the majority of these cases stem from low-income residents who cannot afford access to the traditional health care system or are frightened to seek assistance because of their immigration status.

"Residents are experiencing challenges, suffering, hardship, fortitude and survival, along with the entire community," NYCHA spokesperson Barbara Brancaccio said in a statement. "We are heartbroken to hear that we have lost members of our NYCHA family."

Many public housing tenants lack a primary care physician and typically use the emergency room as a first stop for health care. Hospital admissions, however, have been focused on sparing beds for the gravely ill. And while the mayor has said that anyone can call 311 and get connected with a doctor, Ampry-Samuel said the makeshift system is not reaching enough of the city’s vulnerable population and was not designed with them in mind.

“We could have prevented some of these deaths happening in the home if our leaders in the executive offices were talking directly with local elected officials,” she said.

The medical issues are being compounded by economic woes now rippling through every level of the public housing organization.

More than 45 percent of NYCHA families are working. But as unemployment claims reach staggering levels, officials expect public housing tenants to be hit hard. Not only will that strain household finances, but it will further imperil the economic standing of an agency already hollowed out by decades of underinvestment.

Around half of NYCHA’s annual operating costs are covered by $1 billion in rent received from tenants, who use federal vouchers to supplement their payments.

“If folks are out of work and stay out of work, we will need more voucher money and more operating subsidy,” NYCHA Chair Gregory Russ said in an interview.

NYCHA has received $137 million in operating money from the latest federal appropriations bill, enough to cover short-term costs, Russ said. But as the broader economic picture continues to sour, the odds grow that more cash will be needed — especially because several revenue-raising strategies the de Blasio administration was banking on have also been scrambled by Covid-19.

March was supposed to be a pivotal month.

A working group that was formed to hash out controversial plans for market-rate apartments and private management at Fulton Houses in Chelsea was set to unveil its recommendations, which would then set the benchmark for similar endeavors down the road. NYCHA hopes that various combinations of infill development and outside management contracts would cover around $15 billion worth of capital repairs across its entire portfolio. Both initiatives have prompted opposition from some elected officials and tenants. And the concept of new development has proven especially caustic.

Though consensus was far from guaranteed, city leaders and interested parties were leaning heavily toward scrapping the most hot-button issue at Fulton Houses: tearing down two existing public housing buildings. The group had instead turned its focus toward alternative development scenarios that would slot new buildings into existing open spaces elsewhere on the grounds, according to several people with knowledge of the meetings. But the sessions have stopped. And it is unclear when and if the plan will move forward.

Russ was also on the verge of unveiling a sweeping capital plan that had been in the works since last year. The agency planned to outline roughly $40 billion in repairs that, if funded, would bring buildings up to a minimum state of repair and allow the authority to finally emerge from crisis mode and start operating more akin to a normal landlord. The release of the plan has been tabled for now, though officials may break it out if a federal infrastructure bill materializes in Washington.

“If they are going to go that route, we have a program of scale and size that would be ideal," Russ said. "And we would make our voice heard."

NYCHA officials said recently they were on track to meet their goal of enrolling 62,000 apartments into the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration program, an initiative that transfers management of certain complexes to private developers who then make capital repairs. New projects requiring public hearings, however, have been put on hold as the authority more generally pares back its operations in response to Covid-19.

Development staff are cleaning buildings, performing emergency repairs and doing critical work related to lead and mold, the authority said. But with the onset of the coronavirus, workers have stopped doing annual inspections of properties required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the authority is limiting lead inspections to the universe of properties already known to have both lead paint and children under six years of age. As many tenant interactions as possible are being conducted remotely.

That has thrown the city out of compliance with a federal settlement agreement. For the time being, NYCHA is working with Bart Schwartz, the federal monitor, on an interim agreement that will prioritize what can be done until full operations resume and will, for example, likely delay when the authority must submit a reorganization plan.

NYCHA has also hired several outside contractors to clean and disinfect buildings, and has been partnering with food banks to distribute meals at pop-up events. In some cases, though, tenants have had to take the lead.

Back in Brooklyn's Van Dyke Houses, Kenner said she had to turn to the nonprofit City Harvest to deliver meals to seniors after an order placed through the city for Meals on Wheels delivery never arrived — a problem affecting elderly residents across the city. And she tapped into her federal money for the resident association to purchase 2,000 masks — something NYCHA has encouraged — after seeing seniors and other residents leaving their apartments without protective equipment to get food and medicine. Until this week, frontline caretakers and maintenance staff at her complex were similarly working without protective gear.

She said that NYCHA has been effective at communicating with residents about social distancing and what to do if they cannot pay rent. But as the burdens pile up, her neighbors are struggling.

“It’s really getting to people mentally,” she said

February 10, 2020

Apologies For Advertising SAGE Housing Not Realizing How They Throw Some to The Curb

This page two of the Original  {Iam Sorry I advertised SAGE}

This Explorative reporting is done by Adam Gonzalez to the readers my readers that know SAGE (Senior Action in a Gay Environment) or members of the LGBTQ community and those who don't know what is behind the curtain. That is not to take of the good they have done but mixing an LGBT program with a government program who is without money (so they say) to make repairs and keep the buildings well lit and liveable in 2020, not in 1950. Even the airspace, parks of those buildings, are being sold by NYCHA to developers to obtain capital.

To a client of SAGE or to my readers in the U.S. if you have a comment or have a similar case, I will put them together and I know who will get them.

SAGE and Co-Chairs of Board of Directors:

Mr. Douglas E. Harris and Ms. Elizabeth Schwartz

City Councilman, One That is 100% fighter for the gay community through the work in the government, Corey Johnson. 



ngersoll c/o St Edwards Place "Stonewall building", (that's how it was for me")

St Edwards Place

Nothing you see is real, artists rendition of a dream. On the left, you can see one of the NYCHA building from the 1950's
The other buildings are like a small city in which it has small roads for cars and the buildings that need to be replaced or heavily repaired.

One of the main work SAGE does for the community is to help Seniors LGBT find housing. We are talking about seniors that live alone. Those that no longer have a partner and there is no family to help, ending single in this city which so many that are forced to live in retirement some go back to the closet to make it easier the anti-gay feeling of many in that industry. Also, they can't afford a private person to help them out as they grow older.

The idea came if they could work with the government and instead of putting these seniors in other places which will cost the city much more and with not great results, why not on the new buildings being constructed in Nw York City, why not start with 4 or 5 buildings.

I applied for the one in Brooklyn last winter since I missed out in Staten Island and Manhattan, now what was left was Brooklyn in Ft. Greene (If you are a senior you must remember the history of that neighborhood surrounded by NYCHA old housing. The other is the Bronx (The Bronx is burning! No it stopped burning, I think it has some hot spots there still). I don't know about Queens.

For a year I did everything I was supposed too. In their literature, it said a garage for cars, now, in all honesty, it might have been the one in the Bronx? That alone will be good for a documentary but I would like to remain with what I think is broken here.

After 3 visits to SAGE (one in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn) and finally when the aloud me to see the unit. There was construction going on and I wonder when the garage will be ready. Last time I asked in my first interview in Manhattan about my car; "O you have a car? "Yes, I Can't do without yet with damages on my back from a fall from an Equestrian (horse) and other things" "Will have to figure that out later. I was very busy and they were getting all my papers to see if I qualify.  Months later around November, I got a phone call by the same person who seems very human and caring who said I qualify. All I had to do now before getting the apartment was to go to an NYCHA interview. NYCHA? Are those city Projects? "No this is SAGE running it and we will be there in the building but the land belongs to NYCHA so they have to certify you. I told her My lease expires in Feb2020 all this has to be lear way before and I have a one-bedroom and Will have to get rid of most of my stuff. Oh, sure they will call you soon.

I never got the call. I emailed Rosenda at MHANY, which was one of the first people who interviewed me. In two days after my email An appointment from NYCHA ...all right...but a warning, if I missed it like I did the first one they will get me off the list...A Lie and That is why I hate NYCHA, the way is managed and how they feel they can say whatever and nobody reprimands or teaches them to do better. I have an Apt that lets me know with a picture of the letter what is coming the next day. If they sent it may Tesla got it in his car up in space. I didn't.

Next time under the rain and hot weather(humid) I was there at 11am the time-slotted.  They warn you not to bring kids and it will take at least 2 hrs. I wonder what do they do with you to take at least 2 hrs. There were only 3 documents to show. Two hrs later they call my number to see if I had the right information with me. That took less than 5 minutes.  Now they will call you by your name just wait.

Someone with a loose vertebra waited there until 4:15PM, that was me and I had tears on my eyes. But tried to be social and get involved in the ladies next to me. Some of them with babies and kids and the one who left their kids in the school were going crazy with the kids calling they were next. There were about 55 of us that show next. I said again, this is NYCHA! No humanity THEY MaKE FEEL YOU ARE BEGGING AND THEY ARE THE ONES THAT CAN SaVe YOU OR NOT (Which is true but the government should not act that way).  It was not the first time for those waiting.

This appointment was on Monday. On Friday I got a call for someone who works for Marla. I did not write her name since I  was not going to see her. I was going to see her boss Mals because she will be out for lunch. Marla is in charge there.

On Monday I was there at 2pm. A long trip and high tolls. I was 1 hr and a half early so I can see what was going on there on the construction and the neighbors. The building is surrounded on three sides by just Project, after project, old, old projects from NYCHA. The building had a nice cute plague with the rainbow colors. This building is very open with glass in many areas and a small entrance.
I made a comment when I came to see the apt., quick view no cams and no measurements..?? But I need to know what I can move and time is running out for me...sorry.

I made the comment, "this building seems to be made to keep people inside so they won't go out. You stay here until you die," I said smiling.No one argue and I got a yes. there is no garage and no street parking to speak off but there was no parking when I was working as Buyer for OHrbach's on W34 St and 5th Av. I found it. and only the name of the company helped me because it was respected.
Finally at 2pm. I go in give my name and the person behind the desk a security guard, a poor girl about 4 ft and 300LBs. I just lost a sister on New Years, she sat on the couch and died. She was fit. Her heart gave out. I felt this person was on its way and hoped she was seeing a good Doctor but mentally doubted it. She told me my name is not on the list. I can not go to see Marla instead I can collect my car and proceed to jail as in monopoly. A game it was and I already imagine I was going to lose. I ask the girl to get Marla and tell her I'm here for our Appointment. Marla said she can't because you can't sign the lease until you go to NYCHA and had been certified for the apt."Are you telling me Marla won't see me?" Yes, you have to go to NYCHA...bye will talk to Marla's boss.

I got a phone call from Marla and as soon I said I am that person, she started talking with no periods or commas. I stopped her. She told me to let her talk. I said to her I need to tell how it went for me and then she can speak for as long as she wishes. She let me talk on my phone. I told her what happened which has nothing to do with what she began talking to when she wanted her turn.

She said "I wanted to apologize" She also said,  because you have two names things got complicated, I thought Yes!  First, middle and last, actually 3. I thought,  I'm stupid you told her to say whatever she wanted!.  and she is. Finally, I said I saw no garage. She said No garage and difficult to find parking. I can't move without that or assign parking. Actually, I was not going to move there with her in charge and the Indians outside surrounding the building. I grew up on the lower east side. I've lived very well and not so great. Going back to the conditions I had growing up I would see it as a failure on my part. Going back as a looser from where I came from which? Marla got excited on that one and said "No, I WILL TELL THEM RIGHT AWAY you don't want the unit because there is no garage. I understand." I felt tempted to tell her no I'm not taking the apartment because you made an appointment for me and then would not see me. But, not having where to put my four round rubber legs means I can't go unless is a place where is not needed.

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