CRDC Panel Sees City Reps, Residents, Advocates Discuss Future of Fulton Houses

(CHELSEA COMMUNITY NEWS) Donathan Salkaln, July 17, 2019

While the last of the June 20 thunderstorms had passed through New York City by the start of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club’s monthly community meeting at Hudson Guild’s Elliott Center, a downpour of passion continued to pound the Chelsea community.

The night’s panel program, called NYCHA’s Fulton Housing Debate, brought together a full house of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and Fulton House leaders, residents, and housing activists, along with club members and guests. The event gave attendees the opportunity to fully voice their concerns, some of which included a clash of classes, with the rich and their money consuming Chelsea, just doors away from working class residents of Fulton Houses, fighting for their existence.

NYCHA’s plan, under the approval of Mayor Bill de Blasio, includes shifting residents of Fulton Houses from Section 9 to Section 8 privatized vouchers, moving NYCHA operations and maintenance to private landlords by way of Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), build two towers of 70% market-rate units and 30% affordable units that will rise from the combined footprints of two leveled Fulton Houses buildings, and, possibly, two Fulton Houses parking lots—and also sell air rights to a developer, who plans to build a tower at the location of “The Park” restaurant (on 10th Ave. btw. W. 17th & 18th Sts.). The plan guarantees the residents of the two demolished Fulton Houses relocation to a new building built on the footprint of a recently opened water park. The plan will also renovate all units. Among the many new rules in the RAD Handbook is a “rightsizing” clause that allows moving Fulton’s tenants to smaller or larger units, according to their current family size, in order to maximize affordable housing.