By SUSAN LIPPMAN
Not long ago I wrote an article about “Vivian,” a 59-year-old woman, who fears eviction from the public housing apartment she has been living in for more than 8 years. She has always been a stellar tenant, who took care of her mentally ill brother, whose name was on the lease.
A few years ago, Vivian went to the management, asking that her name be placed on the lease. She provided copies of her birth certificate and her brother’s, which, for most reasonable people would be ample evidence that she and her brother were, indeed blood relatives. But the New York City Housing Authority officials claimed that the documentation that Vivian provided was insufficient evident that she was, indeed,” Vinnie’s” sister. Nevertheless, the management never told Vivian what documentation would be sufficient to prove her kinship with her brother.
Vivian never appealed the decision, because if she did so she knew she would lose time from work and possibly her job. Had you been in her shoes, you probably would have done the same.
Not long ago, Vivian’s brother died, unexpectedly. Since then, Vivian has been living in terror, of losing her apartment and not being able to afford another. She has a low paying job.
NYCHA workers read my article, and a lovely woman, who works there, responded that she would help Vivian stay in her apartment, especially since Vivian did such a remarkable job caring for her brother.
Meanwhile, Vivian lost a hearing to keep the apartment and now is awaiting another appeal.
Several subsequent attempts to reach the NYCHA worker, who initially reached out, were unsuccessful. I realized that the NYCHA worker may be overworked and overwhelmed, but this situation is urgent.
The reason, or rather, the excuse for the denial, seems rather feeble. Vivian was told that her name was not on the lease. True, but Vivian did try and present documentation, which, for some unknown reason, was deemed inadequate. Furthermore, Vivian was told that she should not have been living in a one bedroom apartment with her brother. There was enough space, and they never slept in the same room. Furthermore, given the fact that Vivian now lives there alone, as her brother is deceased, a one bedroom apartment, like the one she currently occupies, seems like an ideal set-up.
Therefore, I cannot understand why there was ever a denial.
Dear NYCHA workers, I implore you to do as promised and reach out to me and to Vivian and ensure that her name will be put on the lease and that she will be allowed to remain.
- A NYCHA tenant’s nightmare [Progress Queens]