For Avora Williams, it hasn’t been easy seeking a safe haven in public housing to escape the physical abuse she says she suffered from her son’s father.
Williams and three other frustrated domestic violence victims appeared at an emotional City Council hearing Tuesday begging NYCHA for help.
The number of domestic violence crimes at NYCHA has more than doubled from 809 in 2009 to 1,642 last year. That’s compared with a 25% spike citywide. The NYPD says the steady rise in domestic violence was a key factor in the alarming 31% spike in major crime at city Housing Authority developments over the past five years.
The Public Housing Committee hearing on Tuesday focused on bureaucratic obstacles domestic violence survivors often face in seeking a coveted NYCHA apartment.
Williams, who’s raising her son while working full time, has come up short in her quest for adequate documentation to qualify.
Two years ago she got a protective order after several violent confrontations with her son’s father in Maine. After she moved to Pennsylvania, she says the harassment continued.
In July she moved to a city shelter for homeless families but says she’ll have to move out come New Year’s Eve. NYCHA says she doesn’t qualify because she needs to more adequately document the abuse.
Another domestic violence survivor, whose name was withheld, said she was an undocumented immigrant, and, therefore, didn’t qualify for NYCHA’s priority housing.
“I applied for NYCHA and I was denied because I did not have the documentation,” she said, bursting into tears. “I think if NYCHA made it easier to apply we wouldn’t be in these domestic violence situations for so long.”
So homeless shelters are full of people who aren't from here? I suppose maybe a residency requirement would help stop the gravy train and bring down the numbers of homeless seeking NYCHA placement, but we all know that no one has the backbone in our legislatures to make that happen.