Mayor de Blasio Investing $1 Billion to Replace Roofs at More Than 700 NYCHA Buildings, Combatting Leaks and Mold

January 24, 2017

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Investment will fix over 700 NYCHA roofs, benefitting more than 120,000 NYCHA residents

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Housing Authority Chair Shola Olatoye today committed $1 billion in City capital to replace deteriorating roofs on NYCHA buildings over the next 10 years. Over 700 buildings and more than 120,000 NYCHA residents will reap the benefits of this investment. When coupled with Mayor de Blasio’s 2015 commitment of investing $300 million over three years, the total amount allocated to this initiative reaches $1.3 billion to fix over 950 roofs which will benefit a total of over 175,000 residents.

This commitment will not only fund the replacement of roofs and parapets (the protective wall along roofs), but it will also help to substantially reduce mold which can be detrimental to people’s health. Leaky roofs are one of the key sources of the water and excessive moisture that causes mold in apartments as well as physical damage to the building’s structure. The total $1.3 billion investment will allow NYCHA to eliminate the leaking roofs that are one of the root causes of the mold, providing a long-term, cost-saving solution that will improve quality of life at over 950 NYCHA buildings.

“This crucial investment – the largest City investment in NYCHA – will improve quality of life for our city’s children, teachers, firefighters and other public servants who live in NYCHA housing and who keep this city running,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In addition, these roof repairs will provide a long-term solution in our efforts to address mold, eventually saving the City money later down the line so that we can further improve NYCHA housing.”

NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said, “This historic commitment is about more than just bricks and mortar, it’s about investing in New York City’s working families and our city’s most vulnerable. Now more than ever, critical infrastructure upgrades are vital as we continue to implement NextGeneration NYCHA, our long-term strategic plan to create safe, clean and connected public housing.”

NYCHA’s prioritization of mold abatement includes measures to eliminate the root causes of mold rather than just abating mold on a case by case basis in each unit. The approach focuses on many different improvements that eliminate moisture in buildings, increase ventilation, and repair damage caused by mold such as plastering and paint. Investing in NYCHA roofs will also improve building operations as well as reduce maintenance and repair work orders. When NYCHA made core infrastructure investment in roofs and brickwork in the past, wall-related work orders decreased by an average of 56 percent.

Exposure to certain kinds of mold can lead to asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Asthma is now recognized as a leading cause of school and work absences, emergency room visits and hospitalizations among low‐income minority populations in communities.

NYCHA anticipates the new roofs will:

  • Preserve physical structures by safeguarding them from incoming moisture, saving money on repairing moisture damage
  • Address a significant cause of mold in NYCHA buildings, protecting residents and improving their quality of life
  • Reduce operating expenses by making buildings more efficient

City Support for NYCHA:

Capital

  • In 2015, committed $300 million over three years to fix 223 roofs benefiting 54,788 residents
  • In 2017, proposed $1 billion over 10 years to fix 729 roofs benefiting 120,000 residents
    • Grand total: $1.3 billion to fix 952 roofs benefiting 175,478 residents
  • In 2015: invested $200 million to repair 259 building facades (to comply with Local Law 11)

Finances

  • In 2014: Waived $70 million annual NYPD payment
  • In 2015: Waived $30 million annual PILOT payment

Mayor’s Action Plan for Public Safety (MAP)

  • In 2014: committed $140 million for a comprehensive effort to improve security at 15 NYCHA sites, home to nearly 62,000 residents
  • To date, completed exterior lighting at nine developments
  • Crime is down nearly 6 percent at MAP developments citywide for 2016

Wifi / Broadband

  • In 2015: Invested $10 million to bring free, high-speed broadband service to over 16,000 NYCHA residents across seven developments (Queensbridge North and South, Red Hook East and West, Mott Haven Houses, Jefferson Houses, Stapleton Houses)
  • Installation was recently completed at Queensbridge

Repair Times

  • NYCHA is responding to repairs quicker – average repair time is down to 4.2 days in 2016 from 9.2 days in 2015

“Regardless of where New Yorkers reside, they should never have to deal with leaking roofs and exposure to dangerous levels of mold,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Too many New Yorkers living in NYCHA buildings have spent years living in unsanitary and hazardous conditions because of aging infrastructure. I want to thank the Mayor for this commitment to ensuring these residents and their homes get the attention they have long deserved. We must continue to work together to improve conditions at NYCHA and preserve safe, affordable housing for New Yorkers.”

"I have seen firsthand the serious state of roof disrepair that dozens of Brooklyn's public housing developments are enduring,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “These issues go beyond patchwork jobs, short-term fixes that have in the past drained the resources of limited maintenance manpower. Damaged roofs and the leaks that result from them have created unacceptable health and safety hazards for hundreds of thousands of NYCHA residents. Alongside Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA Chair Olayote, I have been proud to lend my advocacy to shining a spotlight on this infrastructure crisis, and I am even more proud to see City Hall step up their financial investment to solving this citywide challenge. Every New Yorker deserves a safe place to raise healthy children and families, and this initiative underscores the meaning of that commitment."

“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are NYCHA tenants, and we owe them whatever it takes to make sure NYCHA provides safe, clean, affordable housing,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This investment honors that commitment and is needed now more than ever, as uncertainty looms over federal support for public housing.”

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez said, “I’m pleased to see the City stepping up to make these investments and I thank Mayor De Blasio for driving them forward. This $1 billion infusion will enable important repairs and upgrades, improving our public housing stock for thousands of our neighbors. With potential Republican-led cuts to federal housing funds looming, these investments are even more important and I will continue pressing the case to ensure we prioritize housing investment at all levels of government.”

State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said, “As the newly elected senator of Parkside Houses and 5 other NYCHA developments in the Northeast Bronx, I’m happy that NYCHA has finally begun replacing Parkside’s roofs and much of the façades. Their investment in these crumbling, dilapidated buildings is essential to my constituents’ long term health and welfare. As you may know, these long neglected roofs are the leading cause of water moisture and mold entering their homes. In the county with the highest asthma rates in the nation, the need to mitigate this health burden becomes abundantly clear. I’m thrilled they’re taking steps to improve the lives of my constituents.”

State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, “I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Housing Authority Chair Shola Olatoye for committing $1 billion in City capital to replace deteriorating roofs on NYCHA buildings. This investment is not only key to improving the infrastructure of the buildings, but it will also help address the issue of mold and increase the quality of life for NYCHA residents.”

"I commend NYCHA and Mayor de Blasio for making this critically important investment and proactively enhancing the well-being of more than 120,000 New York City residents," said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Committee on Housing. "This is an example of forward-thinking policy that will reap long-term benefits in terms of improved health and fewer costly repairs.”

"For far too long, NYCHA residents have been forced to live in uninhabitable conditions, which no one should have to endure, and pose a great danger to their family's health and safety. I am heartened by Mayor de Blasio's investment to make NYCHA housing safer for children and families,” said Assembly Member Helene Weinstein.

"The Parkside Houses have been in desperate need of restoration for years. These roof repairs will help to drastically reduce the leak and mold growth issues residents have had to endure. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio for making these improvements a top priority, and I look forward to the continued progress of our public housing here in The Bronx," said Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj.

“NYCHA is the backbone of affordable housing in New York City. It is essential that NYCHA residents have a safe and well maintained place to live. By funding roof replacements, we can preempt any further damage and directly improve the quality of life of tens of thousands of families. I look forward to working with the Administration to keep investing in NYCHA,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Committee on Finance.

"The de Blasio Administration's investment in repairing leaky roofs at NYCHA will provide needed relief to residents suffering in apartments laden with mold. Roof repair is exactly what residents desperately need. I'm grateful that the Wise Towers complex, in my district, is included for repairs and applaud the Mayor's commitment to NYCHA and its residents," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

“Public housing should not be synonymous with a substandard lifestyle. The announcement by the Mayor for these capital improvements is a huge step to ensuring a great quality of life for all in our city. Residents in NYCHA’s Albany Houses, one of the largest public housing complexes in the 36th District, as well as others throughout the city, can breathe a sigh of relief. Their voices and concerns have been heard,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy.

“Long awaited repairs which NYCHA so desperately needed in order to prevent mold in numerous NYCHA buildings which may cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses. My hope is to have all repairs completed earlier than the 10 year forecast. Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye for committing $1.3 billion for this project,” said Council Member Darlene Mealy.

"Preserving the infrastructure of our public housing is crucial to maintaining an economically diverse city. Mold, leaks, and other hazards from old roofing have become a threat to the health and quality of life for those living in NYCHA. I thank Mayor de Blasio for this substantial investment in the future of NYCHA and look forward to working with the Administration and NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye on future projects to improve the health and safety of public housing residents," said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.

"This is a strong first step in addressing the mountain of building disparities that public housing families live with every day," said Council Member Rafael Salamanca. "This certainly is welcome news in the South Bronx, and I hope we can address additional capital needs in the years to come."

"This is exciting news and it's been a long time coming because the roofs have been decaying and leaking," said Council Member Andy King. "Leaky roofs can lead to both long-term and short-term danger issues for residents. However, Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA's  $1 billion investment demonstrates their commitment to the well-being of NYCHA residents and I am excited they are doing this at NYCHA developments."

Council Member Annabel Palma said, "I've long held the belief that residents of public housing should be afforded similar levels of service and attention that those in those living in market-rate housing enjoy. Beyond the issue of common decency, the more tangible consideration for the health of these residents is paramount. I am ecstatic that the De Blasio administration will be facilitating a billion dollar investment in the upkeep of NYCHA housing; in general, roof replacements, and in particular, for the Bronx River complex within my district. This is a clear indication that the City identifies and acknowledges the pressing need to afford residents of public housing a certain standard of living."

“We’re glad the mayor is directing resources to make these critical repairs,” said Afua Atta-Mensah, Executive Director of Community Voices Heard. “Our families should not be getting sick because of substandard housing conditions, they deserve better. This is a good start. We will continue to advocate for increased dedicated funding and action from our government and elected officials.”

“While this is a step in the right direction, we must remember we still need more resources, the health of our residents are at stake. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for putting down on it. But there is still so much more to be done. We need the federal government to also invest in the wellbeing of our city not just my development, but all of NYCHA’s 328 developments. Thank you mayor, you have done your part,” said Carmen Quinones, President of Douglass Houses Tenant Association.

“This announcement from Mayor de Blasio demonstrates his understanding of the needs of public housing and its residents. I am very pleased with this announcement and I look forward to the continued partnership from the City and State in regards to funding for all NYCHA developments,” said Barbara Holmes, President of Morris House Tenants' Association and Police Service Area #7 Precinct Council.

"This one of the best ways to start the New Year! Thank you Mayor de Blasio for hearing our cries! Thank you for investing one billion dollars to improve NYCHA buildings,” said Naomi Colon, President of Marcy Houses Tenant Association.

“Roof repairs are something that is needed in all of our NYCHA developments. This will improve our quality of life and protect our buildings. I applaud this significant investment,” said Carol Wilkins, President of the Ravenswood Houses Resident Association.

"This money is greatly needed! This Mayor has not let me down yet! One billion dollars shows that this Mayor believes that the residents in NYCHA are worth investing in,” said Leona Keith, President of Tompkins Houses Resident Association.

"We really need this money! This is long overdue, thank you Mayor de Blasio, thank you very much,” said Stephen Davis, Tenant Association President of Louis Armstrong Houses.

"A significant percentage of the thousands of clients we serve each year live at or below the poverty line and struggle to find habitable and safe housing, so we applaud Mayor de Blasio for stepping up with this substantial commitment to improve living conditions for these New York City residents," said Glennda Testone, Executive Director of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. "This move demonstrates a dedication to serving all New Yorkers, and is in line with our work at The Center to ensure that every LGBT person has the basic tools they need to live happy, healthy lives.”

“Frist, thank you Mr. Mayor for what you have already done in Boulevard Houses! We love our cameras. Next, you are doing a great thing by giving one billion dollars to NYCHA. Thank you for not forgetting us,” said Inez Rodriquez, Tenant Association President of Boulevard Houses.

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio for his leadership. His substantial commitment to improving NYCHA housing will improve the lives of thousands New Yorkers, including many LGBTQI New Yorkers. Housing stability is one of the most important factors in achieving social and economic success,” said Gabriel Blau, co-Founder of Equality New York.

“Mayor Bill de Blasio, thank you from the bottom of my heart! We NYCHA residents feel forgotten a lot of the time, but the Mayor of New York City has remembered us. I am truly thankful. Please keep it coming,” said Cynthia Simpson, President of the Marcy Houses Green Committee.

"This plan to create safer, cleaner, and more livable housing for NYCHA residents is an incredible step forward in ensuring all New Yorker's have a quality place to live," said Eunic Ortiz, President of Stonewall Democrats. "With this investment, Mayor de Blasio is reaffirming his commitment to creating a City that ensures access to affordable housing for all families, of all income levels."

"The Mayor's 1.3 billion dollar investment in public housing will raise the entire community and enhance the quality of life of NYCHA residents. In my role as a community pastor in reaching those in public housing I have seen firsthand the conditions NYCHA residents face daily and I am hopeful this type of investment can better the course of a person's life,” said Reggie Stutzman, Founding Pastor of Real Life Church, President and CEO of the Prodigal Center.

“FUREE is pleased that the city of New York and the mayor’s office are allocating much needed funding to address the critical repair needs of NYCHA city-wide that have contributed to chronic mold issues and sub-standard conditions for residents. We are excited to see these repairs implemented across NYCHA developments and hope this announcement marks an ongoing commitment by our city to adequately fund NYCHA’s maintenance initiatives, so residents can live in safe and healthy environments for generations to come,” said Shatia Strother, Program Coordinator at FUREE.


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