Brooklyn NYCHA Community Programs Receive $108k

By Oona Milliken |

During a breakfast meeting at the Red Hook Initiative on Friday, Oct. 25, the Brooklyn Borough President announced his decision to allocate $108,000 of discretionary funding to support community programs at NYCHA Tenants Associations in Brooklyn. Reynoso told a gathering of Brooklyn Tenant Association Presidents, alongside other public housing residents, over bagels, coffee and pastries that each NYCHA development would be given up to $3,000 to cover programming costs at their respective facilities. In total, 69 out of 74 housing developments will receive funding. In a press statement, Reynoso said he wished he could give more money but that it was a good start to give NYCHA community programs a boost.

“This is a very small amount of money, I know it is. I’m not saying I’m going to be changing the world with it, but this has never happened in Brooklyn,” Reynoso said in a press conference. “This is just a little breathing room here, give you guys a little more breathing room, gives you a couple of extra activities that you’re able to do throughout the year, closes the gap on maybe getting uniforms for kids in our basketball program, whatever it is, we’re going to have that.”

During the press conference, Reynoso thanked NYCHA for aiding the process and ensuring that the funding would come through. Leroy Williams, the Vice President of Resident Services for NYCHA, said the money has been allocated and is on its way to various developments across the borough. Williams also gave thanks to the TA Presidents for their hard work.

“I did make sure we already put in for the funds for you to receive it as soon as I got it, I made sure it was going out, so you should be receiving it very very shortly,” Williams said in the press conference. “I’ve been doing this type of work for a long time, and I just want to say, hats off to you. I know your jobs are hard.”

Antonio Reynoso during the press conference. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Borough President’s YoutTube.

Reynoso said that the Adams administration has disinvested from public housing, referring to recent budget cuts announced by the Mayor’s office in Sept. 2023. Reynoso thanked the TA President’s for dealing with the conditions of their developments and said he appreciated all the work that they did despite a shortage of funds.

“We’ve known the disinvestment and the neglect that years of the governorship and the mayoral team has made, which means we have undignified conditions in many of these places, folks dealing with mold, leaks,” Reynoso said. “In some cases, we have some NYCHA developments that went a whole winter without heat, the water goes out, the water is not able to get hot, gas.”

Francis Brown, TA President for Red Hook East, thanked Reynoso for the additional funds and urged Brooklynites to vote for the Borough President in the next election.

NYCHA residents and Tenant Association Presidents gathered for the breakfast press conference. Photo courtesy : Oona Milliken

“Last year, me and my husband, we spent $2,000 buying turkeys for the residents of Red Hook East, and we took it out of our pocket,” Brown said during the press conference. “This is for my community, it’s not about me, it’s about my community. I fight hard for my community.”

Arthur Warren, the Resident Association President for Long Island Baptist in East New York, said the funds could cover barbeques, tickets for children to go on outings as well as

“The money that we got from the borough president, we’re going to use that money to actually cater Thanksgiving for Long Island Baptist Housing, especially for the residents that don’t have gas,” Warren said during the press conference. “I give out turkeys every year. I can’t even give them turkeys, so that other building can get turkeys, and other people want to come, they will actually eat Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to the borough president.”

Flooding upgrades at NYCHA properties

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has announced a new joint program with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to improve drainage systems and reduce flooding at housing developments throughout the city.
Costing $29 million in total, the new projects are aimed at bringing climate resiliency to a number of vulnerable NYCHA properties, particularly those that are close to the water or other high-risk flooding locations.
“Funding these ongoing upgrades at NYCHA properties will improve the quality of life for residents while also reducing neighborhood flooding and any sewer overflow into local waterways,” said DEP commissioner Vincent Sapienza.
Work is set to begin immediately at a number of locations in Brooklyn, including Gowanus Houses, Boulevard Houses, Linden Houses, and Van Dyke Houses. Other locations throughout the borough are set to receive upgrades by the end of next year, including Kingsborough Houses and Seth Low Houses.
Typically, NYCHA is responsible for drainage at each of its properties. However, DEP saw the opportunity to capture significant stormwater across the portfolio of NYCHA properties, which would ease pressure on neighborhood sewers and reduce overflows into local waterways.
DEP engineers survey the sites and green infrastructure installations are designed to meet the specific needs. That could include permeable concrete sidewalks, subsurface infiltration chambers, and rain gardens, keeping water from entering the sewer system, where it could lead to flooding.
“Infrastructure needs don’t discriminate based on agency purview, and I hope the city continues to build on these types of partnerships as we work to tackle the growing challenges of climate change and water management,” said Borough President Eric Adams.

Queensbridge residents sue NYCHA

Residents of Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City filed a lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) this past week.
The suit seeks to force NYCHA to fix hazardous living conditions that plague the public housing complex, including asbestos, lead paint, mold, leaks, and backed-up trash shoots.
Residents argue the conditions became even worse during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent statewide stay-at-home orders. The suit also charges NYCHA with failing to conduct regular COVID-19 cleanings throughout the buildings in the largest public housing project in the Western Hemisphere.
“Any type of repairs that need to be done in my house, I have to wait forever to get them done,” said Marilyn Keller, a 58-year-old resident. “I put the ticket in, then NYCHA calls me back to tell me the date they are coming.
“So I prepare for the appointment, take everything out of the closet and cabinets, and ask for the day off from work but then they never come,” she continued. “They are a bunch of no-shows.”
Many of the tenants suing are older residents, including 72-year-old Pamela Wheeler.
“I am tired of living with mice, roaches, waterbugs, lack of heat, holes in my walls and sink, waterlogged and rotting cabinets, and many more repair issues that are a threat to my health and safety and an affront to my dignity,” Wheeler said. “NYCHA never repairs anything when I file a ticket, and it is so frustrating.”
The residents are working with the Justice For All Coalition, an organization that offers legal assistance to community groups in Astoria, Long Island City, and other parts of western Queens.
Residents then sought legal representation from Queens Legal Services, which filed the lawsuit on their behalf.
“For too long, NYCHA residents have suffered uninhabitable conditions due to neglect and lack of funding,” said Robert Sanderman, senior staff attorney at the Queens Legal Services Tenant Rights Coalition, who is representing the tenants. “There is little incentive for NYCHA to complete the repairs since the city will not record violations or pursue civil penalties against NYCHA for the numerous violations of the housing maintenance code.
“A great number of NYCHA residents are people of color who are also essential workers and are at high risk of health complications due to COVID-19,” he added. “These NYCHA residents are demanding systemic changes in the way they are neglected and ignored on account of their racial, social and economic status.”

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