There’s been a shake-up in the resident leadership of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), with Reginald Bowman, the long-time president of its tenant association network, being forced out.
Tenants at the 328 public housing developments in New York City have the right to form Tenant Associations, whose officers are elected by residents. Each individual TA belongs to one of nine districts, and the TA president vote on nine presidents to represent them in the Citywide Council of Presidents (CCOP), which in turn selects a president. Since 2007, that’s been Bowman.
Gregarious in person and eloquent in his defense of public housing, Bowman discouraged TA leaders from working with outside organizers to engage the public housing community and create political power, although he did begin inviting outsiders in last year. Many Tenant Association presidents complained that Bowman was not receptive to their needs and requests. Bowman also supported some NYCHA policies, like infill development, that other TA presidents resisted.
Vic Bach, a senior housing policy analyst at the Community Service Society (CSS), has high hopes for a shake up in CCOP leadership. “We’re looking forward to better engagement with CCOP and to more openness,” he told City Limits.
Bowman, who lives at Seth Lowe Houses in in Brownsville, has been a member of CCOP since 1995 and was in his third term as president. Vice President Ann Cotton Morris has taken his place.
The move comes at a critical time for the country’s largest and oldest public housing authority, which faces a severe fiscal and repairs crisis. In the past six months, NYCHA has issued a comprehensive strategy to save itself, sold several buildings to a public-private consortium, been scolded by a judge for failing to abide by settlement terms regarding mold remediation, had a respected community group call for the chairwoman’s ouster, and unveiled plans for building new housing at existing public housing campuses.