Critics accuse Harlem housing provider of mismanagement

February 23, 2014 12:00PM

 A financially troubled, and politically connected Harlem affordable housing provider is set to receive a windfall of millions to pay off its debt, but critics say that the money should go to repairs.

The Greater Harlem Housing Development Corp. — an offshoot of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce — is selling a vacant lot for $1.2 million and will receive $2 million more in the form of a forgivable loan from the city. But critics doubt that the money will improve the quality of life in the organization’s 117 units of affordable housing, according to the New York Post.

“The city cannot just continue to give away money to slumlords who have no intention of preserving the affordable housing they already have,” Jaron Benjamin, executive director of Metropolitan Council on Housing, said. “I don’t think they can be trusted anymore.”

The organization plans to payoff creditors such as Con Ed, which won a $172,166 court judgment for back bills in 2008, a supply company it owes $9,596, and its law firm, which it owes $103,257.

Meanwhile tenants complain of atrocious living conditions, such as non-functioning kitchens and windows that will not open or close.

The Development Corp.’s 13 buildings currently have 650 violations, according to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. [NYP]Christopher Cameron