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NYCHA’s Second ‘Trust’ Vote Poses Unique Challenge: Scattered Tenants

But Community Voices Heard (CVH), an organization that received funding from U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to conduct pre-vote outreach, has not been able to reach any of the scattered households.

Instead, CVH started knocking doors in January at Building 11, the Bronx River Addition property that is still occupied, which currently has 146 residents across 133 apartments. NYCHA declined to provide CVH with addresses for the relocated residents citing privacy concerns, according to the organization.

In order for the vote to be valid, at least 20 percent of heads of household must participate. Of the 199 voters, 184 are heads of households, nearly 70 percent of whom live in Building 11, NYCHA said.

This means the fate of the complex could be decided without any participation from remote tenants, though NYCHA told City Limits it is confident that relocated residents will participate. The prior vote at Nostrand Houses saw the majority of ballots cast by mail or online, the authority noted.

Juanita Lewis, the executive director of CVH, said the organization wants to ensure that tenants receive “independent and neutral information” about the options on their ballots.

Even after the Nostrand Houses vote, a raucous tenant meeting in January revealed that many residents still had questions about the Trust model, including the timeline for repairs and what projects NYCHA plans to prioritize.

“We’re concerned because… residents have been relocated and only NYCHA knows how to reach them,” Lewis said in a written statement to City Limits. “Further, this is a seniors development and we don’t know what mobility and health issues might prevent residents from being able to attend information sessions, get their questions answered, or cast a vote.”

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