City Council Speaker backs seniors at risk of losing homes

New York City Hall
New York City Hall
Zach Williams

City Council Speaker backs seniors at risk of losing homes

Pushback followed the announcement that Homes for Homeless planned to sell the senior housing complex
December 12, 2019

A powerful ally has stepped up on behalf of seniors being displaced by the nonprofit operating their housing.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson admonished Homes for Homeless – which is affiliated with the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness – after it announced plans to sell its senior housing complex in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, the New York Post reports. The sale puts its 31 tenants at risk of homelessness – not a good look for an organization founded on helping the homeless. 

In response, Johnson and other elected officials sent a letter to the nonprofit’s CEO, Ralph da Costa Nunez, calling for a meeting.

“It is imperative that Homes for the Homeless provide its tenants with more information about the sale of the building, convene a tenant meeting with them to discuss alternatives and provide those who wish to find alternative accommodations with adequate time to do so,” the letter reads.  

The organization has argued that it has been running a deficit while operating the building, which has about one-third of its 80 units filled. 

In a city increasingly burdened by a lack of affordable housing, especially for the elderly, that argument may sound strange. About 200,000 low-income seniors remain on waiting lists for affordable housing offered under one federal program, according to LiveOn NY. Riverview tenants have disputed that the center – which also offers services such as housekeeping and social activities – failed to find interested potential residents. And they’re already concerned about what other options may be available if the sale comes to fruition.

The nonprofit has announced meetings with individual tenants to help relocate, possibly to its other senior residence on Staten Island. 

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.