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Queens Chronicle

NYCHA vs. seniors

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Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

Your articles about the sad situation at Pomonok (“Officials criticize NYCHA, downsizing” and “WWII vet fights one more battle,” May 8, multiple editions) spotlight how the New York City Housing Authority is conducting a drive-by shooting of seniors.

A 91-year-old World War II veteran who served his country with honor is being dishonored by NYCHA’s brain-dead decision makers. Their order forcing Ralph Calindo to leave the Pomonok apartment he’s occupied for 60 years is a death warrant evicting him from life. He’ll lose friends, neighbors and the support systems he needs.

He’s among many seniors in public housing projects who are targeted for eviction and relocation to make room for young tenants with children. NYCHA calls this policy “right sizing.” Wrong sizing and elder abuse are more accurate labels. Instead of evicting vulnerable seniors, why not kick out the drug dealers and gangbangers who terrorize the projects? No one with a record of violent crime or drug dealing should be allowed to live in public housing. Neither should tenants who own cars. Triple A says it costs $4,000 a year to keep a car running, regardless of age, make or model. Anyone who can afford that doesn’t meet public housing’s minimum income requirements.

State Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz introduced a bill banning NYCHA from evicting tenants who are 61 or older, or who have lived in their apartments for at least 20 years. Albany’s lawmakers must pass it. But that’s just the first step toward sanity. If the Olympics had an event for stupidity, NYCHA’s leaders would win a gold medal. They sat on $42 million in federal funds for security cameras, but paid a consulting firm $10 million for a 110-page report on housing project problems, information their tenants would gladly give them free.

Their intelligence is as faulty as their buildings’ elevators, heating and plumbing. Don’t evict vulnerable seniors from their homes. Evict these moronic managers from their jobs.

Richard Reif

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