Tension rises as public housing gets private management

Some tenants fear RAD program too good to be true

New York /
Oct.October 21, 2020 09:00 AM
A view of the Wise Towers at 117 West 90th Street (Google Maps)

A view of the Wise Towers at 117 West 90th Street (Google Maps)

Another 1,718 apartments across 16 Manhattan complexes are moving from public to private management, but some tenants fear promised upgrades are too good to be true.

New paperwork has been sent out to residents as the shift moves forward, according to The City. The step is a vital one in converting the New York City Housing Authority developments under the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration program.

RAD moves apartment complexes’ funding to Section 8, a reliable subsidy that allows private real estate companies to borrow against future revenues and spend the money on upgrades. The public housing units retain their affordability standard: Tenants spend no more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

The renovations include new kitchens and bathrooms, boilers and security systems, and come with the prospect of better day-to-day management than the Housing Authority provides.

The efforts were first announced in November, but the de Blasio administration’s embrace of RAD traces back to the Obama years.

In total, the plans will move a third of NYCHA’s 176,000 apartments to private management.

Although some residents trust the process, others fear displacement.

“They are really afraid that this lease thing is bogus,” Ernesto Carrera, president of the tenant association at Wise Towers, an Upper West Side complex that is part of the Manhattan bundle, told The City.

However, the conversion process includes provisions to protect tenants, such as that all vacancies will be filled from the Section 8 waiting list and all NYCHA tenants have a right to stay with no additional screening.

[The City] — Sasha Jones


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