Misunderstanding over housing development in the Bronx?

- People in the Olinvillle section of the Bronx say they were lied to about a new building in their neighborhood. What was billed as affordable housing is now being used to help homeless New Yorkers.

3677 White Plains Road is permanent affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers. A portion of the folks who live here -- 90-plus families -- are formerly homeless.

But Monday, Council Member Andy King, whose district includes the northeastern Bronx, was joined by a handful of community members to demand that the city and the developer, the Stagg Group, return to the original plan as stated in 2015.

King and others contend that plan was for market-rate apartments. Instead, according to him, the building is filled with people who have brought drugs and blight to their community.

Jasmine, a resident of the building, which she was given through a lottery process, said the council member is unfairly characterizing residents who, like her, are trying to provide a stable environment for their children. 

The Department of Homeless Services issued a statement.

"… the community was notified about this housing nearly a year ago before these tenants first moved in," spokesperson Isaac McGinn said in the statement. "As we address the dual citywide challenges of homelessness and affordability… we are proud to deliver high quality, affordable housing for formerly homeless families."

Jasmine said that she and other residents don't deserve to be belittled. She said that just because they came from a shelter doesn't mean they "are trash."

The people in this building are lease holders in permanent housing. So to turn the building over would mean kicking them out.

This controversy may be the result of miscommunication. Plans for another project led by the same developer at 5731 Broadway will become a homeless shelter for families with children and is expected to open in mid-August. Residents were notified of that on July 24, which the city says fits the timetable of at least 30 days as part of the mayor's Turning the Tide plan to address homelessness.

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