Sen. Schumer teams up with U.S. Rep. Velázquez to renew the New Deal promise of public housing

At a press conference Sunday, Majority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez proposed to more than double President Biden’s funding of public housing.

“For too long, public housing has been neglected, left to get worse, and we’re not going to stand for it anymore,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said during a press conference, announcing a more than doubling of proposed infrastructure spending directed towards the Nation’s public housing stock. The remarks, according to a report broadcast by the WCBS 880 AM Radio station, included a promise that, of the newly proposed funding that was estimated to be in excess of $80 billion, at least half of that would be earmarked for New York — “enough to eliminate the estimated repair backlog for the New York City Housing Authority.”

Fight For NYCHA was on-hand for the press conference. In prepared remarks published by Fight For NYCHA, the group recognised Sen. Schumer and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07).  “Fight For NYCHA are very grateful to Leader Schumer for bringing us together to acknowledge the important role that public housing plays in our society. We must save Section 9 housing as it exists,” adding that, “As we embark on a new progressive era, Leader Schumer and Rep. Velázquez are showing leadership by renewing the New Deal promise of public housing.” Special thanks were given to Fight For NYCHA’s lawyers, Michael Sussman and Thomas Hillgardner. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was thanked for launching the Federal investigation into the physical condition standards of NYCHA, which renewed urgency to repair public housing. Finally, U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III was thanked for the years he has spent overseeing NYCHA, attempting to keep the troubled public housing authority honest with its residents.

Resident leaders, including Claudia Perez and Melanie Aucello, called for an end to the use of RAD/PACT to finance public housing authorities.

Last week, Judge Pauley III ruled that the de Blasio administration was permitted to erode the protections of public housing residents, who received tenant protection vouchers following their conversion to RAD/PACT private sector landlords. The ruling revealed that, contrary to what Mayor de Blasio had been promising, tenants’ rights were not protected after RAD/PACT conversion, and that the use of the term tenant protection vouchers amounted to a mere Orwellian name to bamboozle public housing residents into accepting a scheme that facilitated the privatisation of strategic public housing assets.

Notes

  • The photograph of the press conference was first published by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and was shared here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright laws.

Judge Pauley ruled that NYCHA can exclude RAD/PACT residents from protections offered by the Revised Consent Decree in the Baez class action mold case

SDNY Judge William Pauley III ruled that the de Blasio administration can deny Baez case mold “protections” to NYCHA RAD PACT public housing residents receiving Section 8 Tenant Protection Vouchers

In a long, overdue ruling, U.S. District Court Jude William Pauley III issued an opinion, claiming that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) could exclude residents of New York City Housing Authority from receiving the benefits of the Revised Consent Decree in the Baez class action mold abatement case. The decree would have conferred benefits to mold abatement, like the removal of excess moisture, plumbing repairs, and roof fan replacements. As a consequence of the Court’s opinion, those benefits would be denied to public housing residents transferred to the private sector under the mayor’s privatisation schemes. The ruling represented an immediate win for Mayor de Blasio, who has long sought to end the New Deal promise of public housing by privatising City real property and by abandoning all obligations to public housing residents. Judge Pauley’s ruling provided that, should the parties fail to propose a new Consent Decree, they should be prepared to litigate the issue in Court.

The privatisation schemes, known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together, or PACT, transfer strategic public assets to private sector landlords, who siphon off rent monies formerly kept in the public sector of the U.S. economy that then get treated as profits kept by the private sector.

Former NYCHA Interim CEO and current 2021 Democratic Party mayoral primary candidate Kathryn Garcia described RAD/PACT to the New York City Congressional delegation in 2019 as offering public housing residents with “tenant protection vouchers,” according to a social media post of that time then. However, Judge Pauley’s ruling essentially admitted that residents of RAD/PACT-converted public housing developments will receive no protections under the Revised Consent Decree in the Baez class action mold abatement case. Members of Fight For NYCHA have accused former NYCHA Interim CEO Garcia, Mayor de Blasio, and current NYCHA CEO Greg Russ, and their enablers, such as Lucy Newman of the Legal Aid Society, of lying to residents when they claimed that residents’ rights would be “protected” under RAD/PACT.

Public housing residents face gross injustices as a consequence of RAD/PACT conversions. A core member of Fight For NYCHA published an editorial in the New York Daily News just last week, revealing many problems with Mayor de Blasio’s implementation of RAD/PACT. In motion practise, NYCHA admitted that they planned to end all obligations to public housing residents under their privatisation schemes. Next up would include residents of Fulton Houses and Elliott-Chelsea Houses, who surrendered to RAD/PACT conversion after resident leaders there splintered off from Fight For NYCHA and were recruited by unscrupulous political groups loyal to Mayor de Blasio.

In response to the onslaught of privatisation facing public housing in New York City, many politicians have continued to “green-wash” the dangers facing NYCHA public housing residents. Rather than focus on the economic and eviction risks from RAD/PACT conversions, politicians and their supporters, such as 2021 Democratic Party mayoral primary candidate Andrew Yang, have focused on making public housing apartment buildings more energy efficient or expanding composting facilities. This refocusing has deliberately obfuscated how Mayor de Blasio’s use of RAD/PACT put public housing residents in jeopardy of losing their housing. A significant number o the first residents to face RAD/PACT conversion at Ocean Bay Apartments in Far Rockaway, Queens, faced eviction.

The “green-washing” of NYCHA arguably began with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (WFP-NY 14), who blamed global warming on NYCHA public housing residents, even though for decades they have not received adequate heat or hot water during winter months and suffer from routine electrical brown-outs and suspended elevator service.

On the same day as Judge Pauley revealed that NYCHA’s Tenant Protection Vouchers offer no tenant protections, the NYPD deployed a robot dog to a public housing development converted under RAD/PACT.

Even as Judge Pauley admitted in his latest ruling in the Baez class action mold case, that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s promise of providing “Tenant Protection Vouchers” offered RAD/PACT residents no actual protections, the NYPD responded to 344 East 28th Street, a public housing apartment building that was part of the 2020 RAD/PACT Manhattan Bundle, with military grade equipment, including its controversial dystopian “robot dog.”

Robot Dog NYC NYCHA 2021 Black Mirror Becoming Reality

The NYPD’s response to a reported domestic disturbance included the use of military grade equipment. Under the politics of neoliberalism in control of the Government, there’s money to militarise the police, but no money to fully-fund NYCHA.

Days after the president of the resident association at 344 East 28th Street published a daring editorial, denouncing Mayor de Blasio’s RAD/PACT privatisation scheme for NYCHA public housing, the NYPD deployed a controversial $75,000 robotic dog in response to a reported domestic disturbance. The NYPD response included the assembly of  officers from its Technical Assistance Response Unit, or TARU, which reportedly command drones and robotic equipment.

The politicians running the Government have rejected the “Defund the Police” social movement and have requested to boost U.S. military spending, but they have merely offered pennies on the dollar for the backlog of repairs crippling the Nation’s public housing stock.

After two years of activism, Fight For NYCHA have continued to pressure for full-funding of the estimated $32 billion in backlog capital repairs for NYCHA public housing, which would render any further RAD/PACT conversions as unnecessary. The value of the backlog of repairs facing NYCHA have never been the subject of a Federal audit by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) has offered legislation that would provide $70 billion to pay for backlog capital repairs to public housing nation-wide, yet President Joseph Biden (D) has only reportedly promised to include $40 billion in his infrastructure bill. Some politicians are now making public demands that the infrastructure bill must raise its public housing allocation to the amount of U.S. Rep. Velázquez’s bill.

Source Document

EDITORIAL : We’re Not Getting the Truth About NYCHA

“So many untruths have been spread by NYCHA and the mayor.”

Melanie Aucello, the president of the resident association at a public housing apartment building in Kips Bay, Manhattan, has published an editorial about her experience with Rental Assistance Demonstration (“RAD”) and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (“PACT”).

It’s not a pretty picture.

RAD/PACT is a raw deal public housing residents can’t afford.

“Despite all the promises that RAD/PACT would be good for tenants, NYCHA forced on us new restrictive leases that had easier triggers for evictions and financial penalties for people with disabilities, such as higher electricity costs for charging wheelchairs.”

There are no guarantees with these public-private partnerships.

In her editorial, Ms. Aucello highlighted, amongst many issues, the fact that the media is not informing the public about the truth facing public housing residents. “Many in the press act as cheerleaders for RAD/PACT and another NYCHA plan known as the Blueprint,” Ms. Aucello wrote, adding that, “Combined, these plans will end public housing as we know it, and NYCHA has admitted in court that they plan to use these plans to abandon their obligations to residents.”

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Fight For NYCHA group filed an objection with HUD and HPD over NYCHA’s Environmental Review Record for Harlem River I and Harlem River II

The New York City Dept. of Housing and Preservation Development submitted an Environmental Review Record for NYCHA that glossed over environmental issues at Harlem River I and Harlem River II.

A member of the group, Fight For NYCHA, filed on Monday an objection with the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), arguing four (4) alternative reasons why the Environmental Review Record submitted by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”) as applicant on behalf of the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) should be rejected.

Under HUD regulations, an applicant can, on behalf of a public housing authority, claim an exception to the requirement that an Environmental Impact Statement or an Environmental Assessment be submitted for public housing developments undergoing changes due to the Rental Assistance Demonstration (“RAD”) scheme. Under RAD, the management of public housing developments can be transferred to private sector landlords, who would collect the rents and HUD subsidies. From those monies, the private sector landlords would pay for the back log of capital repairs that accrued due to decades of racist divestment of public housing.

Harlem River I and Harlem River II are public housing developments located in Manhattan. They have undergone RAD/PACT conversion. Part of the administrative process that would allow for the release of HUD funding to the private sector landlord taking over is the filing of an Environmental Review Record, which would identify the environmental issues with the site. The objection filed by Fight For NYCHA asks HUD to reject the Environmental Review Record and to stop the release of funds.

The first part of the objection alleges that :

  • The exception that HPD claimed for NYCHA was based on the incorrect claim that no extraordinary circumstances exist. NYCHA is at a turning point, and the disposition of public housing assets through RAD/PACT conversion promises to end public housing as we know it. These are extraordinary circumstances, and NYCHA was wrong to claim that no ordinary circumstances existed.
  • NYCHA suspended inspections during the Coronavirus pandemic, and that suspension has interfered with NYCHA’s ability to perform an environmental review and submit the Environmental Review Record.
  • Even if NYCHA was not required to prepare and submit a more detailed Environmental Impact Study or Environmental Assessment, the Environmental Review Record was defective, because NYCHA failed to consider HUD environmental standards when the sole environmental consideration disclosed in the Environmental Review Record was noise abatement.
  • The objection argues that what would normally be excluded activity (the repairs made through RAD/PACT) will certainly have a significant impact on residents. This would nullify the exception from preparing an Environmental Impact Study or an Environmental Assessment.

The second part of the objection alleges that NYCHA made omissions in the Environmental Review Record, such as the extraordinary circumstances faced by NYCHA, NYCHA’s suspension of inspections, NYCHA’s failure to fully-consider HUD’s environmental standards, and the effect of NYCHA’s suspension of in-person meetings. Furthermore, NYCHA deliberately down-played the circumstances, risks, and dangers of environmental conditions at Harlem River I and Harlem River II, including the presence of hazardous waste, water and steam mains, and flammable or combustible fuel tanks. Because NYCHA failed to conduct appropriate studies, NYCHA must reëvaluate the environmental conditions at Harlem River I and Harlem River II.

Because NYCHA did not appropriate study important environmental conditions, like hazardous waste, broken water or steam mains, and fuel storage tanks, these issues were never discussed with public housing residents.

The third reason the Environmental Review Record must be rejected is the failure to hold meetings for public housing residents.

  • NYCHA’s claim for an exception to having to prepare a more formal Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment meant that public housing residents were denied information about the horrific environmental conditions at Harlem River I and Harlem River II. If NYCHA did have any meetings, those meetings didn’t cover the true environmental conditions.  As a result, public housing residents were denied opportunities to review and discuss the true magnitude, risks, and dangers of the RAD/PACT construction that they face. Hazardous waste was found in two locations in the soil at Harlem River I and Harlem River II, and the possibility of having to replace broken water or steam mains and fuel storage tanks would certainly disturb the soil. At one location, the amount of hazard lead waste was estimated to be as large as 5,100 lbs.
  • Besides the environmental risks, NYCHA has never been transparent about its intention to end all of its obligations to public housing residents following RAD/PACT conversion. This has not been explained to public housing residents. What is more, NYCHA has not provided the kind of public discussion formats — for example, a Mayor’s Working Group — like was provided to residents of Fulton Houses prior to their selection as a site for a future RAD/PACT conversion. The unequal treatment under the law should be considered discriminatory and, as a result, unlawful.
  • If any meetings were held virtually, they should have been considered unlawful for having no basis in law and, in any case, defective, due to NYCHA’s inability to hold virtual meetings with any real integrity.

The final reason given that asks HUD to reject the Environmental Review Record has to do with the ULURP Process.

  • As NYCHA’s applicant, HPD is facing HUD in the request for the release of HUD’s funding. but HPD is a City Agency, and when City Agencies take the lead on real estate development projects, they take the lead on ULURP Process when they act as applicants. That’s according to the New York City Planning Commission. When looking to the City Charter, a ULURP Process must govern the disposition of City real property or urban renewal plans that RAD/PACT represent. However, HPD did not follow the ULURP Process for Harlem River I or Harlem River II.
  • The ULURP Process also calls for public meetings, but, as we know, NYCHA either did not hold public meetings, or else the virtual meetings NYCHA held had no basis in law or were defective.
  • As a result, HPD engaged in an unlawful process as NYCHA’s applicant.

For the foregoing reasons, HUD was asked to reject the Environmental Review Record and to reject the Request the Release of Funds for Harlem River I and Harlem River II.

Andrew Yang is a Class Enemy : He’s a Liar Liar Privatizer !

Andrew Yang is a political enemy of the working class.

Andrew Yang is a class enemy of working families, retirees, and people earning low incomes. Like a true neocon big tech honcho, he’s focused on cutting welfare during a pandemic and the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. He proposes a miserly universal basic income (“UBI”) plan that won’t be enough to pay for Obamacare premiums and your rent. Meeting healthcare and housing needs during a pandemic is critical. What is worse, Andrew Yang has intentionally stayed silent as Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) wrecks NYCHA public housing with the privatisation schemes known as RAD/PACT and the Blueprint.

Yang has also remained mum about the evictions happening after RAD/PACT conversions. We believe that fully-funding capital repairs at NYCHA without resorting to privatization remains a good-faith effort at making a deposit on reparations owed to POC after centuries of slavery and discrimination. Why is Andrew Yang so quiet ?

If we keep quiet about how horrible Andrew Yang is, there’ll be nothing of NYCHA left after Mayor de Blasio finishes his last year in office. This is where Andrew Yang truly reveals himself to be a class enemy : He’s permitting the plundering of strategic public assets — our public housing stock. We can’t afford Andrew Yang as our next mayor !

Andrew Yang is a Liar Liar Privatizer ! He wants to do away with housing vouchers. NYCHA residents MUST organize to save public housing.

VIDEO : Andrew Yang is a Liar Liar Privatizer

Public housing residents protested mayoral candidate Andrew Yang.

Public housing residents from multiple NYCHA apartment complexes turned out on Sunday to protest mayoral candidate Andrew Yang. He proposes a miserly universal basic income (“UBI”) plan that won’t be enough to pay for Obamacare premiums or your rent. What is worse, he plans to pay for his plan, in part, by “consolidating some welfare programs.” Amongst the social support that Mr. Yang would force recipients of his basic income to forego would include housing vouchers.

The New York Times has described his UBI plan as “a Trojan Horse” to shred the social safety net.

We can’t afford Andrew Yang as mayor !

Andrew Yang Liar Liar Privatizer. Public housing residents protest big tech honcho Andrew Yang.

Andrew Yang is keeping quiet, as Bill de Blasio wrecks NYCHA in his last year with RAD/PACT and the Blueprint

Andrew Yang is letting Bill de Blasio privatise NYCHA public housing with RAD/PACT and Blueprint. This is dangerous !

When tech industry titan Andrew Yang finally announced he was running for mayor, he had within his reach powerful political and public relations consultants. These people exert a great deal of influence over the media, who regularly reprint press releases sent to them by expensive consultants. These presstitutes, as they are called, have provided Yang with a bonanza of free media hits.

Yang can’t tell a bodega from a Whole Foods supermarket, and he often gives wrong subway directions. His handlers hope that if he creates the impression of a bumbling idiot, that voters will think that he’s harmless. But Yang is anything but harmless.

Yang has proposed cutting off housing vouchers and “consolidating some welfare programs,” and replace them with a Mickey Mouse universal basic income (“UBI”) plan that the New York Times called “a Trojan Horse” to shred the social safety net.

What most dangerous about Yang is that he’s intentionally staying silent as Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) wrecks NYCHA public housing with the privatisation schemes known as RAD/PACT and the Blueprint. NYCHA has gone into Court and admitted before U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III that NYCHA intends to end all obligations to providing public housing residents with safe and sanitary housing after RAD/PACT and Blueprint conversions. The threat that public housing residents face is imminent.

That Yang keeps quiet means he’s hoping Mayor de Blasio will finish off NYCHA in his last year in office, so there’s nothing left but RAD/PACT eviction notices for Yang to hand out, should he become the next mayor. We can’t allow this to happen !

Andrew Yang’s UBI plan is a Trojan Horse to shred the social safety net ; He’s a “Liar, Liar, Privatizer” !

Andrew Yang’s proposal for a $1,000 universial basic income comes with strings, like having to give up housing vouchers. His UBI plan is “a Trojan Horse” to shred the social safety net.

At our protest yesterday, public housing residents, housing activists, and members of Fight For NYCHA denounced Democratic Party primary candidate for New York City mayor, Andrew Yang. He has proposed a $1,000 Universal Basic Income (“UBI”) plan that has been attacked by critics.

Bryce Covert is an independent journalist and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. In an editorial published by the Times last week, Ms. Covert reported that Mr. Yang plans to pay for his UBI plan, in part, by “consolidating some welfare programs.” Amongst the social support that Mr. Yang would force recipients of his basic income to forego would include housing vouchers. This aspect of Mr. Yang’s plan is racist and classist. Based on this “trade-off” alone, we cannot afford Mr. Yang as mayor.

Not only do housing vouchers keep people in their homes, but they also cap tenants’ rent at 30% of their incomes, like those lucky enough to receive Section 8 rental assistance vouchers. Furthermore, people receiving Section 8 rental assistance vouchers also receive civil rights protections under the Fair Housing Act. No basic income should eliminate rent caps or deny recipients civil rights protections.

Based on the danger that Mr. Yang’s UBI plan represents, our protest called out Mr. Yang. We also noted how Mr. Yang had yet to denounce the plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) to sell-out NYCHA public housing with RAD/PACT and the Blueprint.

Andrew Yang is a liar, liar, privatizer !

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March to stop RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversions

NYCHA has admitted in Federal Court that they want to abandon their obligations to public housing residents after RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversions. This is unacceptable ! Please join our march to stop anymore privatisation of public housing.

We are planning a protest march to stop Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC) and NYCHA from abandoning their obligations to public housing residents after RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversion. It has been revealed in the Federal class-action Baez case that the de Blasio administration is using privatisation as an excuse to walk away from environmental protections and basic responsibilities they owe public housing residents. This is unacceptable ! Please join the social movement to save public housing and to fight for your civil rights ! We need your participation.

At our protest march, we will call-out politicians, who betrayed their campaign promises or continue the neglect.

Date : Sun., March 21, 2021

Time : 12 Noon (start-time)

Place : 344 E. 28th St., Manhattan

Accessibility : We meet outside of the front doors at 344 East 28th Street, Manhattan. Get ready to make noise and plan to march about 30 blocks. If you need transportation, we will try to arrange limited car pools by taxi. We can only pay for taxi service from what we can raise through our Go Fund Me for supplies expense. Please make a donation to support this march.

Rain Day : If it rains, we hold our march the following day — on Monday, Mar. 22 at 12 noon.

Fight For NYCHA filed amicus curiae application in Baez class action mold case

Civil rights attorney Michael Sussman, applied to U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III to accept Fight For NYCHA as amicus curiae in the Baez class action mold case.

After Plaintiffs in the Baez class action mold abatement case learned that the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, planned on using the disposition of public housing under the controversial programmes as an excuse to abandon NYCHA’s obligations to provide habitable living conditions to residents, issues about the controversial conversion programmes, known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together, or PACT, came to the fore in the class action case.

However, the Parties to the case, as will as their counsel, were unable to answer many questions before U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III during Oral Arguments over a motion filed by the Baez Plaintiffs to compel the application of the Revised Consent Decree in that case on public housing developments that NYCHA had converted under RAD/PACT. The motion papers also referenced the RAD/PACT conversion of the Manhattan Bundle, which included the public housing development located at 344 East 28th Street in Kips Bay, Manhattan. Plaintiffs’ and Defendant’s counsel attempted to speak to issues of RAD/PACT conversion, but the source of Federal rental assistance was not a selection factor in the Court’s certification of the class of residents represented by Plaintiffs’ counsel. Some members of Fight For NYCHA resident at 344 East 28th Street, and they were in the best position to offer critical information for the Court, but their interests were not properly represented during the motion practise before the Court, particularly since at least one member of Fight For NYCHA was a third party beneficiary of the Revised Consent Decree in Baez, which Defendant NYCHA was attempting to deny residents of RAD/PACT-converted housing.

The lack of adequate counsel to properly represent the interests of public housing residents following RAD/PACT conversions placed public housing residents in jeopardy, and that required the intervention of members of Fight For NYCHA, who were solely able to answer the Court’s questions about RAD/PACT. As a result, civil rights attorney Michael Sussman sought leave from the Court to submit a letter, providing information, answering questions that were before the Court, and promising further assistance with the Court’s permission.

The Parties in Baez complied with the Scheduling Order set by the Court to complete the submission of motion papers, and Fight For NYCHA’s letter, informally referred to as an amicus curiae, was submitted to the Court. The Parties await a decision by Judge Pauley III on Plaintiffs’ motion.

The amicus curiae was also seen as a required move by members of Fight For NYCHA, since many other groups which purport to be “NYCHA preservation groups,” like Movement School, refuse to challenge the privatisation of public housing by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC). That refusal has misled public housing residents into believing that Elected Officials are on their side. This disinformation has permitted politicians, like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14), who permits organising for Movement School out of her office like a nonprofit political arm, to exploit public housing residents out of political expediency. The political deception has been made worse by the attempts of some unscrupulous groups, like Justice For All Coälition, to offer low-impact methods, such as petitions, as viable forms of activism to save public housing, despite the urgency revealed in the Baez case, where facts were submitted to the Court that the de Blasio administration was acting to end all Section 9 public housing “soon” with dire implications for public housing residents.

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