March 24, 2015
De Blasio administration completed 2014 security projects at record pace, installing 2,000 security cameras at 49 developments within six months of receiving funding
NYCHA expects to complete 2015 security projects at same speed, installing security cameras at 29 developments by year’s end
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and New York City Housing Authority Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye announced today that 29 NYCHA developments will receive cameras and other security enhancements by the end of 2015. This is on top of the 49 2014-funded CCTV projects the Authority installed as scheduled at the end of last year thanks to the support and collaboration of City Council, city partners and the administration.
Over the past two decades, NYCHA funding has plummeted, causing a cumulative loss of over $2.1 billion to the Authority’s budget. While Federal and State resources have been dramatically reduced or eliminated, the City Council stepped up to support NYCHA, providing $17 million dollars for Fiscal Year 2015 to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and other security measures such as layered access for the safety and security of public housing residents.
Installing cameras at NYCHA buildings is a multi-step process that requires time to install correctly and effectively, and too often these multi-step projects were taking two to four years to complete. In order to ensure these security projects were completed by the end of the year, the Mayor ordered accelerated sign-offs at City agencies and the administration streamlined several of the time-consuming steps in the planning process. Additionally, Comptroller Scott Stringer helped speed up 2014 contract registration in order to move projects forward more quickly. This enabled the Authority to fast-track the installation of these safety measures last year. NYCHA received approximately $27 million from City Council members in fiscal year 2013 and 2014 to install security measures – including 1,900 cameras and, in some cases, layered access control at 49 developments citywide. They were completed by December 2014, bringing the total number of cameras in NYCHA buildings to more than 12,000.
“This administration has made NYCHA a priority from day one, and despite decades of disinvestment, we are using every tool we have to shore up and strengthen the housing authority – and ultimately improve the lives of NYCHA residents as quickly as possible,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I thank the City Council for making this critical investment in NYCHA and applaud Comptroller Stringer and NYCHA for fast-tracking these critical security projects.”
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes, and installing these security upgrades is one way to reach that goal,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “Thanks to Mayor de Blasio – who has made safety in public housing a priority – City Council members, and other elected officials who have secured vital funding for these projects, we are able to get this job done and meet residents’ needs.”
“For too long, NYCHA has contended with severe disillusionment, disinvestment, and disrepair. New Yorkers in public housing deserve to feel safe in their homes, and these essential security upgrades will go a long way toward ensuring safer communities and peace of mind for thousands of NYCHA residents. The New York City Council is proud to offer NYCHA its continued support and thanks our partners at NYCHA and the de Blasio administration for their continued efforts to improve the lives of New Yorkers in public housing across the city,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
“The Mayor and the City Council have been genuine partners in making safety in public housing a top priority. The swift installation of CCTV at twenty-nine NYCHA developments is proof that our partnership is bringing greater security to the residents of public housing,” said Councilmember Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Committee on Public Housing.
“My colleagues and I are committed to protecting New York City's most underserved residents and investing taxpayer dollars in a way that is responsive and responsible. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for making affordable housing a priority and supporting those families who need it most,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras.
For the past year, the Authority has also been evaluating how it can further improve its process. Once the funding is allocated, NYCHA works with all stakeholders, especially NYCHA residents and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to come up with a plan to spend the allocated money effectively and according to the security needs of each specific development. Resident feedback is especially valuable when it comes to deciding camera placement, as they are the ones who can speak to the needs of their community. NYCHA is committed to shortening the time between meeting with residents and when a final plan is delivered. The Authority has prepared the contracts for this year’s 29 projects and will be able to move forward on installation as soon as funding is disbursed in order to complete all installations by the end of this year.
The $17 million from the City Council was a part of the administration’s $210.5 million comprehensive, citywide plan to make the city’s neighborhoods safer and reduce violent crime in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments. The investment included: $122 million of City funds to relieve NYCHA of other obligations, so that money can be used for repairs and maintenance; $50 million for physical improvements to enhance security; $1.5 million for exterior lighting at the 15 developments; $21.4 million for the civilianization of 200 police officers; and $15.6 million to expand key programs to help build stronger individuals, families and communities.