Trellis Crew Report - What up with NYCHA?

These reports are provided by a growing group of young people, called the Trellis Reporters, who are encouraged and equipped to be in public spaces [community board meetings, precinct meetings, meetings on education and housing, city planning, etc]

The goal is to help them

  • Hear more about the issues facing their communities

  • Meet the people addressing these issues

  • Write reports and take pictures to share what they are learning through the perspective of being a young person of color in these communities

These students are paid for these reports as a way to empower and encourage them in these efforts. You can support them in this by donating HERE


What’s up with NYCHA

Read time ~ 9 minutes

January through June, once a month each of the public housing residents have a tenant meeting that allows the residents to hear from each other, police officers and elected officials. Recently, one of our crew, went to her first meeting

Going to that meeting was a good experience. The reason I said going to the meeting was a good experience is because I got to hear everyone’s opinion about what’s going on in the community. I agreed in most of the and I was kind of surprised that people were having the same problems as me. The people in the community just want people to be safe and have nice housings. We’ve been told that’s things will get better, but looking around I don’t see anything getting better, I see things getting worse. I also went up to talk about the problems that we are having in the community, most people agreed with me. I told them, don’t stop trying to make a change, don’t stop until your voice is heard because they will act like they don’t hear you but they do. Some people been giving up on our community and that’s not acceptable, we need to keep fighting until we heard by everyone, until we have more people on or side. I will trying to be one of those people to stand by these people sides and tell them not to give up and keep fighting. If people keep dropping and giving up, you letting them win and we don’t want that. we want to see change happening, we want to feel safe in our community not scared, we want to keep loving our community So I hope people keep fighting, and I hope to see a change.

Lainey Liriano is a sophomore at Brooklyn Lab charter school and a contributor to the Trellis Crew

In view of a host of issues facing NYCHA residents including mold, lead paint and safe drinking water [you can read more about some of these issues below]

it is vital for the residents to know their rights. One of our crew was recently at a Know Your Rights training put on by the Red Hook Initiative and here’s what they learned

At this meeting, I noticed that the people at the meeting were residents of Red Hook and somewhere listening and taking notes like me. Most of these people have been working in the Tenants Association and believed that nothing has changed since they first started. Residents claimed that they only received the full lease when they first initially moved into Red Hook, and their annual lease is only one page. Many residents concerns were that the different laws in Red Hook versus the police, for example, pit bulls being able to walk on the sidewalk without being walked. According to residents, police don’t have probable cause to approach owner if the pit bull has a leash and sanitation is being picked up. Also from 2017-2018, Red Hook West adopted budget was $80,000 for tenant participation. Unfortunately last year the money was not spent effectively and residents are tired of playing the blame game and want to create a new team of tenants that want to actually help Red Hook. The role of a tenant participation is to encourage resident engagement and help with self-sufficient activities such as gaining skills for Family Day. Last year, residents say that community and financial reports were not made because the members of the Residents Association were only involved because of the money they were receiving. This year they want the best people to see fit to be apart of the tenant participation and those who are willing to advocate for Red Hook. Improvements like advertising the meetings more because very limited flyers were put up in Rd Hook about the meeting. Also creating a list of repairs needed to be created for NYCHA residents and recording how much got done, since NYCHA repairs have not been priority and residents are furious. Last but not least advocating for Red Hook is needed because all residents are experiencing the same thing since they are trying to kick out residents and dump them in places like the Bronx and Brownsville. Advocating and talking these concerns helps start a conversation not only with adults but also for people like me who is leaving for college and want to ensure that just because you live in NYCHA doesn’t mean that you don’t have a voice.

Anaya Lino-Suazo is a graduating senior from Brooklyn Prospect Charter and a member of the Trellis Crew

With all the issues and concerns that our NYCHA neighbors have, the Housing Authority has been out in the community hosting meetings to provide opportunity for the residents to voice their concerns, ask questions and meet the people in charge of dealing with the problems. One of these meetings happened in Fort Greene and two of our crew were there.

As I walked in the Fort Greene Community center I passed by a Pix 11 van just propped up outside, I walked in and walked by so many news reporters and I felt true inspiration. I almost felt a rush of competitiveness course through my body, maybe because I knew I was here with a purpose to give a better report than any official could. The competitiveness in me drove me to immediately pull out my camera and get right to the pictures and capture as much as possible. I’ve encountered many senior citizens from my neighborhood Wyckoff Gardens, and they were surprisingly happy to see me. The environment in here feels as if The committee is more open to listening than Talking.

The committee Addressed important issues right away. After all the government officials and representatives were announced we just right into the issue of elevators not working, lead and mold problems in peoples houses. “Success isn’t trying to trip NYCHA up, it’s trying to get everything to work. Success isn’t making NYCHA the best public housing in America, it’s about making it as clean and correct for you.”

A fellow community member shared a friendly conversion with me, as she expressed her confusion towards not knowing who was speaking and how they should have stood up to address the crowd.
“ It’s a team effort. We all have to do our jobs” - Commitee Representative said, as he also expressed his feeling on how we shouldn’t be having this meeting in secret.
As this was very helpful to hear because I’m a resident in NYCHA, I also feel as if it’s easy for these representatives to talk about the issues but I have not yet to fully understand the Solutions towards these issues. It was helpful to actually hear Issues finally be spoken on, these are some issues (lead, mold, broken elevators) I deal with everyday as a resident. It was very intriguing to hear that these problems we NYCHA residents face everyday aren’t going unheard but, I believe this meeting wasn’t for no reason. I believe in the progression.

Reporter observations:

People only get one question each

Not much humor but lots of genuine conversation flowing

More black people than white

No teens besides my fellow co reporter

Khalil Baxter is a senior at City-As-School High School and a member of the Trellis Crew

At the Fort Greene community meeting I was stunned at how many residents showed up. It’s very rare that residents come out but I was very happy that they did because residents are apart of the process. There was a panel of people in which they were to help better NYCHA ranging from local residents to firefighters. It was interesting to hear from different perspectives involved where residents blame NYCHA and the panel gave responses about what they would do in the future. One lady pointed out their needs to be mutual respect with both tenants and NYCHA. There have been policies put in place where inspections needs to be done and inspections for kids under 6 years old. Also that residents rents weren’t being calculated properly therefore residents were being ordered to appear in court. There weren't a lot of answers being given more residents complaining, but how many times are we going to do this? There were outcries from the audience and you could see the frustration many residents had with NYCHA. There seems to be a lot of meetings were discussing the issues yet no actions has been done in public housing to seek change. These were one of many issues apart from water quality and lead and mold. There needs to be training put in place for residents because we are the ones that live here and we are apart of the process. I hope that change is in the near future and help these residents because it is long over due.

Anaya Lino-Suazo is a graduating senior from Brooklyn Prospect Charter and a member of the Trellis Crew