Bernadette Holliday of Peekskill was surprised to find her monthly federally subsidized rent was about to jump by $600 per month.
“We deserve to live in a safe and decent apartment and home,” she said, adding:
“I am paying for what I have. Most of (the people living in federal subsidized housing) are working people, not sitting around and saying give me mine,” Holliday said.
Others are experiencing the same sense of shock and fear at how their household budgets could possibly absorb such a major increase.
Mayor Mary Foster said in a that working families are seeing monthly rent increases of $140 to $1,085 for units at the Towers, depending on the size of the unit, and $350 to $800 for units at the townhouses and garden apartments. New monthly rents of $1,375 and $1,615 for a 2 bedroom apartment and $2,050 and $2,168 for a 4 bedroom apartment represent a one-year increase ranging from 26 percent to 56 percent.
Foster said that residents of Peekskill Housing Authority units received notices indicating they would see rent increases of 18 to 76 percent.
According to a national database on Fair Market Rentals, the fair market rent in Westchester County for a 1-bedroom is $1,359 per month; a 2-bedroom is $1,580; a 3-bedroom is $1,905 and a 4-bedroom is $2,349. The PHA's most recent increases raise rents higher than that.
When asked how rents could be increased above the national database rates on fair market rentals, New York Regional HUD spokesperson Adam Glantz said that HUD is preparing a response to Foster's letter that will be released to the mayor and to Patch next week.
If you received a rent increase notice, let us know in the comments.
Patch will be updating this story with more dispatches from Monday's council meeting.
Two Peekskill women accused each other of having used "crack” during an altercation at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Insults began when Sonja Henson yelled out “you are talking to the devil” while Leesther Brown was speaking to the Common Council.
A few other people called out over Brown, who was speaking in favor of some of Peekskill Housing Authority Director’s actions. (You can read some of Brown's points in the comments she posted on Patch posting.)
“Ain’t nobody that is up in this room can throw no stones,” Brown said in response to some of the crowd's comments—disagreeing with her defense of Phipps' actions and that she should "get over" the fact she was, as she says, "removed" from her position on the PHA board in 2008.
Henson called out “devil” again while Brown was walking away from the podium.
Brown responded by calling Henson a “crackhead."
"You smoked crack too," Henson spoke out to Brown from across the room. After a few more back and forth insults that were difficult to catch, Henson charged towards Brown.
A Peekskill police officer caught Henson in his arms but she continued to struggle to get to Brown. She attempted climbing up on a chamber bench beside her to break free of the police, who did not lose their grip.
The police officers brought Henson to the opposite side of the chambers as Brown left.
As police escorted Henson from the room, leader of the Committee for Justice and Mount Vernon resident Darrell Davis and Sherry Hickson repeatedly told Mayor Foster that the fight was her fault. (View this in the videos posted with this article. The videos only show a few seconds of a three hour meeting. To find the video of the full meeting click Video on cityofpeekskill.com).
“This is your fault. You are hypocrites,” Davis told the Mayor. Davis and Hickson were called out of order and asked to leave.
The altercation came after more than a dozen people complained of Peekskill Housing Authority conditions, Executive Director Harold Phipps, and large and unexpected rent increases made recently, which the mayor addressed into the Housing and Urban Development office last week.
Throughout the public comments, Mayor Mary Foster, Councilwoman Marybeth McGowen and others told the public they agreed that the rent increases were unconscionable, which is why they sent HUD a letter.
Foster also told the crowd that they are accepting names of people who might be interested in serving on the Peekskill Housing Authority board and hope to get a full board that will act in favor of the majority of the PHA residents.
Check back with Patch throughout the week for more on this story and others from the meeting.
Also at the June 25 Council meeting:
-The city council passed a resolution to spend $514,500 for the acquisition ofneeded for the central firehouse project.
-The city council passed a resolution to set a public hearing on the repeal of the tattoo parlor ban for July 16 at 10 a.m. at the Neighborhood Center.
-City Corporation Counsel gave full details on her reason for resigning from office two weeks ago.
-The City Council approved of a resolution to help the Peekskill Business Improvement District beautify the downtown gazebo.
-Local valedictorians and salutatorians received certificates for their accomplishments.
-The Council approved the issuance of a Common Council Amended Special Permit for a LEED certified hotel – the Holiday Inn Express.
For more articles on this June 25 Council meeting click the links below: