Big changes are coming to the local housing community. The Bayview Houses are facing some major changes within the next few years. The city housing complex is transitioning from NYCHA housing to Section 8 housing. Whether the buildings are managed by NYCHA or Section 8, the community will still gather each year for their annual summer event, Bayview Houses Family Day, as they did on Saturday, August 19th. The event, organized by the Bayview Houses Community Association (BHCA), which is led by President Sheryl Boyce, has been a staple in the community since the early 1980s.
Since Boyce became Bayview’s president in 2010, the housing units have seen significant changes under her leadership. According to BHCA Zone Coordinator Pat Jefferson, Boyce has contributed to the beautification and renovation of buildings on the property, and the rebuilding of various parks.
Boyce is an enterprising leader; she started a food pantry at the housing complex back in 2014, and it’s thriving today. She also initiated a back-to-school event in 2011. Community meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of each month except during the summer months and November and December.
Boyce and the team will be involved in a two-year renovation project starting in 2015. It will encompass the entire property; some residents will be temporarily relocated as the buildings and apartments undergo upgrades. During this period, the buildings will transition to Section 8 housing. It’s not yet clear how this transition will affect current residents, but the board plans to collaborate closely with the city to inform residents about their options and opportunities.
The renovations Boyce talks about will be done under the “PACT” program (“Permanent Affordability Commitment Together”). PACT is a housing development tool that will turn the buildings into Section 8 properties. Once the community is under section 8, the repairs, development and management will be paid for by private and nonprofit development partners. This also opens the doors for residents to gain employment and contracts in the renovation process. Residents can gain employment with PACT under Section 3. Under Section 3, residents will gain job training, long-term employment opportunities and more. For more information on PACT employment, residents can contact their local NYCHA REES office or call 212-306-4036.
The Canarsie Courier spoke with Charles, who has lived in Bayview for 12 years and says he doesn’t mind whether the housing is Section 8 or not. On the other hand, residents like Kim, who has lived in Bayview for over 20 years with her two children, 25 and 4, are worried about the housing transition because she says she currently pays an appropriate rent for her income. Under Section 8, she fears that her rent will continually increase, like her mother, who currently resides in a Section 8 property and lives on a fixed income. Her rent fluctuates constantly, and she can’t afford it.
Ebony, who has lived in Bayview for one year, appreciates all the activities in the development and is not concerned about the buildings transitioning to Section 8. She does have many unanswered questions but recognizes that there could be some benefits for her and her family.