Manhattan Together’s (MT) Public Housing Team works tirelessly to upgrade living conditions in public housing developments. We are winning much needed repairs apartment by apartment in developments across the borough as well as laying the ground work, in conjunction with our sister organizations, for a system wide revitalization of New York City’s Housing Authority (NYCHA).
MT is currently acting in a number of ways to ensure this is achieved.
Collecting and reporting maintenance issues: MT leaders who live and work in NYCHA have struggled for years to secure repairs in apartments for issues that range from very serious to less serious. Tenants schedule appointments and workers do not come, they call multiple times for repairs and are given a date years in the future.
MT leaders act by collecting information directly from tenants who have struggled to get repairs and then pass that information directly to the Borough Property Manager. Every four to six months, a team from MT sits down with the Borough Property Manager and goes through a list of apartments in dire need of repairs.
Leaders win commitments for repairs during these meetings and then follow up with residents to make sure the repairs are done. In this way, MT has won thousands of repairs in apartments across the borough.
Improving the system to transfer seniors out of their housing: NYCHA recently stepped up efforts to move seniors from their under occupied apartments to smaller units. NYCHA efforts have been heavy handed and threatening to tenants.
MT leaders who received the “under occupancy” letters have organized tenant meetings with other affected building residents to be briefed by MT allied lawyers on tenants’ legal rights and to think and respond collectively to NYCHA about how to improve the “under occupancy transfer” process overall.
Focusing on safety improvements: MT leaders living and working in NYCHA are winning NYPD response to specific safety concerns inside of buildings.
MT leaders collect information anonymously from NYCHA tenants and then meet directly with precinct Commanding Officers to pass the information along and secure commitments from the Commanding Officers to address the concerns.
This strategy has won the closure of active drug sites, installation of security cameras inside of buildings and increased police patrol inside of buildings.
Pushing for system wide change: While the efforts mentioned above have won immediate, real improvements in the lives of thousands of public housing tenants, both members of MT and not, leaders feel that system wide change is the only way to ensure long lasting improvements.
MT’s goal is to win system wide improvements that ensure NYCHA tenants are living in safe, well maintained housing and that the entire NYCHA housing stock is maintained to last.
MT is currently working with leaders and allies to develop a strategy that would allow for this goal to be met.