Town Hall Meeting on the Proposed Ownership Change of Spring Creek Towers

By: Pamela Stern and Amanda Moses

On April 15th, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries hosted a second Town Hall Meeting at the Brooklyn Sports Club on the proposed ownership change of Spring Creek Towers (SCT). Elected officials whose districts encompass the SCT community were in attendance including: U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, State Senator Roxanne Persaud, New York State Assemblyman, Charles Barron, Council-member Inez Barron, and District Leader, Nikki Lucas.

Congressman Jeffries assembled a guest panel for the meeting including: Arden Sokolow, Director of Multifamily Housing for the Northeast Region of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Mark Colón, President of the Office of Housing Preservation of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), Judith Goldiner, Attorney of the Legal Aid Society and Andrew MacArthur, President of Brooksville Company, on behalf of the proposed new ownership entity.

Each of the elected officials took turns addressing more than 100 residents attending the Town Hall. They all emphasized that they have and will continue to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) and the potential new owners to maintain SCT’s affordability.

“I believe in affordable housing. I came to assure you that I will work with Congressman Jeffries, State Senator Persaud, the Barrons and Nikki Lucas to make sure that all of the safeguards stay in place and the rents that you have continue to be affordable,” said U.S. Senator Schumer.

State Assemblyman Barron agreed with his fellow elected officials that, “The efforts are to preserve the affordability and to make sure that the residents are protected.”

City councilmember, Inez Barron echoed the sentiments of Assembly-man, Charles Barron. “I just wanted to say that I am committed to work with you and ditto to all the things have been said,” said Council-member Barron.

“We are committed to preserve your rights and affordability and make sure that you are in your comfort zone,” said Persaud.

Hakeem Jeffries posed a question to the panelists, “Can anyone address the general dynamics for the Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 current law constraints and what the framework is that we are operating under? I think what is being negotiated is to extend out the Mitchell-Lama aspect of the agreement so it lines up at 2049 along with an extension to 2049 for the Section 8. That would give us an additional 30 years across the board from the moment that we are in right now.”

In response, Colón said, “We are committed to preserving afford-ability. We want to increase the affordability to 2049 and make sure that all capital repairs are done for example like the power plant, and keeping rent caps for non-Section 8 residents. HCR will make sure that tenants have affordability.”

“We have worked very hard with HUD and HCR. We are committed to investing in the community and ensuring continued affordability. We are working closely with the governmental agencies so that everyone’s interest is protected,” said MacArthur.

After the introductions and assurances by the elected officials, residents were given an opportunity to voice their concerns.

A resident asked if there are any capital investment plans for the quality of life for the residents. “A certified engineer has completed an analysis of major and moderate improvements which need to be done in a timely fashion,” said Colón. MacArthur added that, “Our focus is on repairs and capital improvements. We have put money aside for what the engineers identified.”

State Committeewoman and District Leader, Nikki Lucas, (also a resident of SCT) focused her comments on quality of life issues and to make sure everyone’s rights are protected.

Congressman Jeffries, the other elected officials, and panelists made themselves available for questions from residents after the meeting.

Steven Chambers, a resident for over 25 years attended the meeting about the status of the sale, so he could hear an update about the progress. When asked what his reaction was to the meeting he said, “This was exactly what I had expected it to be. I think it was a very informative meeting.”

Photos by: Pamela Stern