2019-02-06 / Features

Overhaul Of NYCHA Properties Citywide Agreement

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

When US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently visited the Queensbridge Houses, a federal takeover of the beleaguered New York City Housing Authority, the largest in the nation, became a real possibility.

“There’s a host of things that are going to be required that I think are reasonable and that can be accomplished. If it can be accomplished without a receivership, great. If it requires some type of receivership, it requires some type of receivership,” Secretary Carson said in a Daily News report after an unannounced December 18th, 2018 visit to Queensbridge.

On January 31st, Carson announced an agreement with the city to, “address longstanding issues” at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) that does not impose a federal receivership. “Today we are presenting NYCHA residents with bold new solutions for decades-old problems,” he said in a press release. The agreement establishes specific requirements and deadlines to address serious health and safety hazards at all 326 NYCHA properties across the five boroughs, including lead-based paint, mold, heat, vermin, and inadequate elevators, and the city will spend $2.2 billion during the next 10 years to address these issues with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding to NYCHA estimated at $1.5 billion this year. That funding has dropped by more than $2.7 billion since 2001. The agreement also establishes a federal monitor, to be selected by HUD and the US attorney’s office of the Southern District of New York (SDNY), with input from the city, which is responsible for the cost of the monitor. The monitor is obligated to submit quarterly reports to HUD and SDNY to be made publicly available. An announcement on the monitor will be made in the near future.

“(Secretary Carson) has shown me a level of concern that I deeply appreciate and most importantly, the 400,000 New Yorkers who live in public housing will appreciate because we were able to get a cooperative and constructive outcome,” said Mayor de Blasio. “What we have done here today creates a very strong path forward. We wanted to make sure there would be results,” he said.

“This is a very positive outcome, one that I believe can bring meaningful change to living conditions of the many thousands of families who depend on NYCHA for their housing,” said Carson. “But there is still a lot of work to be carried out. We look forward to continuing what has been a productive working relationship with the mayor and his team. HUD will continue to advocate for the hundreds of thousands of children, women and men in New York City whose lives and livelihoods depend on having safe, fair and affordable housing. They deserve nothing less,” he said.

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