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MSCC’S HOMELESS AND HOUSING MEETING RECAP SEPTEMBER 5, 2023  

(MSCC) Sharon Jasprizza, Posted: October 2, 2023 Event Date: September 5, 2023

SUMMARY

Vittoria Fariello. Coalition for 100% Affordable Housing 5 WORLD TRADE CENTER (5 WTC). Bennett Reinhardt, Open Hearts Initiative, The increased xenophobic and exclusionary rhetoric, and protests against asylum seekers. Alex Yong, WSNA NYC, Member of the End Apartment Warehousing Coalition, SUCCESSFUL 7A’S gives remedies to tenants who are experiencing threats to safety, health and or life.

CHAIR: John Mudd

POLICY MEETING UPDATES

There were no policy meeting updates.

AUGUST HIGHLIGHTS

  • John Mudd, MSCC, shared MSCC’s resources and services at the National Health Center Week at Ryan Chelsea Clinton on Friday, August 11, 2023. The /week was organized by Carla Roussos, B.Sc., Community Relations/AmeriCorps Program Coordinator for Ryan Chelsea Clinton
  • In August, John Mudd, MSCC, and Emma Villanueva, the Program Director at Hudson Family Residence, worked on developing a relationship between MSCC and the Hudson Family Residence to assist families experiencing homelessness.  The Residence is a 100-unit family-with-children shelter serving families ranging from pregnant mothers to infants, and teenagers.  Emma will be speaking at the next October Homeless and Housing Committee Meeting
  • Late in August, John Mudd, MSCC, and Susan Numeroff, MSCC, began working with farmers at Union Square to donate fresh food leftovers from their market days to people in shelters and those without access to healthy, unprocessed food. One of the highlights was the collection of 150lb of fresh food, delivered to The Dwelling Place, where the leftovers were prepared for its residents to share and enjoy a very special Friday night dinner.
  • MSCC joined a large coalition two years ago to fight for a new Penn Station for all New Yorkers and is happy to announce another step toward this when, on August 28, 2023, the NYC Council’s Committee on Land Use voted on a Special Permit for Madison Square Garden. Click here to view the archived recording on the Council’s YouTube channel. Sally Greenspan, President of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA), reported that “CCBA’s longtime position has been for Madison Square Garden to move from its current location to make way for a state-of-the-art transit hub. In keeping with this long-term goal, CCBA has been focused on a new special operating permit for no longer than three years. On Monday, August 28, 2023, the vote allowed for a 5-year renewal. This was a great outcome considering the number of advocates for a 10-year renewal and others supporting a renewal in perpetuity. Our Council Member, Erik Bottcher, is to be commended for his commitment to public infrastructure. CCBA knows that the Council Member was under enormous political pressure from the city and state to vote for a much longer term. The 5-year renewal is a good compromise to move the planning process forward.” https://chelseacommunitynews.com/2023/08/31/guest-opinions-three-speak-out-about-msg-and-more/

SPECIAL INTRODUCTION(S) AND OR UPDATES: 

John Mudd, MSCC

  • MSCC is holding its Twilight Evening Garden Party on Thursday, September 28, from 5.00 PM – 8.00 PM. The flyer is in all the MSCC newsletters for more details. All are welcome, and service providers are welcome to set up tables with information and services
  • MSCC is planning a Rallyto highlight the inequities and destructive policies. Locations: Midtown near Port Authority, Hudson Yards, NYCHA, Penn Station
  • MSCC is planning three forums on housing, health and more before the end of 2023. Please email John with your interest and participation details either as a panel,  guest speaker and for other details

Vittoria Fariello. Coalition for 100% Affordable Housing 5 WORLD TRADE CENTER (5 WTC), vittoria@vittorianc.com

  • 5WTC was the last to be designated at the World Trade Center site. An 80-story tower with luxury apartments was to be built on this public land.  The community was outraged. The first offering was 25 % affordable housing,and the  5WTC coalition was formed to push for 100% affordable housing. So far, 5WTC has secured more, but not the desired 100% and also a decrease in the AMI threshold i.,e. 400 units with deep affordability
  • Another concession was to increase the number of affordable units. We are working with Congressman Dan Goldman to secure these funds which were allocated to housing. There is hope for 50% affordable, which is another 600 units. $30 million has already been dedicated to this site and should be used for affordability. 
  • Lower Manhattan has lost more affordable units than anywhere else. Add to this the privatization of NYCHA and the consequential loss of more housing. Three large apartment blocks have been lost and need to be replaced
  • 2WTC has not yet been built. The coalition will continue to fight for more affordable housing
  • Lower Manhattan is a rich resource community and needs affordable housing

DISCUSSION/ACTIONS

  • John Mudd, MSCC, referred to the Vornado and the Penn Station development, where housing will be demolished and replaced with a “Hudson Yards” development for commercial real estate and luxury housing
  • Vittoria Fariello. 5 WTC, it is important to move real estate money out of politics.Eg Silverstein gave around $200,000 to Hochul’s campaign

Bennett Reinhardt, Open Hearts Initiative, bennett@openheartsinitiative.org

  • The increased xenophobic and exclusionary rhetoric and protests against asylum seekers and their emergency shelters in NYC are a concern. The recent Mayor’s administration  60-day request, requires asylum-seekers to vacate their shelters and find alternative accommodation
  • Open Hearts has started a social media chain of support to create a message the city is a community working together to take care of asylum seekers  and form community together
  • Join Open Hearts on their social media chain of support at https://www.openheartsinitiative.org/stopthe60daynotices.

DISCUSSION/ACTIONS

  • John Mudd, MSCC, discussed the possibility of continuing this discussion at a later time

Matthew Robinson, Chelsea Community Member

  • Followed the Penn Station Development and the developers involved. People are not looking at the big picture regarding funding for the Port Authority, new tunnels and other infrastructure needed
  • Thru running is doing with changes in tracks

DISCUSSION/ACTIONS

  • John Mudd, MSCC, asked Mathew to be involved with the work MSCC is doing regarding Penn Station development

Katy Lasell, Right To Counsel NYC, katy@righttocounselnyc.org, 617 645 5122

  • Expanding the right to eviction representation across the State and for everyone to have this right
  • Motivating State support for the Right to Counsel Bill by contacting Community Boards, providing education for communities. 

DISCUSSION/ACTIONS

  • Email Katy to be involved in actions, direct involvement, and to build direct relationships with elected officials

The 7A

Alex Yong, WSNA NYC, Member of the End Apartment Warehousing Coalition, alex.yong.nyc@gmail.com

  • John Mudd, MSCC, referred to Alex’s slides due to Alex’s poor audio.The Slides are found here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1diWplFGvC0ZFYQHo8C-Q8CrK2R8gJlPs_ew5i09XmHI/edit?usp=sharing
  • SLIDE 3: SUCCESSFUL 7A’S give remedies to tenants who are experiencing threats to safety, health and or life, because of bad building conditions. At the trial, landlords will try to tell the housing court the dangerous conditions were remedied and, therefore no longer exist. Or landlords can say tenants refused to give physical access. Or landlords can say tenants failed to get a 33% quorum (which means one-third of tenants need to consent to a 7A petition for it to be recognized by the housing court)
  • The slides articulate SLUM LORD’s obligations under 7A and the commitments required
  • 7A law is imperfect and more changes are needed to improve on 7A
  • TDSHA stands for Tenant Dignity and Safe Housing Act
  • Under a Tenant Association: Citation (*with*  §  silcrow § ) which says *tenants have protection against eviction for a year if you start a tenant association.* (source is BrickUnderground.com) 
  • The 7A is an underutilized tool. An average of 23 petitions were filed in housing court annually between 2016-19, yet the Community Service Society of New York estimates 10,000 chronically distressed buildings[sic] in NYC representing[sic] over 115,000 units and 300,000 individuals

DISCUSSION/ACTIONS

  • Matthew Robinson, a Chelsea Community Member, spoke about the engineering issues that needed to be considered
  • John Mudd, MSCC, will follow up further with this topic at the next October meeting
  • Luana Green asks if7A applies to the NYCHA situation; if not, then it needs oversight because it has not managed its funding and, as a result, is now outsourcing, and consequently, private developers are building luxury housing rather than affordable and supportive housing. Possibly, a legal suit is necessary
  • Alex Yong, WSNA NYC, 7A applies to private landlords only
  • John Mudd. MSCC, will follow Luana’s question regarding a lawsuit about the misuse of NYCHA funds with Arthur Schwartz
  • Pete Diaz, a Community Member, said human resources for 7A must be reviewed as people become quickly overwhelmed because it is difficult to find workers to do the work. The Pandemic did not help and increased the complexity. It’s hard to find the right people to do the job. Different specialists are needed: sheetrock drywall, plumbing, electrical, etc., and it’s hard to find someone with all specialties. Another problem is that people are not paid on time and hence, people need to move on because they have families to feed and thus will find work elsewhere
  • John Mudd, MSCC,expertise is needed behind the 7A management team

CHATBOX

  • Natasha Florentino, Documentary Film Maker (the privatization of public housing in the USA). There is a way for NYCHA residents to take over their own developments. It’s called resident management. It’s controversial. But it is a right and possibility for public housing residents. Residents have the right to form their own management and run their own developments. There have been a couple examples of this in the history of public housing. Probably the most notable one is from Chicago. A documentary was made about it a long time ago. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPdv8ObBO7I

PUBLIC CONCERNS

Guadalupe Fernandez Soberon, Community Member

  • Outlined the termination of her housing voucher in 2022 after her partner’s death. Laurie Hardjowirogo from Erik Bottcher’s Office advised Guadalupe to visit the CityFHEPS – HRA office on 109 E 16th St, New York, 10003, with the documents required. CityFHEPS were sympathetic and assured Guadalupe that everything would be taken care of. CityFHEPS rectified the problem and posted the new vouchers to Guadalupe the following week.  Guadalupe advises others to follow the same path to achieve success

Tamara Felix, Manhattan Outreach Consortium, Community Affairs Coordinator,Tamara.felix@cucs.org

  • Email Tamara if you or others have housing concerns

ANNOUNCEMENTS / EVENT

  • Street Sheets: https://www.ncsinc.org/street-sheets
  • John Mudd, MSCC, The MSCC Twilight Garden Party is on Thursday September 28, see the flyer in the MSCC newsletters
  • Luana Green spoke about the Rally against the NYCHA demolition and invited people to attend. It is being held in front of The Fulton Senior Center at 5.30 PM, Wednesday, September 6, 2023
  • Natasha Florentino, Documentary Film Maker (the privatization of public housing in the USA). The Community Board meeting is this Thursday, September 7. Please attend. The link was shared but was not in the chatbox

NEXT Meeting Homeless and Housing Meeting: 9:30 AM Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023. Always the 1st Tuesday of every month 

Contact hello@midtownsouthcc.org or john.mudd@usa.net for more information and Zoom invitations.