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NYCHA Task Force Launched by Upper West Side Community Board

By Emily Frost | March 2, 2016 3:47pm
 A sign for the Frederick Douglass Houses.
A sign for the Frederick Douglass Houses.
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Facebook/Sharif Jackson

UPPER WEST SIDE — Members of Community Board 7 have formed a new task force to work on issues related to developments within the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).

"The task force is mainly to deal with the problems of NYCHA but also to include the public and to give you a voice about what’s not right with NYCHA," said board member Madelyn Innocent at a meeting Tuesday. 

Innocent, a resident of the Douglass Houses, is one of the board members who's leading the task force. The group will tackle issues across all NYCHA properties on the Upper West Side, including the Douglass Houses, Amsterdam Houses, Wise Towers and Thomas Apartments, she said. 

"A lot of us don’t know what all of the NYCHA developments are in our area," noted board member Blanche Lawton, as a case in point regarding the necessity of the task force. 

The need to keep community members living outside the developments better informed, as well as to get their help in solving problems at the complexes, drove board members' desire to formally organize, Innocent explained.

"For years, NYCHA residents we’ve been living by ourselves practically. But you all live near us... We’re just not coming together as a community," she said.  "We could be a strong force coming together."

In the past, NYCHA residents have had to contend with broken trash compactors, an out-of-control rat problem, and mold and leaks, among other problems.

About a half-dozen board members will serve on the task force, whose meeting schedule has not yet been established, Innocent said. 

Before the official launch, members are hosting a planning meeting on April 27. They're also setting up meetings with residents living in and around NYCHA developments and talking with tenants association presidents to hear what issues are priorities.

Anyone wanting to weigh in or send a comment can share them by emailing cb7nychataskforce@gmail.com.

"We want to leverage the strengths in the community" to solve problems related to NYCHA residents, added board Chair Elizabeth Caputo. 

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