Legal Aid Society


LAS Warns NYCHA’s Demolition Plan Will Lead to Permanent Displacement

The Legal Aid Society and the Community Service Society are raising concerns about NYCHA’s plan that seeks to demolish a total of 2,055 units — home to more than 5,000 residents — across four developments known as Fulton, Elliott, Chelsea, and Chelsea Addition.

Demolition and the proposed plan to build 3,500 units of market rate and “affordable” housing at the designated sites will cause significant harm to current tenants and could lead to the permanent displacement of residents, including over one hundred senior residents. Because the demolition of existing units will commence before the construction of all needed new units is completed many households are facing displacement for an undoubtedly lengthy period of time. Historically, when people are relocated in this way it is highly likely that they will not return to their homes, resulting in permanent displacement.

Further, claims that the proposal is “resident-led” are misleading. The plans shared with residents omitted critical information about temporary relocation and the development of thousands of market-rate units on NYCHA land. Numerous reports from residents about the survey process stated that the information provided to them was opaque and inaccessible.

“This plan is unequivocally not resident-led, and is guaranteed to uproot the lives of thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers, many of whom have resided in the FEC community for generations,” said Lucy Newman, an  attorney with the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “The displacement of current residents will only further exacerbate the gentrification of Chelsea, and that tenants were offered little-to-no transparency regarding critical factors of this plan is abhorrent.”

“We strongly reject the current proposal, and demand that NYCHA withdraw its Draft Significant Amendment until they can guarantee that no residents will be permanently displaced as a result of their plans,” she continued.