The push by the New York City Housing Authority to develop new housing on its territory has been faulted not just on the merits of the deal but also on the methods the authority is using to get it done.
Critics like Councilman Ritchie Torres have accused NYCHA of failing to really engage residents over the planned construction, which is aimed at creating income-targeted housing as well as generating revenue to close the authority’s massive budget deficit. NYCHA has blasted back that its level of outreach around what it calls NextGen Neighborhoods has been unprecedented. City Limits reported last month that residents at one of the NextGen sites, Wyckoff Gardens in Brooklyn, were worried that the authority would pick a developer for that site before a promised residents’ committee had a chance to weigh in.
On Wednesday NYCHA announced that it was forming stakeholder committees at the Wyckoff Gardens and Holmes Towers sites, where the plan is for a 50/50 market-rate/affordable split. (A separate NYCHA infill development program, featuring 100 percent affordable housing, is slated for Ingersoll Van Dyke and Mill Brook Houses.)
According to a NYCHA statement:
“…[E]ach site will have a Stakeholder Committee, and it will be comprised of, at a minimum, three residents from each building—including at least one youth (ages 18-24), one senior resident (ages 64+), and one general resident (no age requirement) to ensure a diversity of perspectives; as well as one Resident Association member, one non-NYCHA resident from the community, and 5-7 representatives from community-based organizations, advocacy groups, and elected officials.
NYCHA says the committees “will inform the character of the residential/commercial mix at sites, the pros and cons of building locations, and the look and feel (that is, the design and landscape) of the new construction” as well as “guide NYCHA in determining priorities for capital repairs in their buildings, which will occur concurrently with new construction.”
To be eligible, one must “be a current NYCHA resident in good standing” who is available five to 10 hours a month and can commit to participating for one year. Applications are found here.