The New York City Housing Authority is closing its only Queens walk-in center, located in Jamaica, according to recent published reports. Queens residents looking for in-person service to obtain affordable housing will now have to travel to a different borough with their issues.
This is especially problematic, because low-income families typically have a more difficult time budgeting for things like transportation or phone or internet service to place a call or try to get help.
And in a perfect world, those already in public housing would have no issues, but we saw last week, with flooding in the South Jamaica Houses, that one resident living in sewage had to visit their local council person to get something done.
NYCHA was able to address the situation properly, but adding a local legislator as a middleman is not necessary. That resident should have been able to walk down the street, in their own borough and speak to someone in person who could immediately help them with their problem.
The de Blasio administration can create all the affordable housing it wants, but if it's not managed right, what's the point? Those seeking public housing also face other barriers, such as the applications are only in English and it's difficult to apply with a paper application.
Councilman Antonio Reynoso is looking to alleviate some of those stresses by introducing legislation to make access easier for people applying for affordable housing. After all, if housing is a basic right, everyone should have access to it. Not just the people with a computer or an extra $2.75 on their Metrocard.
The city should be making it easier for residents to walk in, speak with a human person and get their problems addressed and it should also work on making it easy for everyone to have access affordable housing.