New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to demolish two of the buildings in the Fulton Houses in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, a public housing project, and replace them with a luxury building built by a developer.
The real estate firm will be able to rent 70 percent of the apartments at market rates. The current median rent in Chelsea is nearly $3,500 per month. De Blasio claims the remaining 30 percent of the units will be “affordable.”
Fulton residents don’t believe him. They think that this “public-private” partnership, which is part of the federal government’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), is a scam to push them out.
Poor and working people have been driven out of Chelsea since the 1970s. In an Aug. 19 action, demonstrators marched in front of the old Nabisco cookie factory on Ninth Avenue, now Google’s New York headquarters, including a $2 billion food court, the upscale Chelsea Market. Among the slogans that protesters chanted were “Housing is a human right!” and “The people united will never be defeated!”
Residents from the Fulton Houses were joined by other public housing residents as well as people from the nearby Penn South development. Supporters also came from the Metropolitan Council on Housing, the Justice Center in El Barrio, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and Struggle-La Lucha newspaper.