On March 19th, a special live recording of Black Westchester magazine’s internet radio show
“People Before Politics” aired. A panel of guests, including Federal Housing Commissioner
Renee Robinson, Housing Authority Chair, Bishop Wilbur Preston, Housing Authority Board
member Fred Campbell, Consultant to the Housing Authority Teri Morton, John Savage, Esq.,
and Town Supervisor Paul Feiner came on to rebut the Commissioner’s February 24 letter. In
her letter she lists a number of concerns as to both the removal of the Seniors from the
Manhattan Avenue senior building site, the timing of the move, and the pending move of 85 more
families, which could equal over 100 people because now we are speaking about families being
moved for the renovation project.
Ms. Robinson has remained steadfast in her advocacy for the tenants she represents in the
Federal Building sites. She wrote that some of the senior’s rent have increased due to their
subsidies for heat being removed, after they moved out of the housing authority proper. She
outlines in her letter that some seniors do not have heat, and some are unhappy with the move.
Ms. Robinson has repeatedly been called a liar by every person in power and in a decision
making capacity concerning her complaint, up to and including the Town Supervisor, Mr. Paul
Feiner. That is how systemic racism plays out: policies and practices and laws that benefit one
race over another. In this case all but one of the seniors moved are black and on fixed incomes.
The practice of calling a liar an elected commissioner who represents those in public housing, who
are predominantly persons of color and lower wage fixed income recipients, is inappropriate
for an elected official.
The behavior of the Supervisor is of particular note since he is touting the success of the COVID
Angels outreach as the hallmark of how he helps people. What about the Seniors from the
Manhattan Ave complex? They have been removed from their home, during the height of the
pandemic. That is an unrefuted fact. They were scared, that is a fact; some are happy, some
are not. It is the responsibility of the Government and those that represent it to ensure all
residents are well responded to in times of crisis. The Town Supervisor failed to do so.
Even though the Supervisor and Board and at least one Council person have called the
Commissioner a liar, her letter prompted them to do the right thing, check on the Seniors. They
should thank her for correcting their behavior and neglect toward the MOST vulnerable in the
Town, seniors and low income persons.
During the live taping Ms. Young set herself apart from the pack, and has been stalwart in
defending the residents who are dissatisfied and scared about the pending move of the
families. She offered an olive branch to try to solve this problem of displacement and removal.
“If one Senior is unhappy it is incumbent on the Town to ensure why and problem solve. Let’s
put cooler heads to the table and figure this out.” In a riveting testimony, Greenburgh
housing authority resident, Lorraine Frazier cried while explaining that she has no heat, has
to walk up a flight of stairs to get to her new temporary apartment, and told the story of another
senior who had no food. She further stated that her rent increased $65.
Her testimony moved Ms. Young, who pointed out that wellness checks need to be made
immediately, she asserted to the Supervisor, "This is not a volunteer operation, like the COVID
Angel program. You need professionals who know how to work with Seniors. Social workers,
visiting nurses, adult protective, trauma, grief, and mental health counselors, you should partner
with the County.”
The consultant to the housing authority, Teri Morton, asked Ms. Young to assist her in finding
those resources, Ms. Young agreed and made her phone number public in the chat of the virtual
show. She has not heard from Ms. Morton.
“This is not about the election, this is about a course correction for our Seniors.” A very apropos
sentiment from longtime Greenburgh resident and now Elmsford, NY, homeowner, Ms. Tasha D.