Jamie Towers sees higher fees, but worsening conditions

Residents at Jamie Towers - a four building, 624-unit Mitchell-Lama co-op on Olmstead, Seward and Pugsley Avenues - are unhappy with the conditions in their buildings and are reaching out to the state for help.
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

Residents at Jamie Towers, a four-building co-op complex at Olmstead, Seward and Pugsley Avenues, are unhappy with the conditions in their buildings and is reaching out to the state for help.

The residents sent multiple letters outlining their concerns to the NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal, elected officials and media outlets.

“We believe due to the predatory practices of the management company(s) the unscrupulous practices of the board and the lack of oversight of the state (DHCR), we are in jeopardy of losing our homes,” read one letter.

Barbara Jones, a 21-year resident of the 2050 Seward Avenue building, is one of the tenants trying to address the issues at Jamie Towers.

For example, she said, the buildings have experienced problems with heat when there is extremely cold weather.

“If it is 60 degrees outside they’re giving us heat,” she said. “When it’s six degrees outside you don’t get any heat and that’s really a problem, it’s really a problem.”

In addition, Jones said there are problems with the security in the building.

She said the hours have been cut for security personnel at the buildings.

She also said the lighting around the Jamie Towers grounds – a 624-unit, 12-acre development – is inadequate.

Despite these conditions, fees – for things such as maintenance and security – and carrying charges have increased.

Also, Jones said the landlord has raised some of the fees without getting approval from the state.

Jamie Towers, a Mitchell-Lama co-op, is managed by 1st Service Residential.

The state-run Mitchell-Lama program provides affordable housing to moderate- and middle-income families.

A representative from 1st Service Residential was not available for comment.

Jones, who serves as chair for Jamie Towers’ Gems and Gents Senior Group, said the lack of heat, lighting and diminished security creates a less than ideal living situation for the seniors at Jamie Towers.

According to Jones, 60 percent of the residents in Jamie Towers are senior citizens and some are 80- and 90-year- old.

The residents held a meeting on Friday, November 4 with Senator Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda to voice their concerns.

Ruben Diaz sent out an open letter to Governor Cuomo asking him to intervene in the situation.

He questioned how carrying charges are rising without state approval.

“The Jamie Towers shareholders are facing both a financial and a management crisis,” the letter to Cuomo continued. “We are now asking you to intervene.”

A spokesperson from HCR confirmed “there has been no DHCR-approved monthly maintenance increase at Jamie Towers since 2012” and that “actual costs to operate and maintain Jamie Towers have risen during that time.”

“DHCR is reviewing the proposed rent increases and will make a determination, as required by law, to ensure that Jamie Towers can continue to meet its financial obligations and proceed with much needed capital improvements,” the spokesperson also said. “As always, DHCR will work with the housing company to ensure that it takes all reasonable steps to minimize its expenses.”

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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