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For immediate release: Monday, January 30th, 2023
What: Coney Island NYCHA Tenants Protest Privatization, Release Petition
Where: West 24th Street and Surf Avenue outside NYCHA Haber Houses, Coney Island, Brooklyn
When: 12:00pm on Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Contact: United Front Against Displacement, 646-450-3880, nogoNYC@riseup.net
On Sunday, February 5th, United Front Against Displacement (UFAD) will hold a protest against the privatization of NYCHA outside Haber Houses in Coney Island. Tenants from NYCHA developments across Coney Island will speak out against NYCHA’s privatization schemes and brazen attempts to intimidate tenants into accepting them.
In December, NYCHA tenants at Bernard Haber Houses learned about NYCHA’s plans to privatize all public housing in the city via the Public Housing Preservation Trust and PACT programs. Tenants wrote a petition against privatization and went to every door in their 3 buildings, and 210 residents signed the petition.
Haber Houses tenants know that privatization may lead to the loss of their homes. As the petition states: “The population of these houses ranges from 70 to 95 years old, many suffering from age related illnesses, the proposed changes cause suffering and undue stress to the elderly residents.”
Tenants have faced retaliation from the Haber Tenant Association and NYCHA management. Despite NYCHA’s claim that it cares about tenants’ opinions and right to organize, flyers posted around Haber Houses said it was illegitimate and dangerous for tenants to collect signatures on “a survey that has not been approved by NYCHA management.” Officials have refused to answer basic questions about privatization at NYCHA meetings, especially from non-English speakers.
Tenants have stood strong in the face of these illegal attempts to intimidate and silence them. A mass meeting organized by United Front Against Displacement on January 21st was attended by over 150 tenants from every Coney Island development. Despite the bitter cold, tenants gathered outside to learn about NYCHA’s privatization schemes, build ties, and plan how to resist this corporate takeover.
The private takeovers of NYCHA make things go from bad to worse. Human Rights Watch’s 98-page report “The Tenant Never Wins” describes how tenants are systematically displaced and disenfranchised in the process of privatization of NYCHA. At some privatized developments, the eviction rate was three times higher than the NYCHA average. Tenants in privatized buildings report substandard repairs which endanger their health and do not address longstanding maintenance issues.
NYCHA and politicians say that the Trust is an improvement over previous programs like PACT. They claim that developments will remain public, but the legislation clearly stipulates that developments can be taken over by banks and corporations.
The privatization of NYCHA is part of the government and developers’ plans to drive out low-income tenants and make Coney Island a resort destination for the rich. New luxury towers are springing up and proposals are being accepted for a casino.
NYCHA tenants across the city are linking up in the fight against privatization. Tenants in United Front Against Displacement in Manhattanville, Jackie Robinson, and Polo Grounds in Harlem have written petitions opposing privatization and confronted politicians and NYCHA at NYCHA PACT and Trust meetings. Coney Island tenants are not alone in this fight.
Today (January 30th, 2023), UFAD sent the petition to Mayor Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYCHA CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt, NYCHA Chair Gregory Russ, 47th District Councilmember Ari Kagan, 46th District Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, State Senator Jessica Spanton, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, and the Department of Health.
From the tenants of Haber Houses-Carey Gardens residing at 3018 West 24th Street, 3058 West 24th Street and 3031 West 25th Street
Coney Island, Brooklyn, 11224
We have received documents about NYCHA’s proposal to transfer residents of the Haber Houses from Section 9 to NYC Public Housing Preservation Trust or PACT with intent that buildings will undergo a Capital renovation.
The residents will be given a voucher and will be forced to find another residence, while our current residence will undergo a renovation. Currently there is a lack of clarity regarding this plan. There is no clear information for the time it will take for the Capital Renovation to complete or the housing NYCHA is offering as a temporary residence.
We undersigned below, are against this plan for the following reasons:
- Lack of Clarity of the timeline for the Capital Renovation Project
- Lack of information on available housing stock available for temporary relocation.
- Lack of clarity for the relocation process. Tenants are old and many suffering from age related illnesses and might find it difficult to find comparable housing
- Accessibility to banks, post offices, grocery stores, pharmacies and doctors.
- Safety of the temporary housing.
We undersigned residents of 3018 West 24th Street, 3058 West 24th Street and 3031 West 25th street, are against NYCHA plan and would like the agency officials to consider leaving these buildings under the current Section 9 plan. The population of these houses ranges from 70 to 95 years old many suffering from age related illnesses, the proposed changes cause suffering and undue stress to the elderly residents. Capital Renovation Projects seldom finish on time and on budget and due to lack of transparency we don’t wish to linger in uncertain conditions.
Tenants of Haber Houses-Carey Gardens residing at 3018 West 24th Street, 3058 West 24th Street and 3031 West 25th Street