“Right now, NYCHA is the slumlord of New York City. And we must say ‘No más (no more), no más, no más!’” said State Sen. Jesse Hamilton, at a Friday morning press conference held in the downstairs lobby of Howard Houses in Brownsville.
Tenant rights for NYCHA residents, particularly the elderly and mobility impaired, was the focus of Hamilton’s press conference, where he was joined by Carmen Matias, the 61-year-old woman who recently caught the press’s attention after the city moved to evict the 30-year tenant of Howard Houses for failing to pay $581 and missing a court hearing.
Ultimately, the judge said the city Housing Authority was being “unnecessarily harsh,” gave her a new hearing and appointed a guardian to help her with her case.
“Just imagine if someone tried to evict your mother after 30 years, or your aunt or your sister?” said Hamilton. “How would you feel? This resonates with everyone, because it’s unconscionable.”
Hamilton announced he would be introducing “First Offer for the Vulnerable” Bill, legislation that will provide mobility impaired tenants, the elderly and those who speak English as a second language the “first offer” on vacant apartments in lower floors.
Also joining Hamilton and Matias at the press conference was Alicka Ampry-Samuel, chief of staff for Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, housing advocates and community residents.
“Why do we have certain windows painted black by NYCHA? Why aren’t our staircases lit? Why do we have mold in our walls in our houses? Why does it take so long for NYCHA to respond to any complaints? It makes no sense,” said Hamilton.
“Brownsville is a beautiful place. The tenants here are hardworking people. People work hard every day to make a better life for themselves. And no one who is disabled or a senior should be evicted at all.”