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Elected Officials Announce Formation of Working Group to Address Full Capital Needs for NYCHA's Chelsea Developments

October 10, 2019

Mayor de Blasio, Congressman Nadler, Speaker Johnson, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Comptroller Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Brewer, State Senators Hoylman and Jackson, Assembly Member Gottfried, and agency officials alongside NYCHA residents and housing practitioners, will convene for ten weeks to address $344M in need for NYCHA Developments

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio, Congressman Nadler, Speaker Johnson, Public Advocate Williams, Comptroller Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Brewer, Senator Hoylman, Senator Jackson and Assembly Member Gottfried today announced the creation of a working group to address the future of the Fulton Houses, Elliot-Chelsea, and Chelsea Addition NYCHA developments. These developments face a capital deficit of $344 million to reach a state of good repair. Without action, residents’ housing quality will continue to deteriorate.

“The residents at Fulton and Elliot Chelsea Houses have waited a long time for full, gut renovations. We now have an opportunity to undo decades of neglect, and we have to take it immediately. This working group will ensure that the plan to improve these developments meets all of the residents’ needs, because they deserve nothing less,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"Nearly 5,000 residents live in NYCHA’s Chelsea Developments (Fulton, Chelsea-Elliot, and Chelsea Addition). We have been laser focused on preserving permanent affordability and delivering full repairs for every apartment. This requires bold action and we are pleased that NYCHA residents and our colleagues in government are coming together to finalize a solution,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "To the residents living in the Chelsea Developments, I want to encourage you to attend the open Working Group sessions to voice your thoughts and concerns to ensure that we land on a plan a set of tenant protections that meet your needs."

 “NYCHA residents know their developments and communities best and need to have a real voice in determining their future,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “We cannot stand by while residents are trapped in their homes without elevators or wait while another winter goes by without heat and hot water. I’m pleased NYCHA and the administration have agreed to come to the table to engage in a meaningful, detailed discussion to craft a plan that works for the residents of Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea Houses.”

“My neighbors who live in Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea Houses deserve better than the current state of their buildings and we all agree that we must act to improve their homes and their lives,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “The process by which we get there must be a community driven and must allow NYCHA residents the opportunity to determine their own futures. This working group will help facilitate that. I look forward to working with my neighbors, my colleagues and advocates to build the consensus we need to get this critical project done right.”  

“As we move towards a final plan for NYCHA residents in Chelsea, we look forward to talking with residents and elected officials to be sure that everyone fully understands the capital need to repair these buildings and apartments, and that tenants participate in finding a solution that reflects their interests and secures this public housing for the future,” said Gregory Russ, NYCHA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

"Our city and state's approach to public housing has been failing for many years, and it is past time to correct these failures and improve the lives of nearly half a million people living in NYCHA. My office and I will be glad to work with our partners in government and with the residents of NYCHA toward meaningful solutions – creating change with people, not imposing actions on them," said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

“The voices of NYCHA residents must always be front and center in any conversation about improving and preserving the homes they live in. Restoring our public housing is about restoring fairness to hundreds of thousands of working New Yorkers – and it’s more important than ever that we roll up our sleeves, come together, and work to deliver meaningful change,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “I look forward to working hand-in-hand with the community and tenant leaders on solutions that provide tenants with the safe and decent housing they deserve.”

“The need to improve the living conditions in NYCHA is vital, and Fulton Houses can help set the tone for 325 other campuses across the City,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m pleased to hear that the Mayor’s Office has agreed to come to the table to develop a plan for Fulton Houses that serves its tenants as well as the community. This stakeholder-led process will help us figure out how to best improve the quality of life for tenants in Fulton and Chelsea-Elliot. We need to evaluate all options on the table; we need to get this right.”

"The future of Fulton Houses, Chelsea-Elliot Houses, and the Chelsea Addition can only be determined in lockstep with the residents themselves,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “This working group is a chance for the City to engage in a community-driven process to address NYCHA's dire infrastructure needs, while preserving our public housing for future generations of New Yorkers. I look forward to continuing to advocate for my constituents on this important issue."

“This working group represents an opportunity for us to expand the set of options on the table to close the capital needs gap at these NYCHA developments. More importantly, it gives us the chance to listen to residents carefully. They know best what they need, and we will do well to heed their voices,” said State Senator Robert Jackson, who represents half of Elliot Houses and the Chelsea Addition.

"The working group will give NYCHA residents an effective voice in determining the future of their homes," said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried.  "The only way forward to a plan that best addresses the dire state of these developments is to make sure the residents who know their building's needs are listened to.  The working group must make sure that happens and the needed work gets going."

Working Group

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) planned to issue a Request for Proposals for a project at Fulton Houses in October.  Local elected officials and tenants raised concerns about the plan and called for more community input. Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA agreed to their call to form this working group, which will gather residents from Fulton Houses, and Elliot-Chelsea, and Chelsea Addition, along with other community stakeholders on how to best meet these needs of these developments.  The Working Group will discuss the funding crisis at NYCHA, evaluate all options for generating revenue for the Authority, and explore how these options could be implemented at the Chelsea developments.  The Working Group will also discuss the protections those programs provide for tenants, and hear ideas about other ways to guarantee that promises made to tenants are promises kept.  The Working Group will also facilitate several deeper public discussions with NYCHA residents in Chelsea, as well as with the broader community.

The working group will be facilitated by Hester Street.

Ultimately, the Working Group will make recommendations on approaches that are actionable by the City to meet the $344M capital need of Chelsea-area NYCHA developments as soon as possible.

“The Fulton Tenant Association is pleased that the Mayor’s Office and all other elected officials are giving the opportunity to the residents to be heard through this working group.  The reality is that Fulton Houses needs major capital improvements in order for it to habitable for the future.   These conversations give the opportunity for all to be a part of preserving public housing in New York City,” said Miguel Acevedo, President of the Fulton Houses Tenant Association.

“I believe this working group will be helpful to come with a plan that takes into consideration the quality of life of all tenants. We need to work together in order to start making changes immediately,” said Darlene Waters, President of the Elliot-Chelsea Houses Tenant Association.

The Working Group will launch later in October, and will be comprised of NYCHA residents, elected officials, community representatives and housing organizations including:

NYCHA Residents

  • A dozen residents from Fulton Houses, Elliot-Chelsea Houses and Chelsea Addition

Elected Officials

  • United States Representative Jerry Nadler
  • New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
  • New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
  • New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer
  • New York City Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
  • New York State Senator Brad Hoylman
  • New York State Senator Robert Jackson
  • New York Assembly Member Richard Gottfried

Community Representatives

  • Manhattan Community Board 4
  • Hudson Guild

Administration

  • New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development
  • New York City Housing Authority Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Housing Practitioners

  • Community Service Society
  • New York Housing Conference
  • Furman Center for Real Estate
  • Citizens Budget Commission 
  • The Legal Aid Society
  • Citizens Housing and Planning Council

The safety and vitality of Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea is essential in Chelsea. Hudson Guild has been part of these two developments since they opened, and we are a proud tenant and program partner of NYCHA. We look forward to being part of the planning for the future of Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea, and to a process that ensures long-term affordable housing, structural repairs to the buildings and meaningful tenant and public involvement in the decisions, said Ken Jockers, Executive Director of Hudson Guild

"The Community Service Society is pleased to be a resource for the NYCHA Working Group on the Chelsea developments. This is a precedent-setting move to develop a community-generated plan to restore and preserve our public housing,” said David R. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Service Society.

“We look forward to joining a productive conversation about how NYCHA can best improve quality of life for the residents of the Fulton Houses, Chelsea-Elliot Houses, and Chelsea Addition. Finding a timely solution to addressing the developments’ significant capital needs by improving management and better utilizing NYCHA’s assets will benefit thousands of public housing tenants and ensure that their deeply affordable housing units will be preserved for future generations,” Andrew Rein, President of the Citizens Budget Commission.

About the NYCHA 2.0 Plan

In December 2018, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced NYCHA 2.0, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to preserve public housing and ensure residents have the safe, decent, and affordable homes they deserve. The announcement included a commitment to create plans that include community input for any campus improvements. NYCHA 2.0 offers the Authority and residents three main tools to help drive much-needed money into public housing infrastructure citywide while safeguarding long-standing tenant rights and protections. The tools include:

  • Build to Preserve allows the City and NYCHA to build mixed-income housing on Authority-owned land while dedicating 100 percent of the proceeds to addressing the capital needs of the nearest developments.
  • With PACT to Preserve, at least 62,000 NYCHA apartments (home to approximately 140,000 people) will be completely renovated through public-private partnerships using HUD Section 8 conversion programs, including Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).
  • Transfer to Preserve helps generate new revenue by transferring a portion of NYCHA’s unused development rights, or “air rights.”

Altogether, funding generated by these tools – on top of the expected $8 billion in federal, State, and City capital funding – allows NYCHA to address nearly $24 billion in capital needs over the next decade, or up to 75 percent of the Authority’s $31.8 billion overall capital need. More information on both NYCHA 2.0 initiatives can be found here and here.

About NYCHA’s Proposed Conceptual Preservation Plan for Chelsea Developments

NYCHA Developments in the Chelsea neighborhood include Fulton Houses, Elliot-Chelsea Houses and Chelsea Addition, built in 1965, 1947, 1964, and 1968, respectively. Together, they are home to nearly 5,000 New Yorkers across 18 buildings, which need approximately $344 million in capital investment.

In spring 2019, NYCHA began conversations with residents about how to best use these tools to repair and preserve NYCHA developments in the Chelsea neighborhood as permanently affordable housing for current residents and future generations of New Yorkers. NYCHA’s proposed conceptual preservation plan for Fulton Houses, Chelsea-Elliot Houses and Chelsea Addition (“the Chelsea developments”) includes the construction of three new mixed-income buildings on the Fulton campus. Simultaneously, the Chelsea developments would convert to the more stable Section 8 funding through PACT. Construction would be phased so that no residents will be displaced: two 36-unit buildings would be demolished after a new building is built on the Fulton campus for the residents of those buildings, and those two buildings would then be replaced with larger new buildings. All tenants of those two buildings would be moved into new modernized units in the first new building before any NYCHA building is demolished. Under the proposed plan, a Tenants’ Bill of Rights, negotiated with tenants’ representatives, would ensure that all residents’ tenancy rights remain the same.

The conceptual preservation plan would generate comprehensive improvements, which are expected to include, but are not limited to structural repairs to roofs and windows; mechanical repairs to heating systems and elevators; apartment repairs, such as renovated kitchens and bathrooms; security enhancements, such as cameras and improved lighting; and renovated grounds.

To date, NYCHA has conducted door-to-door canvassing, small workshops and a community-wide meeting at Fulton Houses, as well as resident tours to Ocean Bay Apartments -- the first completed RAD development. More about this resident engagement is available here.

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