Chelsea Working Group recommends $366 million to repair public housing in neighborhood

Elliott-Chelsea Houses
Elliott-Chelsea Houses.
Photo by Dean Moses

On Feb. 23, the Chelsea NYCHA Working Group along with the Tenant Association Presidents of Fulton Houses and Elliott-Chelsea Houses announced their final, comprehensive report regarding recommendations of the funds that should be spent for much needed repairs within several Manhattan public housing units. 

The working group, an organization led by residents, is also comprised of local tenant associations, resident representatives, elected officials, Community Board 4, housing advocates, NYCHA, and members of the Mayor’s Office. Members spent more than a year compiling data that determined $366 million is required to address critical repairs for approximately 2,073 NYCHA units in the Fulton, Chelsea, Chelsea Addition, and Elliott Houses. 

“Today is a significant moment for how we ensure NYCHA residents are at the heart of planning for our futures. I am proud to have been part of the Working Group and am grateful to my fellow participants for giving their time to helping identify a path forward for achieving long overdue repairs,” said Fulton Houses Tenant Association President Miguel Acevedo. “Going into this process, we didn’t know what to expect, especially with demolition on the table. To release this final plan, keeping our buildings intact, our rights preserved and futures secured, the NYCHA residents in Chelsea finally have something great to look forward to.” 

In the spring of 2019, the Chelsea Working Group was developed after the community objected to NYCHA’s proposal to demolish a portion of the Fulton Houses. Ongoing conversations with residents led to the creation of the working group to provide input and determine just where and how much money  should be allocated in repairs. 

“This is an exciting moment to see real, resident-led change come to NYCHA and my neighbors who have suffered long enough. We have created a plan that will address urgent concerns without sacrificing our dignity or rights,” said Elliott-Chelsea Houses Tenant Association President Darlene Waters. “Thanks to our partners, especially the housing advocates and elected officials, who fought alongside us to make this happen.

After approximately 18 months of weekly meetings, the amalgamation of diverse individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds worked together to determine key points that Chelsea NYCHA’s buildings need to focus on repairing. 

The Working Group was determined to safeguard and expand tenant rights both current and future, which included a 99-year lease with the development team. In protecting residents, they are calling for rents to be capped at 30% of income or the contract rent in order to protect tenants whose home may be converted through the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program.

In addition, the group wants to create a continued engagement so that community input will always be involved in the NYCHA renovation processes. 

Their main concern was demolition, which the Working Group hoped to avoid, according to a press release on their concerns.

“Additionally, the report asserts that development of any residential infill sites should balance maximum revenue for capital renovations while respecting the NYCHA campus and neighborhood context and providing a range of additional affordable units while minimizing market rate units. Revenue generated from infill development will be targeted to critical repairs, including new kitchens and bathrooms for all current public housing units, new elevators, new and more resilient heat and hot water systems, increased security measures and bring the buildings up to current flood protection standards, among other improvements,” the press release read. 

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