Community clashes over Fulton and Elliot-Chelsea Houses redevelopment plan
Tensions ran high as residents and community members clashed over the proposed redevelopment plans for Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea Houses at a recent NYCHA environmental review process meeting. The meeting, aimed at gathering public input and scrutiny on the future of these housing complexes, saw passionate arguments from both supporters and opponents of the project.
The proposed plan aims to replace buildings across the complex, providing new housing for nearly 4,500 NYCHA residents. Officials stressed that community involvement is crucial.
"We expect a lot of input, we hope it’s robust and looking forward to input from the community that will help us make a better project," said Jonathan Gouveia, executive vice president for real estate development at NYCHA.
While there was support there were vehement objections to the plans. Concerns were raised about potential displacement and its impact on vulnerable residents.
"I don’t agree with this. This is going to affect a lot of old people. We already have homelessness as it is," expressed Alexa Cruz, a long-time resident of Chelsea Houses.
I pay my taxes. I do the right thing. I pay my rent and right now I’m looking like I have no choice it’s going to be taken over by private developers,” said Cruz.
Echoing similar sentiments, Marni Halasa, a Chelsea activist, warned of looming displacement.
“They’re going to be rescreened and they’re not going to be able to come back and that’s historically been shown with Cabrini Green in Chicago, with Prospect Plaza in Brooklyn. These are the things that happen when public housing is demolished the tenants never return,” said Halasa.
In contrast, residents, like Ramiro Morales, showcased their support for the redevelopment plans, citing urgent housing needs. Morales, displaying numerous work order tickets for lack of hot water in his apartment, emphasized the dire living conditions faced by many residents.
"I’m going through an unlivable and unacceptable way of living... Sometimes there's no hot water for two or three days. I would like a rebuilding for the development," shared Morales
Lechelle, a resident of Fulton Houses, echoed the sentiment.
“I'm living this, we’re getting an opportunity - I don’t have nowhere else to go, I can't go and just buy a house somewhere,” said Lechelle.
NYCHA officials informed News 12 that the environmental review process is expected to take several months, with environmental clearance anticipated by fall 2024, triggering the next phase of public review.