NYU student newspaper publishes editorial critical of RAD, finding that the privatisation of public housing has been “proven to be a disaster for tenants in other states”

“NYCHA residents continue to be put in dangerous conditions.”

“As the city tries to put public housing in the hands of private landlords, the actual tenants amount to no more than an afterthought, even as they are being forced into unsafe conditions.”

NYU student newspaper published a courageous editorial by Asha Ramachandran in which she expressed criticism of RAD, finding that the privatisation of public housing has been “proven to be a disaster for tenants in other states.” Even though New York City faces a housing crisis, “only 3.7% of New York City’s $95 billion budget is allotted for housing.”

Excerpt :

What NYCHA desperately needs is billions of dollars in funding in the state budget specifically devoted to fixing public housing units and giving residents the protections that are long overdue. Organizations like Fight For NYCHA and The Legal Aid Society have organized and represented NYCHA tenants in court and enlisted city council members, and have held demonstrations and town halls trying to achieve this.

Recommended Reading

VIDEO : Harlem public housing residents forced to use fire hydrant after water main break left thousands of NYCHA residents without water

NYCHA officials set up a water station connected to fire hydrants, so Harlem residents could collect water to flush their toilets.

New York City Housing Authority officials blamed a water main break in East Harlem for a water outage that left approx. 3,000 Taft Houses public housing residents without water service, beginning on Sunday, and reportedly continuing into Tuesday morning.

The water outage forced Harlem residents to use one of two reported water stations connected to fire hydrants for water that had to be carried back to their apartments to use to flush their indoor plumbing. Video showed tenants using water jugs, pans, and bag-lined push carts as make shift containers to transport water indoors.

An inspection conducted by a member of Fight For NYCHA NYCHA on Tuesday morning did not reveal any streets flooded out or collapsed by a water main break. However, across the street from 1694 Madison Ave., the site of one such water station set-up, was a construction site, where a new luxury apartment building was going up. It is not known if any private landlords requested a shutting of water main service in order to connect that building to the area’s water main.

Daily News publishes editorial by Fight For NYCHA member

The caption to this photograph in the New York Daily News called Mayor Bill de Blasio a “Sellout” on NYCHA.

Bill de Blasio : Sellout on NYCHA ?
Bill de Blasio was called a "Sellout" on NYCHA by the Editorial Page of the New York Daily News.

RAD is a raw deal for NYCHA that we must refuse

The New York Daily News published a guest editorial by a Fight For NYCHA member, making a strong case why New Yorkers must reject plans by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) to expand on his use of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration programme that will put public housing into a nightmarish “public-private partnership.”

The editorial was notable for exposing the dangers of RAD, for revealing that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman put NYCHA residents at risk for losing Federal monitorship once their public housing apartment complexes undergo RAD conversion, and the need to stop RAD so that other leaders, such as U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07), can fight for the full-funding of NYCHA.

Recommended Reading

Brad Hoylman, enemy of the people, was improbably the “front face” of the NYCHA protest up in Albany

Brad Hoylman was up in Albany, with public housing residents as a backdrop, so he could say he was not in New York City for the public housing bloodbath.

Yesterday, the seemingly “front face” of the NYCHA protesters, who were bused up to Albany by a syndicate of nonprofit groups, was none other than State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea), the former General Counsel to the Partnership for New York City, itself a syndicate of corporate interests, which rivals the Real Estate Board of New York in subverting Government for big money donors in New York.

State Sen. Hoylman has been deceiving tenants into believing he’s on their side, when in reality he has never stopped working for the corrupt interests of Big Business. Last year, he folded all support for the pied-à-terre tax on non-primary residences with a market value of $5 million or more as soon as, you guessed it, REBNY’s lobbyists began to mount serious pressure against the tax. State Sen. Hoylman will never stand up to Big Business.

This year, Big Business interests are pressuring Mayor Bill de Blasio to end public housing as we know it, including in State Sen. Hoylman’s own district. And State Sen. Hoylman has not once denounced the mayor or the mayor’s plans. Like last year, Fight For NYCHA reasonably expect State Sen. Hoylman to put on a big show about how much he supports public causes, and then he will fold at the very last minute, like he always does.

This is a repeat of 2010, when State Sen. Hoylman, at that time then as chair of Manhattan Community Board 2, claimed that he supported saving St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, but then turned his back on the community when Partnership for New York City director (at that time then) Willaim Rudin began to call in mortgage notes from the public charity hospital, setting off a chain of events that led to the hospital’s bankruptcy and liquidation at pennies on the dollar.

Is it no coïncidence that, finally, on the same day when Mayor Bill de Blasio moves word of his rapid expansion of RAD conversions in Brooklyn and Manhattan, it would take place as State Sen. Hoylman was leading this charade up in Albany ?

It’s like that famous scene in the Godfather (1972) movie, when the main character Michael Corleone attended the baptism of Connie’s baby. As Michael was being made the godfather of the baby in a church service, his henchmen carried out assassinations so Corleone could seize power. Up in Albany, there was State Sen. Hoylman at the metaphorical alter. Meanwhilst, down in New York City, Mayor de Blasio, who, as REBNY’s henchman, was earnestly carrying out the hits on public housing.

Mayor’s NYCHA Working Group holds another meeting at Hudson Guild

RAD disparate impact discrimination

The resident meeting of the Mayor’s NYCHA Working Group was called after Fight For NYCHA announced its town hall meeting.

Fight For NYCHA protested outside of Hudson Guild as a resident meeting of the Mayor’s NYCHA Working Group took place inside on Thursday evening, Feb. 6.

The meeting did not discuss anything material, except that it was reportedly alluded to that no agreement has been reached on the RAD conversion of Fulton Houses, according to information obtained by Fight For NYCHA.

Another meeting of the Mayor’s NYCHA Working Group is expected to take place on Monday, Feb. 24, according to a source.

Updated People’s Budget passes at Fight For NYCHA town hall ; speakers included Michael Sussman, Lindsey Boylan, and Howie Hawkins

Lindsey Boylan, Howie Hawkins, and Michael Sussman

The People’s Budget was updated without any objection ; over $440 billion in readily-available funding, three ideas of which are legislation-ready ; monies can fully-fund public housing and new Government policy on justice and dignity.

Approx. 50 people attended the Fight For NYCHA town hall meeting at P.S. 33 on Wed., Feb. 5. At the meeting, participants heard a legal analysis of the plans by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) to continue to spread gentrification across the City. Civil rights attorney Michael Sussman addressed the audience by describing, in essence, what helped him win a lawsuit to overturn the unlawful rezoning of the Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan.

The town hall meeting was called so that New York City Housing Authority residents could weigh in on a proposal to update the People’s Budget with two line-items. The People’s Budget is a package of ideas to increase taxes on the wealthy and on corporations in order to fund new Government policy on housing, justice, and dignity for all New Yorkers. The two line items that were added were the estimated $19 billion cost for constructing Sunnyside Yards and H.R. 4546 – Public Housing Emergency Response Act, draft legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) that would provide $70 billion to fund capital repairs for public housing nationwide, of which $32 billion would be directed to NYCHA.

Speakers at the town hall meeting included Lindsey Boylan, a Congressional candidate for New York’s 10th Congressional District, and Howie Hawkins, the Green Party presidential primary candidate.

Attorney Michael Sussman said that the de Blasio administration cannot do whatever it wants to public housing. The impact of those decisions must be studied before they can be carried-out.

Michael Sussman
Famed civil rights attorney Michael Sussman addressed the Fight For NYCHA town hall meeting.

Lindsey Boylan is running for office to challenge the incumbent Congressional Representative, who has failed to show leadership to save public housing in New York’s 10th Congressional District.

Lindsey Boylan
Congressional candidate Lindsey Boylan addressed the Fight For NYCHA town hall meeting.

Green Party presidential primary candidate Howie Hawkins said that taxes must be increased on the wealthy to fully-fund public housing across the United States.

Howie Hawkins
Green Party presidential primary candidate Howie Hawkins addressed the Fight For NYCHA town hall meeting.

Recommended Reading

Source Documents

Next Fight For NYCHA Town Hall : Wednesday, Feb. 5 at P.S. 33

Important meeting of public housing residents in Chelsea.

The NYCHA preservation group, Fight For NYCHA, is holding its next town hall gathering to provide important updates.

The preliminary agenda has been released :

1/. Update about our lawsuit ;

2/. Update about the People’s Budget ; and

3/.  Legislation to provide funding to NYCHA.

A very special guest will address the town hall.

Date : Wed., Feb. 5, 2020

Time : 6:30 pm

Place : P.S. 33, Chelsea

R.S.V.P. : Fight For NYCHA Town Hall [Facebook]

NYCHA RAD lease reveals that tenants legally accept Section 8 apartments “as is,” potentially precluding complaints about conditions, compensation over injuries

Landlords argue that when tenants accepted apartments “as is,” tenants accept dangerous conditions on the property and are thus precluded from suing landlords over dangerous conditions.

After the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) canceled without any advance notice a 18 Dec. 2019, meeting between tenants of 572 Warren Street and their new RAD Landlord, NYCHA ultimately rescheduled that meeting for 21 Jan. 2020, at the Wyckoff Community Center in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

At last night’s meeting, NYCHA pro-RAD functionary Leroy Williams, who has run afoul of Government transparency advocates, conducted the meeting. Members of Fight For NYCHA were there and were able to obtain several documents that show for the first time that NYCHA considers RAD to be “partial privatization,” a term that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) had previously rejected. A representative of Arker Companies, the RAD Landlord, addressed the tenants.

RAD stands for Rental Assistance Demonstration, an Orwellian name given to an Obama administration housing program that turns public housing into one of those nightmarish “public-private partnerships.” RAD has been shown to lead to higher rents, an increased incidence of landlord harassment, and upward spikes in evictions.

Reference Documents

Most problematic is that the new RAD Lease that public housing residents are being forced to sign under duress of displacement strong-arms tenants into accepting the uninhabitable conditions of their apartments “as is.”

The Form of the RAD Lease negotiated by NYCHA and the Legal Aid Society contains language that bankers acting as lenders to RAD structured finance transactions had requested or required, according to one RAD Landlord. Whenever an “as is” provision such as this has been written into residential apartment leases, such language has been called an illegal attempt to waive the implied warranty of habitability.

NYCHA residents have been forced to live in uninhabitable apartments with non-working elevators, broken boilers, poisonous lead in drinking water and in household paint, leaks, and toxic mold. The latest crisis public housing residents face are the risks of RAD.

Given that NYCHA residents have been forced to live in public housing apartments that violated Federal regulations for physical condition standards, NYCHA is forcing tenants to accept express waivers of the implied warranty of habitability that case law establishes for residential apartment leases.

A 2015 discussion paper by Harvard Law School student Meirav Furth-Matzkin described “as is” language in residential leases as an example of an “unenforceable disclaimer of the warranty.”

According to the presentation at last night’s meeting at the Wyckoff Community Center, a representative of the new RAD Landlord for 572 Warren Street admitted that NYCHA worked in conjunction with the Legal Aid Society to draft the Form of the RAD Lease, adding that some of the language was requested or required by the RAD bankers acting as lenders to the structured finance transaction.

Rent hikes coming in six months.

An agent of the RAD Landlord also mentioned that the RAD conversion of 572 Warren Street is expected to take place in February 2020. Generally, public housing tenants get recertified for a new lease every 12 months. During recertification, the local public housing authority audits residents’ income in order to claim 30 per cent. of residents’ income as rent. However, the new RAD Landlord at 572 Warren Street is expected to begin recertification process only six months into the RAD conversion, meaning tenants face an accelerated rent increase in 2020.

Defenders of RAD conversions have long claimed that RAD Landlords only profit from tax credit provided for in structured finance transactions. Critics of RAD point to the accelerated rent increases coming to 572 Warren Street residents as an example of RAD Landlords seeking to profit from rent increases extracted from residents living on fixed incomes or very low incomes. Tenants also face a phase-out of services or utilities, which will transfer opportunity costs or expenses directly to residents, thus adding to their rent burden.

There is no substitute for public housing !

IN THE ZONE — Manhattan Institute: De Blasio housing program has not lived up to promise, by POLITICO’s Janaki Chadha

A signature de Blasio administration policy that requires developers in rezoned areas to build affordable housing has failed to live up to its promise, a new Manhattan Institute report concludes. Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed the program, known as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, as a game-changer when it was approved by the City Council in 2016. The policy, which he promised during his 2013 mayoral campaign, was billed as an essential tool to spur the construction of apartments for low- and middle-income people citywide. But the report — authored by former Department of City Planning official Eric Kober — argues flaws in the design of the program have made it ineffective in much of the city without public subsidy, “limit[ing] its utility” without additional financial commitments to affluent areas in which the city has largely shied away from pursuing rezonings that would boost density. The policy was presented “as another way to finance affordable housing that would go beyond the public funding that has historically been available” but has not worked out that way, said Kober, now an adjunct fellow at the fiscally conservative think tank. It was estimated by the city to generate 12,000 affordable apartments over 10 years.

Bill de Blasio agrees to meeting with Fight For NYCHA, Fulton tenants, and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez

de Blasio agrees to meet with Fight For NYCHA

Bill de Blasio was confronted with two options to fully-fund NYCHA : (i). The People’s Budget, and (ii). the Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R.4546)

At Mayor Bill de Blasio’s disastrous NYCHA town hall in Chelsea on Thursday, 19 déc 2019, the Mayor was confronted with two options to fully-fund NYCHA : (i) the People’s Budget that proposes new taxes on the rich to fund new Government policy on housing, justice, and dignity for all New Yorkers, and (ii). U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s bill, the Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R.4546).

Fight For NYCHA have reached out to the office of U.S. Rep. Velázquez to schedule a meeting with Mayor de Blasio.

Read the People’s Budget