Melissa Speaks at the Committee on Finance & Public Housing Hearing

housinghearing1NYCHA’s Section 8 housing subsidies have been drastically cut by $205 million because of  the federal sequester, which will lead in 500 lay-offs, a hiring freeze, community center closures, and program cuts.  This travesty is just part of the bigger picture, which Melissa talked about earlier in the Chambers of City Hall during the Committee on Finance & Public Housing hearing that took place this morning. The Republican party is holding our nation hostage because of politics and preventing our President from moving his agenda forward. We need to come together as a city and tell Congress that we will not allow our community to suffer.

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Learn About the Mott Haven Choice Neighborhood Initiative on Saturday and Next Wednesday

If you live, go to school, do business, or provide services in Mott Haven – we have great news for you! Mott Haven has been selected for the Choice Neighborhood Initiative to transform the neighborhood by improving job opportunities, public safety, education, health, housing, and more.

Come learn how to be part of the initiative at one of the kick-off events — you can come at 2 PM on Saturday, April 20, or at 6 PM on Wednesday, April 24. See more details in the flyer below (la versión en español también esta adjunta). Everyone is welcome: residents, students, parents, business owners, local organizations, churches, etc. Light refreshments will be served. See you there!

CN - Community Kick-off Meeting flyer.English

Join NYCHA For Their Infill Development Meetings: Washington & Douglass Houses

NYCHA has already held their first public meeting about “Infill Development” at Carver Houses this week, but there are two additional upcoming meetings – one at the Washington Houses and the other at the Douglass Houses. NYCHA is proposing to lease their land to private developers so that they can create ’80-20′ housing  (80% market-rate and 20% affordable/low-income) that will fill critical budget shortfalls and meet its capital obligations. This is an opportunity for residents and community members to ask questions and express their opinions before NYCHA submits their Request for Proposals (RFPs) for their target properties by the end of April. If approved, this will impact District 8 residents and community members of Carver, Washington and Douglass Houses, and the surrounding community. 

While NYCHA is not privatizing the developments or taking anyone’s apartments away, this is an important community issue, and we encourage all concerned residents to attend this meeting.

WASHINGTON HOUSES:

This Thursday, March 14, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, NYCHA will be at the Union Settlement Association’s White Community Center (237 East 104th Street, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues) to speak about their infill development proposal for two sites affecting Washington Houses’ residents:

  1. Southeast Corner of East 99th Street & 3rd Avenue (Parking Lot & Community Center)
  2. North Side of East 99th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues (East of El Barrio Artspace PS109)

NYCHA

DOUGLASS HOUSES I & II:

Next Thursday, March 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, NYCHA will be at the Douglass Community Center/Children’s Aid Society (885 Columbus Avenue on 104th Street) to speak about their infill development proposal of three sites affecting Douglass Houses residents:

  1. West 104th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus (Parking Lot)
  2. West 100th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus (Parking Lot, Garden and Play Area)
  3. Manhattan Avenue between West 101st & 102nd Streets (Parking Lot)

NYCHA douglass

Melissa Celebrates Breaking Ground at The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning

Melissa joined Harlem RBI , Jonathan Rose Companies, Enterprise, NYCHANYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Housing Development Corporation, Chase, and the New York Yankee’s Mark Teixeira in celebrating the groundbreaking of The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning today.

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Official NYC Council Photograph by William Alatriste

The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning is located on 104th Street, between Second and Third Avenues on the land within the Washington Houses complex. Thanks to additional Participatory Budgeting funding, Harlem RBI’s K-8 DREAM Charter School will have a permanent home in this new development – and a 54,000-square-foot home to boot. Joining the DREAM Charter School at The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning will be 11-stories that consist of 89 affordable housing units and 6,000-square-feet of non-profit office space. The housing component of this project will be named Yomo Toro Houses, after the legendary Puerto Rican musician who died in July 2012.

The development will further serve the East Harlem community, where the unemployment rate is 16.8% and a median income of $23,000 per year, by providing jobs at Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School. There will be additional benefits to NYCHA residents of Washington Houses, including a 50% set-aside for the children of Washington Houses for the Harlem RBI charter school enrollment lottery and new playground equipment and trash compactors.

“Harlem RBI continues to find new and innovative ways to help make El Barrio/East Harlem a better place for our youth and families,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This groundbreaking is an incredible milestone on a project that will provide so many benefits to our neighborhood from affordable housing, to improved community space and parkland for El Barrio/East Harlem residents. I thank Harlem RBI for their continued commitment to East Harlem, as well as Jonathan Rose Companies, the Yankees’ Mark Texeira, and of course all the city agencies involved in making this project happen.”

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Official NYC Council Photographs by William Alatriste

The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning’s affordable apartments are scheduled to open in August 2014, with the school and office facilities opening for the 2014-2015 school year. To read more about The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning, click here.

Melissa Visits the East River & Metro North Houses

Yesterday, Melissa visited NYCHA’s East River and Metro North Houses. Although some of the buildings are still without power and hot water, we are very thankful for NYCHA and Con Edison’s extensive work to make sure that NYCHA residents across New York City will have their power restored shortly.  NYCHA has announced that once building systems are restored, they will be able to focus on proper clean up and recovery efforts.

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Melissa Celebrates Publicolor Day by Revitalizing an East Harlem Community Facility

Since Mayor Bloomberg’s 2006 proclamation, every fall we celebrate Publicolor Day. Publicolor Day recognizes the Publicolor organization and their volunteers that prove that something as simple as color and design can make a deep and positive impact on struggling communities. Publicolor engages high-risk students, ages 12-21, in their education by offering a range of design-based programs and academic support. They are dedicated to revitalizing public and civic spaces by beautifying them with paint. Every Publicolor Day, the organization selects NYC public spaces to transform and East Harlem was fortunate enough to be home of one of the space’s chosen for this year’s Publicolor Day.

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The Lehman Community Center in East Harlem got a much needed color lift thanks to all of Publicolor’s staff, volunteers and students, along with Melissa, Assemblyman Robert J. Rodriguez, NYCHA Chairman John Rhea, NYCHA residents, community activists, and union professionals from Laborers’ Local 79, 100 Black Construction Workers, Nontraditional Employment for Women and District Council 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. We feel extremely fortunate to have been able to participate in such a positive and colorful day. To find out more about Publicolor and ways you can get involved, please visit their website.

Learn About Being a Responsible Pet Owner this Saturday at the Launch of “There is No Poop Fairy in East Harlem” Campaign

It’s undeniable, we love our pets – but there is no excuse for not cleaning up after our dogs. Not only is it offensive to our sense of smell when dog waste is left on the street, but it contains harmful bacteria, pollutes groundwater, and sticks around for a long time. Stepping in it is more than just a nuisance – it’s an opportunity to spread bacteria to your home. Please help keep our neighborhood free of poop piles by joining us in the launch of this important public service health campaign, “There is No Poop Fairy in East Harlem,” this Saturday, August 25. Enjoy a day of six different informative and free workshops, and also get a chance to win a physical examination for your pet at Oliver’s Dog & Cat Clinic of East Harlem, a PetSmart gift certificate or doggie goodie bags; and of course there will be free biodegradable poop bags.

Celebrity Groomer to the Stars, Jorge Bendersky come by to discuss the importance of properly grooming your pet. ASPCA will be joining us to provide free or low cost spay/neuter services as well as providing free tick/flea prevention, rabies and distemper shots. NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene will be administering dog licenses and Animal Care and Control of NYC will be sharing the benefits of the feral cat Catch and Release Program. Come join the discussion about being a pet owner in a NYCHA development and reacquaint yourself with the much improved Jefferson Park Dog Run. For the complete schedule, see below.

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jorge Bendersky, ASPCA, Jefferson Park Dog Run Committee, Animal Care and Control of NYC, New York City Housing Authority, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and Search and Care.

WHAT: There is No Poop Fairy in East Harlem Campaign

WHEN: Saturday, August 25, 2012 – 10 AM to 1 PM

WHERE: Thomas Jefferson Park Recreation Center – 112th Street and First Avenue (dogs are not permitted inside the Center)

To attend the workshops or learn more about the different ways in which you can volunteer, please call 212-828-9800. We hope to see you there!

Melissa Comments on the Calls for a Federal Investigation of NYCHA

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is under the microscope right now by some elected officials and the media. Melissa released the following statement yesterday in response to these recent reports:

“With all of the challenges facing NYCHA, we as local elected officials and advocates for public housing need to be constructive in expressing our concerns and seeking real solutions,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “In the context of this Republican Congress, which would like nothing more than to dismantle one of the largest remaining housing authorities in our nation, now is not the time to call for a federal investigation of NYCHA. In a city that has grown too expensive and now has the highest income disparity in the nation, NYCHA serves as an important stabilizing force, as the cornerstone of affordable housing in New York City. Clearly, we want all of our agencies to function effectively and efficiently, but we must not lose sight of how these sensational news stories, and the political response they have provoked, could serve to undermine all the work that still needs to be done to improve the lives of NYCHA’s 400,000 residents.”

The fact is that in the past three years, NYCHA has been making progress on many important issues, including: addressing the work order backlog, federalizing and preserving 20,000 units, enhancing employment and empowerment opportunities for residents, wisely investing stimulus funding, developing a “Green Agenda” and planning for the future. It was also during these past three years that they spent about $1.5 billion for a number of vital initiatives, including: completing the 75,000 repair work orders in more than 16,000 apartments citywide, $400 million in capital improvements such as brick work, elevator modernizations, boiler and electrical system upgrades and the creation of 3,200 jobs for New Yorkers. NYCHA has been actively working on empowering their residents with connecting them to jobs through the proven Jobs-Plus programs. That included over 500 members of our communities of East Harlem and the South Bronx.

Despite continuous federal cuts, NYCHA is working hard to have their Operating deficit completely eliminated in 2015-2016. We applaud NYCHA’s efforts to preserve and protect New York City public housing despite all of the cuts that they have endured.