Knickerbocker Village tenants fight to stay in larger apartments

August 26, 2013 06:09PM

A group of low-income Knickerbocker Plaza tenants are fighting against efforts by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to move them into smaller units in the same complex.

Tenants, according to the policy change, will have to either downsize to smaller, less expensive units or shell out additional cash for their comparatively spacious ones.

HPD, which administers 37,468 Section 8 vouchers in the city, is sorting through a $35 million budget shortfall resulting from the federal sequestration and, according to the New York Observer, made the policy change in an effort to stretch funds as far as possible.

“We are trying to keep our existing tenants housed, but given the magnitude of cuts to our funding we’ve had to implement measures that require everybody to make some sacrifice so that nobody risks losing their Section 8 benefit,” a HPD spokesperson told New York Press last week.

And a major concern for tenants, according to Jessica Lappin, City Council member and candidate for Manhattan borough president, the details of how residents will be moved from A to B — and who will pay for the cost of moving — has yet to be property addressed.

“It’s outrageous that the city is forcing frail and elderly New Yorkers to leave their homes,” Lappin wrote in a release about the downsizing. “And there are too many unanswered questions. Who will help elderly tenants move? When will they have to leave? How many residents will be affected? There’s been almost zero public outreach and transparency on this plan, and tenants deserve answers.” [NYO] Julie Strickland