BY JOE MARVILLI
A City Councilman has expressed his frustration with a New York City Housing Authority policy called right sizing.
Right sizing is the process of making sure that NYCHA residents are living in an apartment that is not under-utilized or over-utilized. These rooms can be declared as such if there are either more or less bedrooms than the residents of that apartment need. Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) railed against the policy, saying that it is unfair to force people who have lived in the same home for decades to move.
At the Pomonok Senior Center in Flushing, representatives from NYCHA met with seniors to talk about right sizing, a procedure that many seniors were notified about by a letter in the mail. Carolyn Jasper, senior director for the lease enforcement dept. of NYCHA, went over the letter with the dozens of seniors who packed the center.
“This under-occupied letter says ‘When you first moved into your apartment, you were given an apartment large enough to accommodate your family size. A review of our records indicate that your family has gotten smaller and your apartment is too large. Now it is time to give another family who needs a larger apartment the chance to get one,’” she said. “‘Moving to the correct-sized apartment is not only a requirement of your lease, it is the right thing to do.’”
Jasper added that NYCHA would pay $350 towards any moving expenses for those who decide to give up their housing. NYCHA would also let the resident select any development in the City for their new home.
This portion of the presentation led to many murmurs and rumblings throughout the crowd.
Lancman was very upset at NYCHA about the right sizing policy.
“It’s awful. People have lived in their apartments for decades. Out of all the challenges NYCHA has I would think kicking elderly people out would be pretty far down their agenda,” he said. “NYCHA’s enthusiasm for this cruel policy has waxed and waned over the years. After years of expecting NYCHA to let this issue quietly die, we learn from residents that NYCHA has decided to turn up the heat.”
While NYCHA has said that fitting people to the correct-sized apartments will help decrease the waiting list for housing, Lancman argued that the solution is not to hurt other residents.
“George Orwell would be proud of the phrase ‘correct-sized apartment.’ If this policy is even contained in NYCHA’s lease and regulations, it is buried so deep that they are not aware of it for decades,” he said. “People are not cogs in the machine that you can move around looking for the best fit.”
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.