Seniors at Mitchel Houses

New York City's Housing Authority manages public housing in NYC. The largest concentration of public housing exists in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx. In the 1970's most of this community was burnt down by landlords seeking to cash out on fire insurance policies and fleeing a neighborhood that had been "red lined". Mott Haven is now a naturally aging community. 

We regularly see news stories focused on broken elevators , lack of heat and hot water. Occasionally we hear of a baby being attacked by rats in his crib . After years of seeing news stories such as this the public has been desensitized.

The truth is that NYCHA has been starved by the U.S. Congress, New York State and the City of New York for 30 years. As a result, NYCHA is operating with a deficit of $34 Billion.

This deficit translates to horrible living conditions for residents.

To counter these conditions the seniors at Mitchel Houses began organizing themselves in late 2018. With the support of community advocate Ramona, they began by educating themselves on how NYCHA is funded, and how things got so bad.

Ramona negotiated with NYCHA to win the prioritization of Mitchel Houses elevators, but we recently learned that money wouldn't be available till 2023. They also got an honest report from NYCHA that allowed them to see which major repairs or replacements were needed but were not necessarily funded. 

In January Ramona formalized activities by creating Bronx Power with another community organizer. They applied to, and earned, a $1800 grant from Citizen's Committee. During the summer the seniors realized they had to target the elected officials responsible for their living conditions.

They chose to create a calendar. This calendar will be mailed to elected officials. It is our hope that once they read the included bios and see their portraits, they will recognize the importance of public housing.

The Seniors at Mitchel Houses Calendar hopes to:

           1.  Humanize public housing residents while dispelling assumptions about residents.

            2. Demand that NYCHA be adequately funded via:

                     ·      H.R. 5456 ($34 Billion)

                     ·      Streamlining of state funds intended for elevator and boiler replacements ($550 Million)

            3. Raise funds to pilot Rat Trap technology at Mitchel Houses

For a donation of $10 or more you will receive a copy of the calendar and support their pilot project Rat Traps at Mitchel.

The cost of each Rat Trap is $345 a month and the seniors hope to have three machines installed around their building for one year. The total cost for one year is $12,420*.


*The seniors will also be pressuring local elected officials to fund the pilot!


Ramona Ferreyra
New York, NY

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