THE BRONX - A group of public housing residents are ready to protest an annual plan by the New York City Housing Authority to raise rents.

The rent hike plan is to be announced at a hearing Wednesday night. Tenants of housing projects from around the city claim the NYCHA is balancing its budget at the expense of the city?s poor.

Residents say the NYCHA could find other ways to raise money, such as filling vacant apartments and stopping the practice of outsourcing service and building maintenance contracts.

The tenants also oppose plans to close community centers.

Under federal law, the NYCHA is obligated to open Wednesday?s meeting to the public. However, residents say there is no law or regulation that would require the board to follow any of their recommendations or heed their advice.

The protesters, which include local community leaders and members of the Bronx-based group ?Mothers on the Move,? say they will attend the hearing, which will be held in Manhattan, and then hold a news conference.