According to a press release from a Housing Authority spokeswoman, residents will protest outside the Sky Club, an upscale high-rise apartment complex just blocks from the epicenter of the city’s public housing and home to HHA Board commissioners David Mello and Greg Lincoln.
The HHA Board of Commissioners is a seven-member unpaid board that helps oversee Hoboken's public housing projects. The projects are also run by a paid executive director (Carmelo Garcia), and are overseen on a larger scale by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.
The HHA board is presently split into two political factions: One that is allied with Mayor Dawn Zimmer and opposed to Garcia, and one that is allied with Garcia.
Lincoln and Mello, the latter of whom also serves as an at-large city councilman, are allied with Zimmer against Garcia.
Much of the controversy surrounds the proposed Vision 20/20 project, which would demolish and rebuild all of the buildings on the housing authority’s main campus, located from Second Street to Sixth Street between Jackson Street and the Palisades Cliffs. Housing Authority residents, the authority’s executive director, Garcia, and some of the board’s other commissioners have expressed support for the plan. But Zimmer's allies have said there is not enough information available about the plan.
Garcia recently asked the City Council to issue a letter in support of the plan, which he could use to get Hurricane Sandy funding that was suddenly made available. But the Zimmer-allied council members have advocated for a full vetting of the project before showing any kind of support for public funding.
Housing Authority residents have held protests regarding this issue before, notably at City Council meetings and outside City Hall. In May, they expressed outrage when the council failed to pass a resolution of need in support of the project’s first phase, a 44-unit building that would be constructed on the site of a parking lot on the corner of Harrison and Fourth Streets.
According to the press release, the protest is set to begin at 5 p.m. outside Sky Club, which is located at 700 First St.
Garcia noted later that the protest is being conducted by the residents, not the HHA. He noted that they have their own tenant advisory board.
Last week, the Reporter did a comprehensive cover story on the Vision 20/20 project and surrounding controversy. Read it here..