20 Last Families Urged To Move Out

Christopher Peak Photo Across from Union Station, the once busy Church Street South apartment complex feels like an eerie maze. Bugs swirl around illegally dumped heaps of garbage and rubber tires; weeds attempt to break through the asphalt. On the outskirts, by the cinderblock walls, youngsters sit on corner stoops smoking marijuana and catcalling at passersby. Inside the labyrinth, a group of scuffed-up guys carrying backpacks and rolling suitcases dodged into entryways, trying to remain out of sight.

Most of the 301 families who once lived there are gone, chased out by dangerous living conditions festering under the management of a government-subsidized private owner. But, long after the place was supposed to be empty of humans and torn down to make way for a bigger mixed-use complex, 20 families remain in the partially demolished, mold-ridden crumbling old version — and officials are urging them to hurry up and find new homes elsewhere.

Officials delivered that message in a meeting with nine of those families in the second-floor community space of the federally subsidized complex. The meeting was called largely to address security concerns for the remaining families until they finally find new homes.

Plans are in the works for five tenants to move into other rent-subsidized housing in the region. Another 15 residents received highly coveted “tenant protection vouchers” through Section 8, a federal rent subsidy that works almost anywhere on the private market, so there was hardly a reason why they should still be in Church Street South, the officials reminded attendees.

Nudging them out the door, the officials intimated that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could decide to pull the Section 8 rent vouchers if they don’t use it to relocate soon. But officials also chose not to give the last families a deadline by which they have to be out.

“What else can we do? As of now, most of the development is empty. As the summer comes, we don’t want this to turn into a health and safety issue for you,” Jocelyn Barsczewski, the relocation manager for Glendower Group, the Housing Authority of New Haven’s development arm, asked those in attendance. “Some of you have had [the voucher] for six months, a year. That’s sufficient time to identify a unit.

“I personally have shown you units. Is it a matter of scheduling? Is it that it’s at certain times? Do you want to go with someone else? We need to come up with a plan to secure a place.”

Officials originally vowed to help all the complex’s families find new homes by ... Christmas 2015.

Mary Sayles, for one, said she’s been wanting very much to move but hasn’t yet found the right place. She is hoping this week to win approval for a new apartment.

Sayles, who has asthma, spent her high school years at Church Street South before moving back again seven years ago. She said she has been looking for a place where she can breathe.

“Me and my grandkids and my daughter, we’re all asthmatics, so we can’t have rugs in the house. A couple of apartments that we did see, it was nice, but we just couldn’t take it,” said Sayles, holding an inhaler in one hand. Wednesday, HUD is scheduled to look over the four-bedroom apartment she wants on West Ivy Street. Two prior rental locations she’d found failed the inspections.

“I’m just ready to move,” she said. “I’m gonna miss it, but it’s time to go. They’re knocking it down, and I’m leaving.”

Serena Neal-Sanjurjo, executive director of the Livable City Initiative, New Haven government’s anti-blight agency, added that if tenants don’t get out soon, they’ll likely have to move within the site, clustering everyone left into one area. “You cannot be scattered across the complex,” she said.

The remaining families at Church Street South skipped waiting lists and won special portable Section 8 vouchers that can help them transition to living on the private rental market — whether in New Haven, Chicago, Honolulu, Miami or Guam, as Barsczewski reminded those who showed up for the meeting. (Tenants living at the complex had “site-based” subsidies, meaning the subsidies stayed with the apartment after tenants left. To ease the relocation, HUD made portable subsidies available, that tenants can take with them.)

“People have been waiting for years and years for what you have. You have the opportunity through no fault of your own,” she said. “Please do not jeopardize your voucher. I cannot stress that enough. This is an opportunity I don’t want anyone to miss out on.”

A few of the last holdouts said they’d been having problems identifying units that meet their specific needs in a highly impacted market. The most common problem? Finding an apartment that’s big enough to house their family.

But other minor issues — no rugs or carpeting for Sayles, or no flights of stairs for Sandra Acevedo, whose mother is having a knee replacement — have also limited the options.

“There’s not a lot of volume out there,” said realtor Sandy Sauro, who’s helping families identify options. After scouring Craigslist, Zillow and private listings for units as well as taking calls from larger local poverty landlords, like Pike International, Sauro takes the tenants on showingsof potential apartments. Glendower also sets up the tenants with security deposits, boxes and movers to ease the transition.

(In addition to the vouchers, a separate deal worked out between the city and Northland Investment Corp., Church Street South’s owner, preserved 82 units of “project-based” subsidies fixed at one site, Beechwood Gardens on Whalley Avenue, where state funding keeps rents at $600. But those units aren’t yet available. Legal aid lawyers, too, believe that Northland’s investment choice isn’t in keeping with an agreement all the parties worked out to direct HUD’s subsidies toward building new affordable housing or converting market-rate units. “There’s two pieces to this housing crisis that have to be dealt with. Half of that is relocation of the tenants, and the other half is replacement brick-and-mortar housing,” said Amy Marx, a staff attorney with New Haven Legal Assistance Association. “We will insist that Northland is not allowed to rebuild, in any way, until it vests these $3.7 million in subsidies,” which should fund around 250 units. Otherwise, New Haven risks losing those units, if HUD’s subsidies roll back to Washington, she stressed.)

One elderly woman who’s hard of hearing, Patricia Mitchell, is the last occupant of her otherwise boarded-up court; others still have up to four families in a courtyard. Before the meeting Tuesday evening, resident Lateisha Parker sat outside on a chair while a visiting friend grilled hamburgers, ribs and sausage. Over in another section, kids played in a graffitied jungle gym — the last signs of vibrancy in the otherwise-abandoned complex.

Previous coverage of Church Street South:
Church St. South Transfers 82 Section 8 Units
Tenants Seek A Ticket Back Home
City Teams With Northland To Rebuild
Church Street South Tenants’ Tickets Have Arrived
Church Street South Demolition Begins
This Time, Harp Gets HUD Face Time
Nightmare In 74B
Surprise! Now HUD Flunks Church St. South
Church St. South Tenants Get A Choice
Home-For-Xmas? Not Happening
Now It’s Christmas, Not Thanksgiving
Pols Enlist In Church Street South Fight
Raze? Preserve? Or Renew?
Church Street South Has A Suitor
Northland Faces Class-Action Lawsuit On Church Street South
First Attempt To Help Tenants Shuts Down
Few Details For Left-Behind Tenants
HUD: Help’s Here. Details To Follow
Mixed Signals For Church Street South Families
Church St. South Families Displaced A 2nd Time — For Yale Family Weekend
Church Street South Getting Cleared Out
200 Apartments Identified For Church Street South Families
Northland Asks Housing Authority For Help
Welcome Home
Shoddy Repairs Raise Alarm — & Northland Offer
Northland Gets Default Order — & A New Offer
HUD, Pike Step In
Northland Ordered To Fix Another 17 Roofs
Church Street South Evacuees Crammed In Hotel
Church Street South Endgame: Raze, Rebuild
Harp Blasts Northland, HUD
Flooding Plagues Once-Condemned Apartment
Church Street South Hit With 30 New Orders
Complaints Mount Against Church Street South
City Cracks Down On Church Street South, Again
Complex Flunks Fed Inspection, Rakes In Fed $$
Welcome Home — To Frozen Pipes
City Spotted Deadly Dangers; Feds Gave OK
No One Called 911 | “Hero” Didn’t Hesitate
“New” Church Street South Goes Nowhere Fast
Church Street South Tenants Organize

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 12, 2017  10:12am

Most of the 301 families who once lived there are gone, chased out by dangerous living conditions festering under the management of a government-enabled slumlord.

They were also chased out by the gentrification vampires and with the help of Sellout Treasonous Judas Goat leaders.This is nothing more then gentrification and displacement on poor and working people.And for those who think they are coming back. Forget it.This is who will be taking your place.

The Whites Are Coming! The Whites Are Coming!: Gentrification Surging in U.S. Cities

Submitted by Glen Ford on Tue, 09/29/2015
When Wall Street sets its collective minds and money to the task of gentrification, urban populations move – rapidly! In just the past four years, a white tide has significantly raised the numbers of Caucasians in almost half of U.S. cities, on top of large increases in white settlement during the previous decade. The window is rapidly closing on “chocolate cities.”Twenty-one of the 50 biggest cities in the country have added significant white populations over the past four years.”

https://blackagendareport.com/whites_are_coming_surge_in_gentrification

My bad. To my Black and Latino Brothers and Sisters of the Hoods and the EL Barrios of New Haven who think that the gentrification vampires will not be coming for you. Read this.

A Puerto Rican enclave in Brooklyn confronts the realities of rising prices and gentrification.

Outside the gates a dozen or so people are protesting. They wave giant black flags that read “No Displacement.”

https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-08-29/puerto-rican-enclave-brooklyn-confronts-realities-rising-prices-and

Part one

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 12, 2017  10:17am

Part two

Also this will be next for those who rent.

Preferential Rent’: How Landlords Kill NYC’s Affordable Apartments and Get Away With It
by Steven Wishnia
July 6, 2017

Ruth Hippolyte thought she’d gotten a good deal when she found a rent-stabilized one-bedroom apartment near Brooklyn College for $1,395 a month in late 2013. It was low enough that her teacher’s salary could cover both her rent and her son’s college education.

There was a catch, however. Her lease said that the rent was a “preferential rent,” and that the legal rent was $2,204. When it came up for renewal in 2015, a year when the maximum increase allowed on rent-stabilized apartments was 2 percent, her rent jumped almost 30 percent, to $1,800. This year, facing another increase that could be more than $400, Hippolyte’s looking to move.

https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/07/06/preferential-rent-how-landlords-kill-nycs-affordable-apartments-and-get-away-with-it/

And for you store owners downtown.This will be you.

A Holdout Delays a Developer’s Latest High-Rise Dream

Mr. Solow, a billionaire who turns 89 this month and is now in a hurry, hired Skidmore Owings & Merrill to design a sleek 54-story hotel and condominium tower to take its place on what has become known as Billionaires’ Row.There is a problem, however. The owners of Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques, and the largest remaining tenant at 10 West 57th Street, do not want to go. They contend that they have a valid lease and do not want to leave what they believe is a fabulous location, near the plush Bulgari store and opposite Bergdorf Goodman.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/04/nyregion/sheldon-solow-57th-street.html?smid=fb-share

Gentrification Town

https://youtu.be/b5vfGvqO5SA

posted by: LookOut on July 12, 2017  3:32pm

1.  Why would people stay in this dump when they have vouchers in hand?  Come on.

2. It does appear that many of the downtrodden neighborhoods of New Haven are beginning to sees the benefits of gentrification.  This is exciting news for residents of all races and economic classes.  Check out this CNN story

http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/12/news/economy/gentrification-may-help-poor-people/index.html

If New Haven can just speed up its gentrification, we will be in great shape.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 12, 2017  4:48pm

posted by: LookOut on July 12, 2017 3:32pm

1.  Why would people stay in this dump when they have vouchers in hand?  Come on.

A lot of those people with the vouchers are finding a hard time looking for a apartment that will take the vouchers.

2. It does appear that many of the downtrodden neighborhoods of New Haven are beginning to sees the benefits of gentrification.  This is exciting news for residents of all races and economic classes.  Check out this CNN story

Check this out

7 Reasons Why Gentrification Hurts Communities of Color

http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/gentrification-communities-of-color/

Gentrify This? The Dark Side of Gentrification

Gentrification, sometimes hiding behind the pleasant term “urban renewal”, results when wealthier individuals purchase or rent property in low-income and working class communities and alter the neighborhood, often driving up property taxes and housing values.  Most often associated with urban neighborhood change through the migration of more affluent persons into poorer neighborhoods, gentrification increases the average area income and frequently decreases average family size.  Poorer long-time residents (poor, elderly, working class, and minorities) are displaced due to their inability to afford increased property taxes, rising housing prices, and far higher rents brought on by gentrification.

https://rowanfreepress.com/2012/11/22/gentrify-this-the-dark-side-of-gentrification/

posted by: LookOut on July 12, 2017  8:11pm

@threefifths

1.  The article states that the vouchers are portable.  If they make an effort, they will find a place

2.  For every story you post against gentrification, I can easily find one that shows that the process is beneficial for EVERYONE.  Read these if you would like to open your mind;

http://www.citymetric.com/politics/gentrification-good-you-2544

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/in-defense-of-gentrification/413425/

posted by: CTLifer on July 12, 2017  10:04pm

At this point, is unsafe for anyone to live there.  I shuddered to see someone grilling right under rust and peeling paint.  Resident ‘hold outs’ should be given a time frame, such as 30 or 60 days, and once the ‘deadline’ arrives all units will be padlocked, boarded up, etc..  I was last in those units in a professional capacity about seven years ago-visible mold, rats, roaches, mouse droppings-an apartment with carpets are not going to exacerbate asthma worse than the conditions in those units.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 12, 2017  10:06pm

posted by: LookOut on July 12, 2017 8:11pm

@threefifths

1.  The article states that the vouchers are portable.  If they make an effort, they will find a place.

What about the people who do not want to leave?

2.  For every story you post against gentrification, I can easily find one that shows that the process is beneficial for EVERYONE.  Read these if you would like to open your mind;

If gentrification is beneficial for everyone.Then why are people being force out?

This Is What Happens After a Neighborhood Gets Gentrified
“Displacement is becoming a larger issue in knowledge hubs and superstar cities.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/this-is-what-happens-after-a-neighborhood-gets-gentrified/432813/

The Hypocrisy of Revitalization: Universities in Black Communities
The University of Chicago wants to revamp the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood to benefit students. But that could change the area’s local vibe—at the expense of the people of color who live there.

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/12/no-its-not-gentrification-its-something-else/383645/

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on July 13, 2017  5:21am

Dear Threefifths,

‘What about the people who do not want to leave?”
“If gentrification is beneficial for everyone. Then why are people being force out?”


If a person cannot take care of himself or remedy a situation for which he has limited control, then as act of justice the government will be forced to do it for him. It is in his best interest that he lives not in squalor whether he realizes or not.

posted by: LookOut on July 13, 2017  6:58am

1.  What about the people who do not want to leave?

Anyone who does not want to leave those conditions is probably not able to make good decisions for themselves - society should step in and help them move along

2.  Gentrification is good for the poor

http://www.businessinsider.com/gentrification-is-good-for-the-poor-2015-2

“a series of new studies are now showing that gentrifying neighborhoods may be a boon to longtime residents as well — and that those residents may not be moving out after all.”

http://www.npr.org/2014/01/22/264528139/long-a-dirty-word-gentrification-may-be-losing-its-stigma

posted by: 1644 on July 13, 2017  7:22am

1.  Finding a place, particularly one that will take Section 8, takes initiative, and a certain willingness to compromise.  Good landlords with good places won’t take section 8.  A lack of initiative and planning ahead is a major reason, if not the major reason, that folks wind up on the dole to begin with, so it’s hardly surprising that there are “holdouts” here who have yet to move.
2.  As the article mentions,  Section 8 requires landlords to go through a special inspection,  beyond normal habitability/code compliance, and deal with an bureaucracy geared to protecting tenants.
3.  Section 8 and Rap leases prohibit the landlord for evicting because of “lapse of time”, i.e.. the term of the lease has ended, although, after the initial period, the tenant can leave with only 30 days notice.  The result is it can be very difficult and expensive for a landlord to get rid of bad tenants, while the landlord risks getting stuck with an empty dwelling at a bad time, e.g., the dead of winter. 
4.  As a state RAP official told me, “landlords have no rights.”  The allowable section 8 rents don’t justify the risks for any landlord with a good place in a good neighborhood.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 13, 2017  10:01am

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on July 13, 2017 5:21am

Dear Threefifths,

‘What about the people who do not want to leave?”
“If gentrification is beneficial for everyone. Then why are people being force out?”

I do not understand your post.

posted by: LookOut on July 13, 2017 6:58am

1.  What about the people who do not want to leave?

Anyone who does not want to leave those conditions is probably not able to make good decisions for themselves - society should step in and help them move along

How come the conditions were not fix before it came to these conditions?

Gentrification is good for the poor.

Give me a break.Gentrification raises cost of living, subsequently only the elite can afford it . This means over half the population must depart.Gentrification benefits the needs of the few rather than many it should serve.


“a series of new studies are now showing that gentrifying neighborhoods may be a boon to longtime residents as well — and that those residents may not be moving out after all.”

Tell that to the people of D.C.


Beyond Gentrification: Hundreds Of DC Residents Being Forced From Their Homes
It’s no secret that the nation’s capital is also the country’s capital of gentrification. But when MintPress investigated, we found that the city’s poor residents aren’t just getting squeezed out by skyrocketing rents—they’re victims of forced evictions.

http://www.mintpressnews.com/beyond-gentrification-hundreds-of-dc-residents-being-forced-from-their-homes/204543/

posted by: Mr. Momiro on July 13, 2017  1:27pm

1644 states some hard truths directly (e.g., ““good” landlords with good places won’t take Section 8”) while implying some others (e.g., HUD/RAP only pays up to a certain amount for a given bedroom size, but either refuses to approve higher rents (as seen in those nicer areas 1644 refers to) or requires the tenant voucher holder to pay anything above and beyond what HUD will pay. The result is that most voucher holders get funneled to areas where the housing stock is not well maintained and where many of us would never chose to live.

1644 is also badly misinformed.

First, if a Section 8 (tenant-based voucher holder) asks to rent a unit and a landlord refuses for the (stated or implied) reason that they don’t take Section 8, that amounts to source of income discrimination, which is barred by law. They should seek legal help in bringing suit against a landlord who does this.  That said, landlords have plenty of rights, including to evict a tenant for lapse of time (1644 is confusing project-based HUD-subsidized housing with private landlord units on this point).

Further, private landlords contracting to rent to a voucher-holder through a reasonable and landlord-friendly inspection process, usually by private contractors hired by HUD. CSS is not a mere anecdote as to how HUD- or RAP-hired inspectors look the other way from horrible conditions and instead approve units for dwelling. It’s only poor folks that will move in, after all, right 1644?

“A lack of initiative and planning ahead” is a major reason why CSS is in the decrepit shape it has been in for years, and that fault for that lies with Northland and the City of New Haven, as well as with HUD. Perhaps 1644 ought to go out and meet some of those “holdouts” who haven’t yet moved, and find out their stories, and their struggles (or maybe read the many Independent pieces on this community first, before making obnoxiously classist, racist comments). Maybe 1644 can then begin to empathize and understand.

posted by: robn on July 15, 2017  1:59pm

3/5,

Did gentrification vampires fly in on their little bat wings and drop a ton of trash in these residents front yard? Or did the residents do that to themselves. I think the latter, and don’t want my tax dollars subsidizing the housing of slobs or protecting them in court,

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 17, 2017  10:47pm

posted by: robn on July 15, 2017 1:59pm

3/5,

Did gentrification vampires fly in on their little bat wings and drop a ton of trash in these residents front yard? Or did the residents do that to themselves. I think the latter, and don’t want my tax dollars subsidizing the housing of slobs or protecting them in court,

No the gentrification vampires fly in on their little bat wings and drop a ton of trash.But how come the slum lord did not enforce rules.He let the place run down.