BxD Testifies Before City Council Committees Regarding Rights to Succession in Public Housing

On October 24, 2017, Runa Rajagopal, Managing Director of The Bronx Defenders’ Civil Action Practice, presented written and oral testimony before the New York City Council Committee on Public Housing jointly with the Committee on Aging Oversight Hearing regarding the permanent addition of family members to a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) household and impediments to succession in public housing. The existing barriers to affordable and stable housing deeply impact BxD clients caught in the various criminal, family and immigration injustice systems as well as community members who are desperately seeking to reunite with their loved ones.

Runa was joined by Aida Reyes, a client of The Bronx Defenders, who is facing imminent eviction due to NYCHA’s failure to follow its own procedures, dissemination of misinformation and refusal to reasonably accommodate her. With Aida sitting by her side, Runa shared a powerful account of the damaging effects NYCHA’s lack of transparency and accountability has had on Aida and her family:

“At all grievance levels, NYCHA rubber stamped their denial of Aida as a remaining family member and actively sought to deprive Aida of due process and to evict her.”

In her testimony, Runa calls for transparent access to NYCHA rules and processes as well as accountability for NYCHA misconduct accompanied by remedial steps for affected tenants:

“As the country’s largest landlord that is purportedly not in the business of eviction, NYCHA has to do better to support its tenants and their family members to avail themselves of their rights or, in the very least, not actively obfuscate and violate them.”

Read the full testimony here.