2011-12-14 / Features

Show Of Opposition To NYCHA Apartment Downsizing


(L. to r.); Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblymember Michael Simanowitz, Assemblymember Grace Meng and Councilmember James Gennaro stood united with elderly residents of Pomonok Houses in protest of the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) policy that they must give up the apartments they have lived in for decades for smaller units. (L. to r.); Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblymember Michael Simanowitz, Assemblymember Grace Meng and Councilmember James Gennaro stood united with elderly residents of Pomonok Houses in protest of the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) policy that they must give up the apartments they have lived in for decades for smaller units. Assemblymembers Michael Simanowitz and Grace Meng, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Councilmembers James Gennaro and Karen Koslowitz, and other Queens elected officials stood united with elderly residents of Pomonok Houses in protest of the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) policy that they must give up the apartments they have lived in for decades for smaller units.

Seniors who are affected by the policy were notified by letter that they must make an appointment at their housing office to fill out a transfer request form. Failure to do so would be a violation of their lease and the risk of dire consequences are implied.

“This represents the complete failure of NYCHA management to fully understand the people who live here,” said Simanowitz. “These residents have proudly called Pomonok home their entire lives. They raised their families here, paid their rent on time, and built this development into the crown jewel of the NYCHA system. Additionally, many of these individuals cannot afford a move especially when NYCHA is offering a paltry $350 rent credit. It is unrealistic to believe that someone living on a fixed income can afford a move especially when moving companies typically charge thousands of dollars. This implementation of the downsizing policy is cruel and inhumane. While I understand that there is a housing shortage and families need larger living space, NYCHA should find a way to provide better incentives to those who have the larger units and encourage those who have the ability to move. They cannot use these threatening practices on our most vulnerable citizens at a time in their lives when uprooting them would have severe implications on their health and well being.”

There are NYCHA regulations that allow for certain exemptions to the downsizing policy. If you have large medical equipment such as a hospital bed that necessitates an extra bedroom, you may be exempt. If you have a life threatening medical condition that can be documented, you may be exempt. To receive assistance, people can contact Simanowitz’s district office at 718-969-1508. The East River Development Alliance (ERDA) has contracted with the Pomonok Neighborhood Center to provide housing assistance for those who need it. You can schedule an appointment by calling ERDA at 718-784-0877.

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