HUD Official Speaks the Unspeakable: Selling The Projects

whitmanhouses1007.jpg
As we’ve mentioned before, rumors about the privatization of certain public housing projects in parts of rapidly gentrifying areas of Brooklyn have been circulating for a couple of years. Most recently, we wrote about the theory that the Ingersoll and Whitman Houses in Fort Greene were being emptied in anticipation of such a move; it’s also not hard to imagine something similar happening at the Farragut Houses, given their close proximity to Dumbo, the most expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn. Given what a politically and emotionally charged issue this is, however, no public official has ever said anything in its favor, as far as we know. But, on Tuesday, Sean Moss, the regional administrator for the federal Housing and Urban Development Department, went out on a serious limb. In light of the New York Housing Authority’s dismal financial position (an annual shortfall of $200 million), he said, selling public housing buildings in the most upscale areas could make sense. “It may displace some people, and that is a concern,” Moss said. “That is not necessarily a bad thing if you can create more housing [elsewhere] with that.” We’ll see whether political pressures force him to backpedal in the coming days.
Feds Eye NY Building Sale at Housing Projects [NY Daily News]
Bye Bye Public Housing, Hello Luxe Condos? [Curbed]
What’s Really Going on at the Ingersoll Houses? [Brownstoner]

0 Comment

  • chicago f’ed up with cabrini green, saw the light years ago and “displaced” it’s residents to different locales…it can and SHOULD be done here.

  • its about time.
    finally someone willing to correct a huge mistake in urban planning

  • Regional Administrator Moss made an observation about a POSSIBLE way to raise funds for NYCHA, which is currently facing a dire financial situation. I suggest looking to NYCHA’s very limited use of the HOPE VI program as evidence of how the local housing authority thinks about removing units from its portfolio. Be it Whitman, Ingersoll or the Robert Fulton Houses in Chelsea, NYCHA has consistently stated that it has no plans to privatize any of its developments. I strongly suggest that people should not make too much out of a federal official speaking conceptually, and certainly not on the kind of geographically specific basis that Brownstoner does above.

    I have been hearing this rumor about the Fort Greene houses for over fifteen years. It has a detrimental, unsettling affect on the residents of the development and the broader community as well. I cringe when I think of the comments that will inevitably appear below.

  • thank you gman, for your measure, insight, and clarity.

  • “That is not necessarily a bad thing if you can create more housing [elsewhere] with that.”

    (elsewhere)This is “BS” Where the hell will they move all of these displaced families to? where is the space with just about every nabe in Brooklyn gentrifying, Sad to see the rich getting richer and the poor getting worse,,,

  • There are plenty of places to move these people. No one has a right to live in NYC and the burden of caring for the indignant should not fall on the residents of this alone. Look at what Chicago did – they moved their public housing residents all around Cook County. It’s time every community in the metro area accepts their responsibility to care for the poor as well.

    Also, this will help the poor. The ghetto culture will be broken, and these people will grow up in communities that are not exclusively poor. They will have proper role models, and will be less likely to be criminals and unproductive members of society.

    More than anything else, poverty is caused by antisocial cultural mindsets. Housing projects create ghettos that only reinforce these antisocial tendencies. So far, it’s been a great success where it’s been tried.

  • This is an idea well worth considering. I live near in Boerum Hill which has both the Gowanus Houses and Wykoff Gardens. While the surrounding neighborhood has improved substantially over the past 15 years, the Housing Authority has done nothing to make these properties better. The properties have minimal landscaping and recreation and are surrounded by marginal retail (is it so hard to get a decent super-market operator close by?). If the City isn’t committed to making the properties better they should sell them and share the proceeds with the residents.

  • Will NEVER happen – but if they were to do it, the fair way would be to sell apartments to the best and most qualified tenants with subsidiezed loans and then sell development rights (inc. 421.a (on parking lots for example) and other units at market rate – use part of the $ to upgrade buildings and other part to bail out NYC Housing.
    Thereby creating mixed communities

    BTW – Will NEVER happen

  • i think cities do best with socioeconomic integration. displacing the improverished, and putting them in concentrated areas increases crime, poverty, race-hostility, etc., and is unltimately bad for everyone in the city.
    b.

  • as a brooklyn tech alum, i can say some residents of the ft. greene projects very negatively affected our learning and development. the increased safety for our high school students would be worth it alone.

    couldn’t the political pressure in favor outweigh those against? maybe i’m naive.

  • Sorry folks. You chose to live in these parts of Brooklyn – get used to the projects. Otherwise, there’s always Long Island and Westchester County. Working class people are the heart and soul of NYC. Go Ingersoll!

  • wrong 10:23

    working class/middle class are being IGNORED whil ethe rich are catered to and the poor are given handouts

    nice try

  • 9:48, again where in Brooklyn where they move all of these displaced families to? Do you really think sprinkling them around nice nabes is the solution to a better society, in theory it sounds great but I don’t think they are welcomed in nice nabes and I am sure people will protest, why do you think they want them out of FG, I doubt it very much,

    I agree with 9:55, will never happen.

  • Thanks, 10:25. I thought working class meant poor. Readers – please replace the terms when reviewing my comment.

  • so you meant to say:

    “poor people are the heart and soul of NYC”

    hahahahahahaha

    idiot

  • That’s right, nerd/geek @ 10:37.

  • Moving people to different housing is a nice idea but don’t put the cart before the horse. First create the new housing, then get rid of the old. The city constantly does it the other way around and people end up displaced and nowhere to live.

  • they should sell. it just makes common sense. get rid of government housing all together. poor people concentrated in one area is a bad idea.

    governments aren’t known to make the best businessmen. everything they run is a huge waste of money.

    instead give out rent vouchers. this way people could live where ever they want within their means.

  • armchair

    You mean rent vouchers like Section 8? – Cause no LL who cares about their tenants or building will ever voluntarily rent to Section 8 tenant

  • “There are plenty of places to move these people. No one has a right to live in NYC and the burden of caring for the indignant should not fall on the residents of this alone.”

    Plenty of these people are working class. They have jobs and take care of their families.

    Also, this will help the poor. The ghetto culture will be broken, and these people will grow up in communities that are not exclusively poor. They will have proper role models, and will be less likely to be criminals and unproductive members of society.

    More than anything else, poverty is caused by antisocial cultural mindsets. Housing projects create ghettos that only reinforce these antisocial tendencies. So far, it’s been a great success where it’s been tried.

    Oh boy! I like to tell you my reply in person. Meet me by Fort Green
    Project about 6:00 , Ok?

    The What

    ****Shaking his head in amazement*****

    Someday this war is gonna end…

    P.S. Nice going Mr.B Dumbass Putting out hot button topics. All this does is bring us further apart.

  • Whether or not this happens, it does seem notable that someone spoke publicly about this as a possibility.

    Of course, the City would love to have the sale income and, more importantly, the prop taxes from all the new luxury units that could be built in place of housing in Ft. Greene, Boerum Hill, Dumbo, etc. but they also would have to come up with a way to build new housing or find replacement buildings for the displaced. That sounds very expensive to me, not to mention the insane political fighting that would inevitably occur.

    I’ll bet that this never, ever happens. It’s a powderkeg-filled tinderbox.

  • concentration of poverty into these horrible buildings is a bad idea…ugly, filthy, no street traffic, no retail…creates desolate areas prime for drugs, crime and the like. no wonder most of them never get ot of the cycle…or perhaps that was the intent.

    anyone who wants to maintain the status quo is doing more harm for poor than they realize.

    undo this mistake

  • Brooklynnative is correct. IF, big if there, they sell off the projects, they need to built first. Anything else is irresponsible, and flat out wrong.

    Once again, it must be pointed out that most of the people who live in NYCHA housing are the WORKING poor. It is the visible and destructive minority of residents who are hanging out all day, or engaging in criminal behavior. Since subsidized housing is not spread out to all parts of neighborhoods, it has been concentrated into these high rise buildings. I’m sure most of the people who live there would love to live outside of the projects, provided there is decent housing in decent neighborhoods for them to go to.

    It’s really easy for someone in their million dollar DUMBO loft, or Ft. Greene townhouse to make pronouncements on what “they” should do, and where “they” should go, but until affordable housing for the working poor becomes a priority for this city, nothing meaningful will ever happen. This means that the people whose voices are heard in this city – by that I mean the upper classes, need to make politicians and city officials aware that building and creating affordable housing is their priority, and their concern, too. Their voices are the only ones that will be heard.

  • public housing should be a temporary safety net, not an entitlelement for generations.

    3 year max stay

    and no free parking…wtf is up with that

  • if you are on public assistance and live in public housing you should have your tubes tied

  • Assisted housing is concentrated in New York, and the federal and state governments are taking away the money that funded the difference between the cost to operate these buildings and the rents residents pay.

    At the same time, major building systems are reaching the end of their useful life and must be replaced. Most of these buildings were built from 1948 to 1973.

    The options are:

    Have the city replace the federal funds, raising taxes and cutting other services. A massive hit.

    Sell the buildings and dump the people on the street, but in NYC they have the right to live here, so the cost to re-house them would be enormous.

    Raise the rents to the point where they cover costs. They are now limited to 30% of reported income. This would make public housing less desirable.

    Give them to the residents and let the residents sell them, provided they agree to relocate. This could dump NYC’s needy on someone else, but it could also cause the city to lose a big chunk of its low- and moderate-wage workforce.

    Not many good solutions.

  • I’m not so sure that this can never happen here.

    There was a time when other cities, such as Chicago and Newark, had never done such a thing, but eventually decided otherwise.

    NYCHA is hopelessly managed and in major debt – some parking lots have already been sold to help address these problems.

    Being largely poor, residents of public housing have no political power and would pose no threat to elected officials who vote in favor of privatization.

    Many projects are in prime locations (upper West side, Chelsea, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene, lower East Side, etc.) and would fetch handsome prices.

    The question of where people would go gets back to the reality of political power. If thousands of residents got displaced, most NYC residents wouldn’t care all that much, as housing projects are widely considered to be hotbeds of dysfunction and illegal activity.

    Working residents of public housing would simply find housing elsewhere, albeit at higher prices. Poor residents would double up with relatives or leave the city altogether.

    So I plan to sit back and watch, because, right or wrong, privatization might actually happen one day.

  • Jimmy Legs

    how odd to me that Hope Gardens was the last housing project built, a low-density if sprawling solution. it was also by far the most successful project in town. why don’t they build more like that (with perhaps a bit of extra aesthetic attention)?

  • Or… lower the costs to run the buildings, raise the rents slightly, sell off non-core assets (like parking lots), and develop and lease out underutilized space for retail.

    There are plenty of buildings in NY much older than these that make quite a bit of $ while providing affordable housing – and more then likely the owners didnt get the real estate essentially for free and they also have to pay heavy duty taxes.

    The only way these buildings cant be run properly and without massive losses is through gross mismanagement

  • Montrose, 11:07am:

    You make all these great, well-reasoned points and then always follow them up with foolish class/race warfare comments, such as:

    “It’s really easy for someone in their million dollar DUMBO loft, or Ft. Greene townhouse to make pronouncements on what “they” should do…”

    “This means that the people whose voices are heard in this city – by that I mean the upper classes…”

    Get a grip. If you want to be an effective advocate you need to tone down the poor vs. rich / minority vs. non-minority rhetoric.

  • Of course, the beautiful idea of breaking up pockets of poverty by selling off Fort Greene projects only comes up when Fort Greene becomes a destination for rich people. Yes, yes, then there’s the brilliant realization that driving people out of their homes is actually *doing them a favor*, we’ll be “breaking up the culture of poverty”! I notice no one is proposing selling off the Tompkins Projects in Bed Stuy. What transparent b.s. Selling projects isn’t being proposed to *help* the working poor and disabled people who live in the projects. Give me a break. 420,000 people live in NYCHA apartments. With all the ranting on this site about a housing shortage (as justification for tearing down 100 year old limestones), I ask you — where are these folks going to live? Oh, oh, I know! The perennial answer from Brownstoner posters — “Nobody has a *right* to live in NYC”. Ergo, when a neighborhood become “nice”, it’s time to clear out (forcibly if necessary, by selling off public property) the grubby folks who’ve lived there for decades. Doesn’t anybody around here have any shame?

  • I’m wondering…

    Let’s say this eventually happens – Could the new owner/developer demolish the existing structures and build towers as high as what is currently in place? Or would they have to be more “contextual” and therefore shorter?

    Have there been any precedents like this in NYC?

  • No reason to get all upset about this – IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

    There is no precedent for this, there never will be a precedent for this and any speculation regarding this topic will forever remain pure speculation.

  • 11.27, I can understand your point of view, but I think the reason why people are mentioning DUMBO and FG projects is that the projects that could viably be sold for a real profit would be those in expensive areas. That was the thrust of the officials comment. Those funds could then be used to build more mixed housing, as opposed to projects where working poor are forced to live with criminal elements in a segregated community.

    Unfortunately such a proposal works best if one is looking at the projects in areas where the land would fetch a premium price for redevelopment.

  • Okay, I’m sorry…but I have to weigh in…FG/GL here.

    The blatant racism on this thread is shocking. Some of it plays on the fascists’ ideas of race and otherwise, some vast ignorance of what is going on in the real world. Thank goodness for g_man’s entry to rescue this thread from profound retrograde ignorance…Thank you Brooklynnative, Montrose Morris and even Monsieur Le Quoi.

    Polemicist, you’re starting to disappoint me again. The shine is coming off our other discussion yesterday.

    Armchairwarrior…you’ve made a lot of false assumptions seemingly based on right-wing 80’s-onward anti-government program propaganda: “governments aren’t known to make the best businessmen. everything they run is a huge waste of money.” =Incorrect! The wastes have come from government work being outsourced to private vendors in many cases…And you mentioned “vouchers”…hello, what do think Section 8 is? The powers that be have been slashing away at it. Section 8 needs to be expanded. AND landlords who accept Section 8 should be made to keep rental units in good condition. They often (usually) do not. Landlords often collect steep rents on their Section 8 units (our tax dollars at work) but fail to maintain them. The City is not proactive and is seemingly (purposely?) understaffed to handle complaints and problems.

    Now, let’s put some issues out there that should be considered…some I’m just reinforcing from other comments above:

    **People living in much of NYCHA’s buildings are working people. They have jobs.

    **We need affordable housing in NYC…period.

    **These projects are currently under pressure from the “criminal” “justice” system.
    –Housing policing is horrible.
    –Huge numbers of residents are put in jail and sent off to places far away. This is another huge discussion and will probably never get a thread on Brownstoner.

    **Rules are atrocious and punitive. If you have a family member who has any kind of record, you can lose your apartment. For example, if you’re uncle was in “the system” and came out 5 years ago, he cannot visit you to say “hello” on Christmas or you may lose your apartment.

    **No one seems to mention a possible result of HOMELESSNESS from any moves that shut people out from their affordable housing. Someone above glibby stated displaced people will simply double up living with friends/family or leave the City. Uh…this is not realistic. And BTW the City, as you all should be aware, just messed up on the overnight shelter policy. It turbo-charged its turning away of people every night.

    **Many of these projects HAD lots of services and stores nearby but as gentrification pushes in, many stores either change out OR, as in the case of Myrtle Avenue, are razed for our developer friends to put up slap-dab “luxury” gold-toilet-bowl hi-rises

    BTW, isn’t “luxury” considered a “sin” we’re supposed to avoid? I see the word splashed onto 10-story vinyl banners hanging on new construction all over the place…you would think marketers could come up with some other words instead of overusing “luxury”.

  • I want a corner unit with a view of Manhattan and does Fresh Direct deliver?

    Thanks
    “Homeboy Hipster”.

  • Poverty is not something you get over, like the flu. Talk of only subsidizing housing for three years, and then you are on your own, is unrealistic nonsense. These people are not working at minimum wage jobs, or no jobs at all, because they are waiting for a position at Merrill Lynch to open up.

    The reasons for poverty are as varied as the people involved, and as old as the Bible – the poor have always been with us. The draconian solutions of our forefathers – workhouses, jails, transportation, indentured servitude or self-righteous ignoring of the problem and the people, did no good. The prevailing attude from some here makes me think we haven’t changed much at all.

    Everything is connected – better educational opportunities lead to better jobs, leads to better salaries and the ability to afford a home without subsidies. If we as a society don’t change the root causes of poverty, we will always be subsidizing food and shelter. It’s about so much more than just paying for an apartment at the Farragut Projects.

  • Blatant racism? Please, if you will, point to one word that has mentioned race.

    I’m waiting…

  • 11:08 and 11:09 are horrible people. You should have your tubes tied instead to prevent the rest of us from dealing with your elitest snobby offspring.

    To the person asking us to “tone down the poor vs. rich / minority vs. non-minority rhetoric”, thats the whole reason whyt he government is thinking about this issue in the first place.

  • FG-GL – how about posting 1 or 3 points at a time – no offense but your posts are rambling messes.

    Second this will never happen nor does it need to – the only reason that NYCHA is struggling is mismanagement. These buildings have no mortgages and no taxes (do they even have to pay for water) – they can easily be self-sufficent (if not profitable) on their current RR if they were properly run.

  • 11:46…such a semantic-POS. Hello, we’re talkin’ about “the projects”, Miss Thing. So-called “race” is a HUGE part of this discussion.

  • They have talked about doing the same thing at Gowanus for many years now. The political will is just not there.

  • Sorry, Mr. Joist, but it is class warefare. When you read comments like “let them live with relatives”, “public housing should be a temporary safety net…”, you are reading the opinions of people who have no conception of the existence of deprivation, lack of opportunity or education, or lack of choices. What else is that but the difference of income, therefore class. I never brought race into this, and for once, neither has anyone else.

    FG/GL and guest at 11:27, you are my new best friends, couldn’t have said it better on all accounts.

  • 11:53
    Thanks for your input…my posts may be rambling messes…but at least you’re a good reader so, I assume, you’re slogging through them. At least they don’t have too many typos/grammatical errors.
    You seem a voice of knowledgeable reason…even if you’re commenting as a “quest”, why not sign with initials.
    FG/GL

  • Hear! Hear! Monsieur Montrose Meurice!
    FG/GL

  • Move everyone to the Atlantic Yards

  • Montrose Meurice;

    You speak of the lack of opportunities and choices. How then, do you acount for the millions of immigrants pouring into this city? We see them working in construction, hospitality, restaurants – willingly making a go at it, as others have done for the past 100 years. We see them buying homes in areas like Bensonhurst, Sunset Park and Canarsie- moving up the ladder.

    On the other hand,projects have become nothing more than warehouses of the pathologies that result from outdated and failed government policies. Is initiative rewarded in this system? Absolutely not. They are isolated islands of pathologies within this city. They are not welcome in ANY neighborhood – rich, poor and anything in between. Show me one person in any neighborhood who is happy to be living near a project.

    It is just a matter of time before they are gone. The federal government will no longer foot the bill, and other cities like Chicago and Newark have already gotten the message.

    Benson

  • 12:12
    Move everyone to the Atlantic Yards? We can only assume you jest.

    BTW, I think the discussion(s) we’re having here are valuable. Simply saying “it’ll never happen in NYC…blah, blah, blah…” is not useful.

    First of all, it already IS happening in NYC. NYCHA residents have been under the g*n for years.

    Second, while Section 8 is being slashed away at and rents have reached ridiculous highs, no new public or simply affordable housing is being added. We’ve basically been seeing, and it seems we will see more of, “gluxury” (glut+luxury) “residences” being built (I think one ad I saw recently offered a new living experience in luxury. Apparently, they’ve got a concierge service that will provide an attendant to hand you toilet paper so you don’t have to tear sheets off the roll yourself.)

    Signed,
    FortGreene/GrammarLady

    PS see 11:53, I kept it shorter…only a couple points made. ;-)

  • Many a sociologist has concluded that the ghettoization of the poor is harmful. It’s also common sense.

  • A recent NY Sun editorial recommended simply giving away the NYCHA apartments to current residents. It argued that those who wanted to leave could sell theres and simply take the money, and those who stayed would have a vested interest in improving the quality of their housing. Of course this would involve charging maintenance fees which would no doubt be a source of debate. I am all for this program, it is the only way that this will be resolved and appease all sides.

  • Those comments make me so sad. They lack insight and are totally heartless. You people could care less about these families as long as them moving means a starbucks and william sonoma will be coming to ft. greene.

    Instead of pushing these people out and forcing them to live in worse conditions, maybe the gov’t should be doing its job effectively managing education, housing and job readiness programs. Are there some people that live in public assistance housing deadbeats, yes. There are also countless others that do the jobs that need to get done in society that no one that reads this posting would dare do.

    The gov’t and others didnt care about this community or these housing projects when its surroundings were poor. But now that its across the street from multi-million dollar homes, everyone wants these people to move…even though they have been there longer than anyone has.

  • Okay, so you don’t trust the City to sell public housing and use the proceeds in a fair, equitable and just manner. But what’s the solution for public housing? The buildings are starting to move past their maintainable lifetime. Funding is drying up and there is no middle ground between public assistance and market rents.

    I don’t trust the City either, but a sale would result in a HUGE influx of cash.

  • Yes, 12:34, I agree. There have been some unethical, ignorant and mean-spirited comments on this thread. Sad indeed.
    FG/GL

  • Housing projects do not create ghettos!!! People do, both the policy makers and the people living in them. I grew up in the projects. In fact, the one I lived in was built for World War II veterans. We forged meaningful and solid relationships that still exist today. We left our doors open in the Summer and as kids, we were not allowed to sit on the stoops/steps or be caught standing on the manicured grass (that generation did not play!) And don’t do anything wrong, because your mother was sure to find out through another parent! Times (society) have changed and the city’s direction and policies have also. Although many working class people remain in housing, they disproportionately began to put non-working families in and the structure we once knew began to come apart. I suspect that one of the reasons is because at the time to do so was more profitable, bringing in higher-paying jobs in the system. But workers on the lower-income levels, like housing assistants, were being overworked, having to spend 3-4 days of their week in court with tenants and returning to offices that were overflowing with files/issues to deal with. Now the city doesn’t need the poor to make their money, and in fact the city is losing money, so they are looking to another source. The city spruced up the grounds of the projects I was living in, not for us, for the families that for over 50 years faithfully paid their rent and were respectable tenants, but for the gentrification in Harlem! Do you know how many elders will be evicted if city housing is privatized–where are they going after living in the same place for over 50-60 years, on a fixed income? And how many people will lose their jobs?? If the goal is to have affordable housing, why couldn’t the city forge a plan to revamp what already exists? We should hold the city responsible, but instead we agree with them thinking that it’s going to improve our neighborhoods. They are doing it to forge partnerships with big business and making their own financial gains.

  • Awww, Who cares!! More Condos for rich people!!!!!! Yeah for class warfare, Yeah!!!!!!!

    Oh you chuckleheads need to read this.
    http://www.financialsense.com/Experts/ewave/2007/1024.html

    Oh BTW, when this Mutant Real Estate Bubble pops, we won’t worry about shit like this. The chuckleheads will go back to their caves.

    Flame on Grammar Nazi’s

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…….

  • You say it 12:42!!!
    FG/GL

  • FG/GL
    Discussions here are really not that valuable but, I note that it is NOT happening, there is no plan for it to happen and not one single elected official has even suggested it – the ramblings of some powerless Washington bureaucrat not withstanding. Therefore as everyone bemoans the end of civilization in a class war I believe noting that it will never happen is valid.

    I dont believe your comments of NYCHA residents living “under the gun” has any validity – if it does please elaborate.

    As for what is being built today – luxury or not – all new housing at any price range effectively lowers the cost of housing (or the rate of housing cost increases) for all. The reality is that virtually all non-govt affordable housing (of which there is plenty) was at one time either “luxury” or at least upper middle class housing at one time.

    As for Section 8 – the city actually responds to complaints fairly rapidly and Sec 8 will withhold rent for substandard apartments (not to mention that newly rented apartments must be inspected prior to Sec 8 approval). However the main issue is that b/c of the Sec 8 bureaucracy, the HORRIBLE tenants you get, and the impossibly long and expensive eviction process – no reputable LL will take Section 8 – which is why Section 8 has to pay more then market rate rent to get its tenants placed – b/c only LL more concerned about immediate cash flow (as opposed to an orderly and nice building) would take a chance on a Sec 8 tenant.

  • My dear Benson, have you ever walked into a housing project and seen or spoken to the people there? Most of these buildings are chock full of new immigrants, as well as everyone else. It depends on the neighborhood. In Wmsburg, some of NYCHA housing there is full of large Hasidic families, recent immigrants or not, and some of the buildings in Bed Stuy have a lot of immigrants from Middle Eastern countries. I’m sure NYCHA housing near Brighton Beach has Russian and Eastern Bloc families, as well as Chinese and Asian families in lower Manhattan and Queens, and Hispanic families in Fort Greene and elsewhere.

    A vast majority of people do not come here and buy homes immediately, especially those in service and labor jobs. I do not disagree that most work very hard, and move up and out, and many achieve that elusive American dream.

    If projects are only a stew of failed pathologies and failed people (a concept I do not buy), and they need to be abolished, I have to ask where people who advocate that think all of these people are going to go? Because it is our problem, they are not going to go to another state, or back to where they came from or disappear. Many will add to the legions of the homeless, the criminally inclined will prey on us all, and we will spend as much, if not more, on bailing out hospitals, the shelter systems, jails and prisons, security, transit, and even burial of the dead. Gruesome and horror movie like? You bet.

  • 12:42: they wouldn’t be throwing the elders or poor out on the street. They’d be relocated. It’s been done successfully in many urban centers. It’s not as dramatic as you make it.

  • convert them all to free market co-ops
    resident can choose to sell or stay

  • someday The What is gonna shuut the fuck up ……

  • Just one other point of view, read this link below:

    http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=5&id=15456

    seems like converting them will generate income for needed improvements as well as proving people an opportunity to experience ownership, maybe they will look at their surroundings different, ownership equals pride, (sometimes) but I think it could help a bit. What do you all think about this article??

  • PLEASE please stop overdramatizing the issue and making it so melodramatic. Many have cited the Chicago experiment, and it has worked very well. Why not use successful models and build on them?

  • Montrose;

    FYI: I grew up in a housing project (Red Hook projects) and my grandmother lived in one for 39 years.

    You are factually incorrect on many points. There are no NYCHA projects in Brighton Beach. The closest project in near Nostrand Ave and Ave. V, and they are NOT full of immigrants, Russian or otherwise. They are full of folks trapped in multi-generational pathologies, as are the vast majority of projects.

    What will happen to them if this policy is implemented? Instead of asking hypothetical questions,why not go to the many cities where it HAS happened? has there been mass deprivation in Chicago since they’ve started to tear the projects down? Are poor folks IN NY better off because of these monstrosities?

    Let’s talk facts and data. All you are trying to do is to use emotion and scare tactics to defend failed policies of the past.

    At the time they were built,the projects were noble, and well-intentioned, experiments. Time has shown, however, that they do not work, in many ways. It’s time to move on.

    As the NY Sun suggests: sell the apartments to the present occupants, and be done with it. Everyone will win: the folks living there will make a buck and break the trap of dependency, they’ll be integrated into the mainstream, and the city will benefit.

    Benson

  • 12:59 cuz this board is packed with limousine liberals who pretend to care about poor people and yet always take the lazy way out

  • 12:59 – Mitchell-Lama is not and was not public housing. You are comparing apples to oranges.

  • If you sell the apartments to the current tenants – those tenants who are “trapped in multi-generational pathologies” will be unable to make the maintenance payments, repair their units and will be tempted to mortgage the units in dangerous and risky ways. Ultimately they will end up without a buck and without an apartment – which helps no one.

  • If Monstrose, FG, etc. care so much about the poor, then why aren’t they offering units in their brownstones for rent at $200 per month?

    As always, it’s do as I say and not as…

  • Selling the units to current residents, obviously in highly subsidized terms, is insane and unfair to all the other low-income people out there who were not able to get a unit in the building.

  • 1.08;

    You are yet further proof of my point.

    You hypothsize about what will happen (and assume that the folks in these units cannot possibly ever make it on their own).

    I again state: talk facts and data!! WHAT has happened in Chicago and Newark? Can you demonstrate where this has happened, when the projects were torn down.

    Keep trying to play on our emotions, rather than talking policies and results. Keep trying to defend failed experiments of the past. The more you do so, the more it will become apparent that there is no longer a basis for keeping these monstrositis intact, and they will be torn down, as has happened in Chicago, Newarrk, Detroit, jansas City, St. Louis and elsewhere.

    Benson

  • I don’t know where people are getting the idea that the Chicago public housing “transformation,” as they called it, has successfully resettled ex-residents into good homes and neighborhoods. The research out there suggests that residents have flocked to private housing (using their Sec. 8 vouchers) in neighborhoods with similar income/race/crime/etc demographics than the ones they left, and if anything skew those stats downward by their arrival.

    http://www.nhi.org/online/issues/138/chicago.html

  • Jimmy Legs

    can the city use eminent domain to take brownstones in park slope and turn them into low-density projects? voila! problem solved!

  • 1.18;

    Do you consider a paper by an advocacy group that is dedicated to the whole proposition of government-run housing to be “data”. Note the lack of footnotes in this paper. It relies on an anecdotal interview with a resident.

    Time is running out…..sooner or later, these monstrosities will be torn down.

    Benson

  • Thank you 1:18 for the link and for doing a bit of research. Also, to those thinking we need to look at these other cities that have razed low-income buildings: Yes, we need to…BUT, remember these cities range from smaller than NYC to MUCH smaller to the point of not giving any decent comparison.

    1:13PM,
    Thanks for suggesting Montrose Morris and I rent “units” at $200…but you’re jumping to conclusions. I can say for myself, I don’t have any “unit” to rent out unless I can rent out my bathroom…Hello! I guess I could share my bedroom. Heck, there are one-bedroom apartments in NYC with 8 and 10 people living in them so I guess I ought to get with the program.

    Jimmy Legs, Park Slop is already a vast low-density project…just not a “low-income” one. ;-)

    FortGreener/GrammarLady

  • 1:18 here: co-author Sudhir Venkatesh is a prof. at Columbia, author of the heavily footnoted book American Project, about the Horner homes in Chicago, and the focus of a chapter in Freakonomics. His credentials and research are solid.

  • 1.18;

    Classic “limousine liberal” response. You put forth a report by an advocacy group which is dedicated to the whole idea of government-run housing. When someone calls you on the fact that the report is entirely anecdotal, with no footnotes,your response is to note that one of the co-authors is an Ivy league professor. In other words, we mere mortals should shut up because one of the elite has spoken. The fact that this report is nothing but an ill-researched advocacy piece should be of no concern to us. The elite know what they are doing (or, at least they think they know what they are doing)

    You do not speak about the realities and data of these projects. A simple walk around any project will give someone a quick education about their realities.

    I said it above: these projects were well-intentioned experiments, but they have failed. The more you deny it, the greater the chance that they will be torn down. it is exactly what happened with welfare reform in the 90′s.

    Keep denying reality, and you will see the next President sign an order to completely wipe away the system, if if her name is Hillary (just as her husband had to sign a welfare reform bill becaue the illusion could no longer be maintained.

    Sooner or later, these monstrosities will be torn down. Socialism no longer has a grip on the mind of NYC.

    benson

  • There are academic and economic arguments on ALL sides of this issue. Everyone weighs in and data is used selectively to prove one’s point. There is no right answer.

  • Sorry about the assumption re: your living situation, FG. How about giving the next five units of your condo/coop/rental to low-income tenants for $200 a month?

    Thanks for your collaboration and doing your part to achieve econimic justice in Brooklyn!

  • Last thing I’ll say (I’m 1:18): I never said housing projects were ideal, just that Chicago’s tear-em-down and give them vouchers policy isn’t working as well as the accounts on this thread claim. If anyone has information that contradicts Venkatesh’s research, from any source (academic or otherwise), then I’m interested, sincerely, in hearing it.

  • Benson,
    Thanks for your share on all this…but I think the Welform “Reform” Act, what it came out of, why and what it has led to was ill-addressed by your comment. We could have a whole discussion on it.
    FG/GL

  • FG/GL;

    My point about welfare reform was political. If liberals in NY keep trying to defend the undefendable (i.e. the projects are just great the way they are) they will not have a place at the table when it becomes apparent to everyone else but them that they are NOT working.

    I am 50 years old and grew up in NYC (in the Red Hook projects, as I mentioned). I vividly remember the cancer that spread through NYC from the old welfare system. It was as plain as day. For reasons I will never understand, the reigning liberal othodoxy refused to allow any discussion on the topic. Any suggestion that the system needed reform was met with loaded, emotional charges (just like we see by the defenders of the projects in this post).

    As Alan Greenspan once stated: something that is not sustainable eventually fails. So it was with the old welfare system, and so it is with these projects. Those who deny reality and defend the status quo are setting themelves up for the same fall that happened with welfare regorm. Liberals did not have a place at the table for welfare reform legislation. If they continue to deny the realities of these projects, they won’t be there when the reckoning comes. That is a fact of life.

    That is my final two cents.

    benson

  • I agree with 1:03 PM. Sell the units to the current occupants. If more money is needed to improve things afer that I suggest means testing rent control so that we can end that we can stop subsidizing rich people.

  • 1:04 – I realize that these are not projects but my question was CAN something like this be considered instead of putting people out of their homes of 30 years, with grants and other forms of assistance I think it could work, or maybe you all just want all of these “Ghetto” people to leave,

    Read carefully:

    http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=5&id=15456

  • The projects are going to suck once AY is built.

  • AY will be worthless once the projects are built.

  • Hang on a minute. Isn’t there pretty much a consensus among housing advocates locally and nationally than NYCHA projects are far superior to the large-scale public housing complexes in most other U. S. cities? In the late ’90s, I lived across the street from Whitman/Ingersoll and it was no biggie. The buildings — and their tenants — can hardly be called “monstrosities”. Just utilitarian buildings filled with working families making their way. A lot like Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village when ya think about it.

  • thank you benson for telling it like it is

  • 3.11;

    Stop distorting people’s statements. I never called the tenants in the projects “monstrosities”. In fact, I advocated giving them ownership of their apartments.

    It will never stop with defenders of the status quo. Scare tactics, distortions, quoting housing advocates who are invested in the current system, etc.

    Keep putting the fingers in the dike, until it all washes away, like the old welfare system.

    Benson

  • Benson…please note that 3:11 was addressing other people’s usage or the term “monstrosities”…and certainly not “distorting people’s statements”. Some contributors today have made some really lousy cracks. Not quite sure why you took 3:11′s comment personally. It wasn’t aimed at you.

    Okay…this thread has done run its course. See you’all tomorrow!

    FG/GL

  • Anyone who thinks these NYCHA projects are equitable and fair is insane. Do you know how hard it is to get into one of these shitty housing complexes? My best friend’s brother has been on a waiting list for a Manhattan or Brooklyn apartment for over 6 years, and he works 3 jobs, he’s not on welfare. In the meantime, he’s moved to the Bronx where he’s found an apartment he can afford.

  • …So we need fewer public housing complexes. QED.

  • so im glad we have all come to a consensus:

    tear down all housing projects within the next 12-18 months.

    thanks for playing, and come again!

  • 12:48
    Asking an elder to move out of the only home they have lived in for over 50 years is dramatic. Talk to an elder – they are reluctant to make changes even when they are unable to take care of themselves. Many are alone. So if they are relocated to the suburbs, how are they going to get around, get to their doctor appointments, do their food shopping, etc.? Would you feel the same way if your grandmother was the one being “relocated?” All I can tell you is what an elder told me, “just keep living!” If you live long enough, you will find out for yourself!

  • Point is, people should move to areas they can afford. Heartless, sure. Rent control for the poor and the rich is counterproductive and unfair to those who can’t get that favored foot in the door, be it by lottery or “key-money”.

  • NO ONE WANTS TO ANSWER 2:28 BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT THESE SO CALLED “GHETTO PEOPLE” IN THEIR NABES SO WHY OFFER THE OPPORTUNITY TO THEM,

    “CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE ME A SOY LATTE LIGHT AND SWEET”

    FREAGIN YUPPIES,,,

  • First of all, to get the extreme idiocy out of the way first, 1:13 – I love how people come up with silly statements of unreality like yours, especially since you don’t know what I do with my life or property. As if my 2 apartments in my house would solve any kind of housing crisis, anyway, and by the way, they are both rented at less than market rate to people who cannot afford more, so I think you need to shut up on that account. So what are you doing for the cause?

    Secondly, Benson, if all you got from my posts was some kind of error about who lives in what project or neighborhood, I think you have seriously missed the point. You say I argue on emotion, but then you dismiss the citings of an expert, because you don’t agree with him. That doesn’t make him wrong, or you right.

    I am no fan of huge housing projects for many reasons, but my contention is that this system is better than simply razing them and letting people fend for themselves. New York is not Chicago, and I am sure that those people in Cabrini-Green did not simply disappear into the mist. The people, the problems, simply relocated in other low income neighborhoods, not a viable solution, by any means.

    Yes, we need to break the pan generational cycle of poverty. But that is not done by simply removing people’s homes, however humble or awful, from underneath them. That’s not even going near the fact that these buildings are now sitting on primo real estate. If we are talking about redistributing the subsidized housing stock in Brooklyn, then let’s have a discussion about the enormous projects in Brownsville, or the Gates Avenue corridor of projects in Bed Stuy, as well as the now valuable land and waterfront views in Fort Greene and DUMBO, as well as the choice pickings in Chelsea. This really isn’t about housing and welfare reform, it’s about big money, developers and real estate.

  • Ultimately, the projects were a bad idea from day one, well-intentioned though they are. Crappy planning and design is half the reason they’re as dangerous as they are. With a six-year waiting list and income limits (not to mention spiking citywide rents), there’s no incentive for people living in the projects to try to make more money — and the living quarters they’d end up in, even with money, would be smaller than the space they have in NYCHA.

    Frankly, I’d be fine with giving everybody in the projects the apartment they already lived in. Turn them into PCV or Stuytown models. It wouldn’t be any less fair than the current insane waiting list, anyway. They should also be building in the parking lots (like they are) — not only is it silly for the government to subsidize discretionary expenses like parking in the urban core, but those big empty parking lots don’t do much for safety, and aren’t doing anybody good as pavement.

  • Montrose Morris/Brower Park/Crown Heights Proud -

    Below market rate? That hardly demonstrates that you are renting to low-income tenants, as suggested above. For example, $1500/month is below market rate for many neighborhoods, but it is still well beyond the reach of most poor and working-class New Yorkers.

    Once again, do as I say and not as…

  • Montrose;

    I dismissed the citings of the professor because of his procedure. Writing an advocacy piece based upon an anecdotal interview with one resident is hardly social science.

    My points WERE about housing policy over the entire city. I advocate that the city get out of the business of being a landlord. It’s worse than welfare. In the case of welfare, at least it was open to all who were eligible. Public housing, on the other hand, is a lottery system. The city should give this stock to its current occupants. Yes, this is another form of a lottery. Unlike the present system, however, it would have beneficial effects. It would give the occupants a piece of the rock, and they can sell them to developers, and get the hell out of these monstrosities and move on with their lives, which they are NOT doing now. The city would be finally relieved of this useless drain on the coffers.

    You want to help the poor? Have the city use the proceeds to build new subway lines, improve the roads and reclaim polluted land. Creat an environment for business to flourish, rather than maintaining monstrosities that look like Soviet housing, and were inspired by the same ideas.

    Benson.

  • 4:21, hardly my rent roll, so what’s your point? I don’t have to prove my bona fides in community work, or good deeds in general, to you or anyone else. Nor do I have to bankrupt myself to prove I care about, or work for any cause. So what have you done for anyone lately?

    Benson, the city became a landlord because no one else wanted to step up to the task, and those that did, to a large degree, were bigger crooks than any street corner mugger. Remember the homeless shelter “hotels” that cost more than the Plaza, as well as countless slumlords who cheated their tenants out of a decent home, while socking it to the city for subsidies?

    Public housing is a big job, with big money involved, and so it draws crooks aplenty on all sides of the fence, from tenants, to managers to building owners. That’s one of the reasons big gov’t stepped in. Does the system suck – of course. I wouldn’t have a problem with a transfer of ownership to tenants, provided it was done in a sane way, backed up with plenty of support, money, and done over time. If they just hand the keys over to the residents without any of the support they need, who can be suprised at the failure that will result? Unless that is the plan in the first place, Let’s hope not. I am not advocating the status quo, but to simply abolish NYCHA without a plan for replacement housing is foolish, dangerous to all of us, and will cost us more, and does not solve any problems whatsoever, it will cause more.

  • These projects have parking lots too?? For the tenants?? Are you kidding me??

  • There is a rumor circulating (one of many) that the Farragut Houses in Dumbo may be converted to house the city’s municipal workers.

  • Close all publis housing. Make the What a homeless crazy person.

  • You tell’em Mlle. Montrose!!!
    (I thought I wouldn’t check this thread again today but here I am…)
    FortGreener/GrammarLady

  • “No one has a right to live in NYC and the burden of caring for the indignant should not fall on the residents of this alone.”

    102 comments and not one person has pointed out this Freudian slip?

    I am in total agreement with Polemicist — caring for the indignant should not be the responsibility of NYC residents!

    So, Polemicist and your ilk, take your illiterate and indignant selves elsewhere!

    I believe the word you’re looking for up there is indigent — synonymous with poor, needy, impoverished, poverty-stricken, penniless, destitute, impecunious.

    And, sorry, it is everyone’s responsibility (morally at least) to care for those less fortunate.

    Or not — there is such a thing as karma.

    Indignant, indeed!

  • Benson

    When you write:

    “Do you consider a paper by an advocacy group that is dedicated to the whole proposition of government-run housing to be “data”. Note the lack of footnotes in this paper. It relies on an anecdotal interview with a resident.”

    That would be a good time to present your own evidence, which of course you do not do. You are a hypocrit.

  • Racism is economics. Economic Oppression of a group based on its race. The man was raping and making babies w/ those of a race he claimed was “inferior”, snatching and selling their babies and giving them his to nurse, nurture and suckle – how “inferior” or hated us did he? Originally, Slave Labor in America consisted of the Whites (indentured as well), Blacks and Natives being sold on the same slave block, until the OPPRESSOR realized that his daughter could be also sold on that same block (many of the Natives died from the diseases associated with him, so of course not economically feasible). Stories from the ancestors on how the “poor white trash” (south) who appeared to have had less than their neighbors and basically in many instances lived in communities together, however, in an instance would reference their neighbor who for the most part they got along decently well (Black people have hearts of GOLD, of course due to the holocaust committed against us, many suffer SEVERLY with Deranged and Confused Hearts); however the dear white neighbor who many instances broke bread with them, would blurt out “BLACK NIGGER”. “Dirty White Skin and no food to eat”, poor housing conditions, yet instead of organizing with their neighbor to overthrow the oppressor, they claim to fame, would be their alignment with the oppressor based on skin color – mind you “very dirty (black) skin”. Can’t even afford water nor food to eat. It is truly unfortunate that such ignorance is still so prevalent today. All the talk in the financial sector is on investing Globally. What about AMERICA. So for all those who think or are too ignorant to think and realize that money is the motivator behind all this crap, we shall live to see. Because, the slave master in many instances trusted his slave more than any other, particularly the overseer (note: how many slaves wouldn’t even leave MAster after his freedom was granted – “Slave Narratives – FDR WPA Project”, good source; Many also where the only ones who knew where the family valuables were and retrieved them and gave to the family at due time). Of course much of that later statement also pertained to the psychology, oppression, confusion and degradation due to racism.

    Housing Projects shelter the working poor for the most part. And as another commenter stated; Mismanagement serves as the reason why funds are not used to upkeep the property properly as well as Institutionalized Racism (need a working poor to service the few-rich, NYC future plans quite similar to D.C. current). It is interesting that many who make these demeaning comments on these “Brooklyn Web-sites” are newcomers to the city or community, even if your racist/prejudice ancestors where here #### years ago, they left due to racist/ prejudice views (White Flight) and now all those that have newly arrived want to make specialist comments. HOW SPecial!!!!

    When are we going to wake up and realize that we all got to live together? There is only one EARTH. And, all life began in AFRICA/ KUSH/ KUSHITES (Black People living in all that Sun and still bearing their melatonin and dominate genetic bands). Respect/ Self-Respect is the key. Treating others they way you want and believe that you as well as your loved ones should be treated. There are good and bad in every sphere of our society. It is generally the few who makes things worst. Imagine, we could all walk around rude, disrespectful and disgusting, “No one has a monopoly on Stupidity and Ignorance, it is a CHOICE” (Mattie-Jeanette, etc – 1964 and preceding).

    The notion of Ghetto’s has been around longer than modern day projects. Most people don’t necessarily choose to live in a project. In many instances it serves as a necessity (family, children, cost-effective). Many who are citing the joy of displacing people due to their temporary status as residents, is disgustingly appalling (since many will reside, marry and leave, however, many Blacks in particularly are and have remained since the day they escaped or ran north for perceived freedoms). In NYC, many developments such as Nehemiah Housing and projects of the like in racially demographic communities that are representative of that small group that controls the mass of wealth (apprx 67% of stock market owned by less than 15% of population) are well-kept, since today, hopefully that minority group would be overthrown if they didn’t make their counterparts feel as though they equate on some level. Let’s get over the BS!!!! RESPECT Ourselves. I like to think the majority of us are Hard-working/ Working folks in this society (to the extent that the economic policies allow – notice all the hype how over 68% of the population were homeowners – WAKE UP!!!!!), however many times across many genre’s it sometimes seems we can’t work hard enough. Hard-times and unfortunate circumstances doesn’t necessarily discriminate. Though, Institutionalized Racism does (criminal justice system, educational policies, healthcare, etc). Yes, I could go on and on and on, since that’s how long and longer this CRAP has been going on.

    Another note: African-Americans are displaced HONORARY American Citizen’s (WE BUILT THIS COUNTRY TRULY ON THE BACKS OF OUR SOULS, HEARTS, SPIRITS, LIVES, FAMILIES AND THE VERY ESSENCE OF OUR BEING – And we still SUFFER, The Psychology of Racism). Generally, wherever we are is all we have. Actually, Slavery/ Jim Crow laws were not interrupted until the 1964/1965 Civil Rights act. A little over 40 yrs. This may seem to small-minds a long period, however, NOT!!!!!!! I Pray for us ALL!!!! Since, I can tell you in reading these comments on the various “Brooklyn Websites” and all the comments pertaining in code to the People of Color in Brooklyn; that the emotional anguish, anger and pain that swells up in my soul can barely be expressed. I can assure you these feelings are not an anomaly. And, for all those who feel that their class/race or whatever ignorant figment of their imagination makes them better or more gracious than another human being, TRUST, in no way if in dire need of food, water, blood, a life-saving organ would rarely any one of these same ignoramus concern themselves too much with the class/ race of the contributor/donor. Also, Gentrification is not new and refers to the wealthy overtaking an area considered inhabited by the less politically and financially powerful. Mind you, this could easily be you or anyone of your loved ones tomorrow. Hello!!!! And, the way things are going the Middle Class of today, may very well be the Working Poor and Destitute of tomorrow.

  • Thanks 6:33…Polemicist doesn’t have the best spelling…you have to make allowances sometimes. ;-)
    FG/GrammarLady

  • We hear you Guest 6:38PM!
    FG/GL

  • People dont realize it, but some of these apts are pretty sweet. Theres a project on houston. There’s another one by lincoln center. There are several in Chelsea, and I assure the market rate on many of these apts is more than many of us can afford.

  • Close all housing projects.

  • I’m sure it wasn’t intended to be lining up Ingersoll for a sale, but now that the residents have already moved out, the displacement cost that Moss referred to is not relevant – making it a prime candidate.

  • It’s sad that there have been so many heartless comments about this topic. Public Housing is neccessary, unfortunately, made even more so by recent higher housing costs… and a whole history beyond time here. Anyone writing here could find themselves in need at some point, but until then, the majority of you motherfucking fascists will just have to hope Dumbo doesn’t get invaded, and that the projects can get turned into condos.

    It’s pathetically ironic that the previous notice on this blog is for a Crime Prevention Meeting in Dumbo. After the projects are all sold off, you won’t need to post that one.

  • 6.37;

    Before calling me a hypocrite, I suggest you read my posts. I noted that the following cities have torn down large portions of their public housing (in the form of old-style projects): Chicago, St. Louis, Newark, Kansas City and Detroit. This is my evidence. I asked for contrary evidence that there had been some special suffering, and was presented with a report from an advocacy group with one anecdotal story.

    I repeat my theory that this whole issue is similiar to welfare reform. When welfare reform was passing through the Congress, one of the old guard liberals (Senator Moynihan)predicted that “millions” would be put out to the street. Never happened.

    The defenders of these projects are fighting a similiar rear-guard action.

    Benson

  • I’m new to this debate, but want to interject a bit of a history lesson.

    First, I grew up in the West 80s in the 1970s (when the UWS was a bad neighborhood) and now live close to Ingersoll/Whitman. I lived a block from Wykoff Gardens in Boerum Hill for 4 years (1994-6 and 2003-6). I’m white, middle class, married with a baby and a 5th generation New Yorker. I have watched gentrification go on around me my entire life.

    Second, back in the 1950s and 60s Robert Moses razed a lot of middle class neighborhoods and installed the super-block public housing we know and love (to hate) today (take a look at “The Power Broker” by Robert Caro or the Robert Moses episode of the Ken Burns “New York” PBS special). For example, Gowanus/Wykoff were once all brownstones, but when much of the middle class started to move to Long Island and New Jersey, then entire area was ‘blighted’ and turned into projects.

    Having been completely displaced from the neighborhood I grew up in, I am not sympathetic to those who claim “this is OUR neighborhood”. We are all renters in life, and do not own anything forever. New York is undergoing constant change, and nobody can claim that any neighborhood is theirs (unless you are a member of the Lenape Indian tribe, or maybe a decedent of Peter Stuyvesant).

    The problem is not the people, it is the projects themselves. They appear to horrible places to live. The cycle of poverty is perpetuated by the fact that if you actually get a job, you will probably have to move out. Given the current rent spike, there is little chance that anyone wants to face that option. But these are not recent issues, they have been a subject of debate my entire life.

    So, as always, there are two choices: status quo, or demolish them and start over.

    Hardship is an inescapable part of society. It is not the government’s job to make sure everyone is doing ‘ok’. When government takes away an individuals need to make their own way in the world, you end up with the despair and cycle of poverty that infects public housing which is then amplified from generation to generation (i.e. Marvin Gaye vs. 50 Cent).

    There are plenty of lazy criminals in public housing, and there are also many working poor and elderly. But, no one is benefiting from NYCHA housing projects. At best, some are surviving because of them. But advocating mere survival seems worse than attempting to install a new solution. The temporary hardship of relocation is clearly the lesser of two evils when compared to perpetuating the prison of the projects.

  • A few months back I wrote a blog entry regarding this very issue which I hope you enjoy for it lighthearted hilarity.

    http://gentryornot.blogspot.com/2007/08/upside-of-poverty.html

  • Guest 11:40 posted this in part:

    “Section 8 needs to be expanded. AND landlords who accept Section 8 should be made to keep rental units in good condition. They often (usually) do not. Landlords often collect steep rents on their Section 8 units (our tax dollars at work) but fail to maintain them.”

    Having been a landlord, I can tell you that rents certainly aren’t steep and barely cover a proportional share of the mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, tickets and other maintenance and upkeep of the apartment. Yes, there are slumlords out there, but as with any other business, when income doesn’t cover the “outgo” (expenses), services get cut. Since rent can’t be raised and the mortgage must be paid, maintenance and upkeep get deferred. Also, let me point out that although there are some good Section 8 tenants, a lot are “professional” tenants that will mess up a an apartment in good condition.

    There above are but a few reasons why landlords don’t accept Section 8 and Voucher programs in general.

    Sandy

  • 9:26 pm

    “Public Housing is neccessary, unfortunately, made even more so by recent higher housing costs…”

    The reason why housing costs are so high is because things like rent control, rent stabilization, apartments staying in families for generations and huge (sq. footage) apartments not following any type of market-based cost per sq. footage logic (i.e., someone in the projects paying less than $800 for a 3-bdrm) artificially depress supply so demand goes through the roof for “affordable housing”.

    Sandy

  • Monstrose Morris/Crown Heights Proud/Brower Park:

    As usual, when you are faced with a tough question, you simply refuse to speak.

    You ask what have I done for anyone lately? I am a social worker who has dedicated my career to helping others. That’s why I have little patience for people like you who talk a good game and demand action from others but are not willing to do the same if it requires personal sacrifice (i.e. $$$) on your part.

  • 10:10, that’s a load of horsehocky.

    By your own definition of one’s devotion to social action, as a social worker, then YOU should be living in the worst project or slum, in the worst neighborhood, in the worst conditions imaginable, to prove your commitment to the betterment of your clients. Perhaps you should also be an addict, a spousal abuser, jobless and uneducated. Of course, you are not, nor do I expect that from you, or think that you are less successful or dedicated to your clients because you have not lived what they live.

    Social activism, or caring about one’s fellow man, is not method acting. I don’t need to bankrupt myself to prove that I care. In fact, I can’t help anyone else if I can’t take care of myself. I don’t know why you keep harping on a course of action that you would never follow yourself.

    If you are indeed a dedicated social worker, then you should be glad of the commitment and work that others, including myself, are doing for the community. Again, and for the last time, you have absolutely no idea what I do with my social commitments,time and money, so how about putting your misplaced righteous indignation to good work, working on the causes you believe in, and let me work on mine, without this absurd pissing contest. I’m not in competition with you, nor am I required to justify or prove my social bona fides to you or anyone else, except my Creator.

  • faithful

    Good for you MM!!! I totally agree with you. I grew up in the projects and many times there are generations who reside there because they cannot afford anything. I consider myself fortunate because my children will grow up in their own home, not many people in the projects get that opportunity. As much as I would like to rent my apartments for $200, it’s just not feasible. I have to live too and there is no way I would be able to survive. Just because homeowners do not rent their apartments way below market rate or do not accept Section 8 doesn’t mean they are not productive in other ways when it comes to people who are less fortunate than they are.

    10:10 — Would you be a social worker if you weren’t paid? I don’t think so…and I wouldn’t expect you to be a social worker and not be paid. How would you survive? The same applies to us mom & pop homeowners. Our two and three family homes are not going to solve the problems that will be created if these projects become phased out.

  • Wow, Faithful and Montrose Morris….still reading this thread even though it’s off Crownstoner’s main front page already.

    I agree with you’all. This supposed S.W. is full of it. Hhhh… Frankly, between you’all, me and the Internet lamp post, many of the social workers I know and deal with don’t seem to know what in heck’s going on. Sometimes they are shockingly ignorant of how healthcare, Medicaid, Medicare, and social services operate and overlap or not…and are happy to get some pretty decent salaries.

    They’ve got their own issues as well like all of us.

    You see rather average intelligence people managing to get that 2-year MSW and then going out and unleashing their blahness on the populace. It reminds me of my friends and acquaintances who got MFAs. A two-year degree and you can go “teach” on the university level, go figure. Granted salaries for fine arts profs are not the same as those for computer science or engineering professors but still, it’s the only masters degree that can lead to a tenured university professorship. Sweet. And, some (read “MOST”) of those “art teachers” in the academy are worth less than nothing. Sad state of affairs. In fact, for boomers in certain art fields, there were no MFAs offered in the 60′s through the 80′s so some have gotten tenure with no masters. Even sweeter…

    All this blither and maybe I’m doing 10:10 a disservice. Maybe, 10:10 is a SW making 28K/year…

    Bye y’all!
    FG/GL

  • I know this topic is rather old, but I happened to come upon it when I was googling to get info on NYCHA. I currently live in the projects; Lafayette Gardens (LG) in Clinton Hill. I am not shocked at what I have read in this forum, and although I have not read it in its entirety, I have read most of your posts and I can only come up with one question.
    What IS the solution? Most of you are saying why this should be done or not be done, but I really haven’t seen anyone turn this into a discussion of solution. Someone asked for a latte. Why don’t you make it yourself Because the person that is making that latte for you definitely could not live in your world because you obviously believe that there is no need for affordable housing. Do you really think someone serving coffee can afford to live in a gluxorry condo? And being working class poor means you have no right to your own home? Even if it is just the projects, it’s better than a cold bench in the park, or perhaps on the stoop of your beautiful brownstone. If your car stops running, do you FIX it, or trash it? There is alot wrong with the projects, but there’s also alot of good things. It’s just that some things need fixin.’ So many children would be out in the cold if there were no projects, and probably in the foster care system as well. There are always some bad apples in a bushel, nothing is perfect in this world we live in. I have lived in this neighborhood since diapers (they didn’t have pampers back then) and witnessed many changes in fort greene/clinton hill, some good, some bad. I used to live in a brownstone, until I found out from the bank that the owners were taking my hard earned money and spending it on things other than the mortgage. The building was in foreclosure, the bank took it back, and I had to pack up my children and vacate the premises. This is MY nabe, I was here first! I stayed in the ‘hood through the good and the bad, so why should I have to leave? Nobody can say that relocating/moving is an easy task, even if you have the money to pay for all the expenses that come with it. And it’s not just about being able to afford to move. When you have lived somewhere for such a long time it is an emotional strain as well. My children are adults now and they all moved out of NY sooner than I care to say. Now I am alone, slightly disabled and NYCHA will soon be putting me up for a transfer to a smaller apt. I don’t want to leave my home. I put so much into it and created so many good memories and built some friendships in and out of the projects. I will probably lose most everything because I don’t have anyone to help me move, and I can’t afford to hire a moving company. If I were given the opportunity to own my home, that would be wonderful. Bottom line: I’m just as human as you are and if you had to live this way you would feel just as I do.
    I am all for change for the better. But not at the expense of another human beings demise. If we could put a black man in the white house, which nobody thought would ever happen, then we can improve the conditions in NYCHA.
    With that said, I’d like to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy, lucky New Year.
    Best regards,
    DrummerGirl

  • There are some valid points from both sides of the issue however, if you guys are still going to use Chicago as a evidence that tearing down public housing or selling off prime real estate housing, then you are not doing your homework. This bullet point proves the point of housing advocates. If I am reading the articles correctly, the data shows that all politicians in Chicago did was move the problem from one area to another. Also, crime did not decrease it increased. So….. come with facts that are at least in favor of your argument before you use them.
    As for handing the buildings to the tenants, that is called co-ops and there has been a history in NYC of these buildings failing and the city has to go and bring them back into the fold.

    My opinion on this topic is NYCHA needs to update thier system and bring talented people to manage the conglomorate of buildings. Centralization of the application process and localization of the day to day running.

    It’s called budgeting and allocations of resource prudently.

    Also, I think that they should look into green measures to help allivate many of the power and water usage. In turn lower utility costs. It saves money that can be used else where.

    Just a thought.