( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Sakina Powell Is a Lifelong NYCHA Resident Addressing Concerns About Living Developments In Manhattan to Better Help Tenants
ENSPIRE Contributor: Anastasia Hanna
Growing up in a NYCHA development in the Lower East Side and living in public housing for over 30 years, Sakina Powell knows first-hand what it’s like for families who live in a development.
She grew up with several challenges on her hands, suffering from multiple brain seizures since her teen years and raised by a single mother who worked long hours for the city. Sakina had to become the caretaker for her household/siblings because her mom was trying to make ends meet.
Sakina understands how residents feel about living in certain apartment conditions, and not knowing who to talk with when you want to address concerns regarding your apartment—anything from heating to water issues, etc. It takes a toll on families living in developments that are disregarded.
So, it was a straightforward decision for her to take on her new role as a tenant liaison for PACT Renaissance Collaborative (PRC) two years ago simply because she wanted to be on the ground helping families and residents.
Sakina works over 60 hours per week with PRC as they are repairing and rehabilitating over 1,700 units across 16 developments in Manhattan while helping 3,000 residents through NYCHA’s PACT program.
ENSPIRE Magazine spoke with Sakina Powell to discover what makes her proud of the work she does, how she’s helping tenants have a sense of community, how PACT commits to its residents, and more.
So, you’ve been working as a tenant liaison for PACT Renaissance Collaborative for two years now. What makes you proud of the work you do?
I am the team member who is on the ground every day working with thousands of residents and families across various developments in Manhattan. I know what the residents need and what they should be receiving day-to-day. It’s the personal touch and the relationships we are building that makes me proud to work for the PACT Renaissance Collaborative.
How are you making tenants have a sense of community? How are you uplifting their self-esteem and helping them feel happy about where they live?
The PACT Renaissance Collaborative and our entire team knows that each and every person who lives in one of the 16 developments in Manhattan deserves to be happy with their surroundings, their apartment, and the building they live in. Our team is here to deliver and meet their needs every day.
The developments in the PRC initiative include 335 East 111th Street, Park Avenue-East 122nd, 123rd Streets, Manhattanville Rehab (Group 2), Manhattanville Rehab (Group 3), Public School 139 (Conversion), Samuel (MHOP) I, Samuel (MHOP) II, Samuel (MHOP) III, Fort Washington Avenue Rehab, Grampion, Washington Heights Rehab (Groups 1&2), Washington Heights Rehab Phase III, Washington Heights Rehab Phase IV (C), Washington Heights Rehab Phase IV (D), Wise Towers, and 344 East 28th Street.
Why do you think certain living developments are often disregarded? How does living in less than desirable apartment conditions take a toll on individuals and families?
Living in an apartment that has not been renovated for decades takes a mental toll on any person and families. Each family wants to be happy about where they live and the PACT Renaissance Collaborative is doing just that.
What kind of renovations and improvements will be included for these Manhattan apartments? How does PRC commit to its residents?
PACT Renaissance Collaborative (PRC), a team of not-for-profit and for-profit partners that specialize in developing, maintaining, and revitalizing affordable housing will begin day-to-day management of the properties, which are home to nearly 3,000 residents.
Our team is committed to creating a safe environment and ensuring that each resident has a better quality of life. The partners that make up PRC have developed and revitalized over 200,000 affordable housing units in New York City and have addressed the social service needs of hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents.
PRC is comprised of development partners Monadnock Development, LLC, Lemor Development Group, and Kalel Holdings, LLC; investment partners The Community Preservation Corporation and Community Development Trust; and social service and property management partners Community League of the Heights and Cornell Pace, Inc.
Renovations and repairs will include:
-New kitchen cabinets, appliances, counters, and flooring in every apartment
-New bathroom flooring and fixtures in every apartment
-New windows and doors in every apartment
-New flooring in common areas
-Upgrades to elevators, heating, and other mechanical systems
-Thoughtfully designed landscaping, playgrounds, and community facilities
-Rehabilitation of roofs and facades across each development
-Enhanced security measures that prioritize tenant safety
In what ways do you think others can do more to help their community? Do you think there are any obstacles preventing others from wanting to take action? How can others be motivated to help out?
I personally think that each person should get involved with their community by volunteering to attend a tenant association meeting. Each person has to raise his or her concerns with the decision-makers that can help them.
To learn more about the PACT Renaissance Collaborative, visit the official website.