May 23, 2022
Video available at: https://youtu.be/jDAW_reqK30
Public Entity Would Unlock Billions in Federal Funding and Speed up Repairs for Tens of Thousands of Residents
Legislation Keeps Residents at Center of Implementation Process, Receives Key Push in Albany With Legislative Session Set to End June 2
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, along with government, labor, and community leaders, stood with New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents today at Polo Grounds Houses in support of the NYCHA Public Housing Preservation Trust. The Trust — which requires authorization from the state Legislature — would be a new, entirely public entity that would unlock billions of dollars in federal funding to accelerate repairs and make long-overdue investments for tens of thousands of NYCHA residents across all five boroughs. The current legislation — A7805C — would keep NYCHA residents at the center of the Trust’s implementation process, preserving all resident rights and protections. NYCHA needs over $40 billion to fully restore and renovate all its buildings.
“For too long, our NYCHA communities have been ignored and denied their fair share of investments and services. But we’re changing that with this legislation, and my administration is all-in on fighting for NYCHA,” said Mayor Adams. “Every New Yorker deserves a safe home with working utilities, and the NYCHA Public Housing Preservation Trust will help make that a reality. I know that with the combined force of NYCHA residents, the union workers who serve them every day, and our partners fighting in Albany, we can give these New Yorkers the homes they deserve.”
The legislation being considered in Albany — which was approved by the Assembly Housing Committee earlier this month — retains all current rights and protections for NYCHA residents, including a guarantee that no NYCHA resident will have to pay more than 30 percent of their income towards rent. The legislation also includes over a dozen changes recommended by resident leaders, including:
Approval of the Trust would allow NYCHA to double the amount of federal subsidy it receives while remaining entirely public by switching to project-based Tenant Protection Voucher funding. It will also provide NYCHA with improved procurement rules that would reduce costs, speed up construction timelines, and allow faster responses to resident requests. NYCHA would continue to own all residential complexes and the land on which they are built, with NYCHA employees continuing to manage the properties. The Trust would have a publicly appointed nine-member board, which includes four resident members.
“While we’ve seen incredible progress at NYCHA over the last few years, we won’t be able to give residents the homes they deserve, unless something major happens — and that is the Public Housing Preservation Trust,” said New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “This is a critical moment as our partners in Albany consider the legislation, and the city stands with NYCHA and residents in support of the Trust. Let’s finally get the money, reforms, and resident decision-making necessary to save this critical housing supply and return dignity to our neighbors who live in NYCHA.”
“I want to thank Mayor Adams for making public housing a priority and recognizing that we must act now if we are going to save the homes of over 400,000 New Yorkers,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Gregory Russ. “We cannot continue to do things the same way and expect different results. What makes the Trust truly different is that it is a 100-percent public entity, protects tenants’ rights and rents, treats residents as true partners, and finds a way to get the funds that we need in order to modernize the developments. I am encouraged by the leadership that I’ve witnessed in Albany over the past few weeks, especially from our sponsor, Assemblymember Steve Cymbrowitz. With the mayor, elected officials, labor leaders, advocates and especially NYCHA residents, I am confident that we can chart a new course for public housing in New York City.”
“We believe in the Trust because it will give us the opportunity to work together to get the repairs that we so desperately need,” said Barbara McFadden, Brooklyn South member, NYCHA Citywide Council of Presidents; and president, Nostrand Houses Residents Association. “Our rights and rents will be protected, and we will have a true voice when it comes to decisions that impact our communities. Now we need the state Legislature and governor to work with us to make this strong plan a reality.”
“If we want to see improvements, we have to be open to positive ideas that can bring about real change. Last week, I went to Albany to tell our elected officials exactly why I support the Trust,” said Bernadette McNear, president, Rangel Houses Tenant Association. “I love my community and want to see it get even better. At Rangel, we had inconsistent heat and hot water all winter, and now there is scaffolding around the buildings due to brick issues. We can do better, and the Trust will help get us there.”
“We urge our state lawmakers to pass this important legislation, which will help return New York City’s public housing to a place of pride in which to live and work,” said Gregory Floyd, president, Teamsters Local 237.
“For decades, NYCHA residents have suffered horrendous living conditions — including frequent utility outages, raw sewage floods, toxic mold, lead paint, and rodent infestations — stemming from government disinvestment, and this must end,” said Adriene Holder, chief attorney, civil practice, Legal Aid Society. “The Public Housing Preservation Trust would enable NYCHA to access funds to address an enormous backlog of capital repairs, while keeping local public housing in the public domain. The bill also includes an ‘opt-in’ provision, which would empower residents with unprecedented say in determining and prioritizing needs. We call on Albany to enact this critical legislation before session concludes in early June.”
“The Preservation Trust assures the future of NYCHA and its residents, even if Washington doesn’t come through,” said Victor Bach, senior housing policy analyst, Community Service Society. “It has the potential to restore decent conditions at all developments and address the $40 billion capital backlog, while keeping public housing public and giving residents unprecedented choice in whether and how the process moves forward.”
“I want to applaud Chair Russ, the executive team, Mayor Adams, and all the many advocates of the Trust, especially those who worked tirelessly to explain its purpose and extraordinary benefits to the residents of public housing,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, CEO and co-founder, Urban Upbound. “The preservation of public housing should be public objective number one. The trust will create a vehicle to drive that objective. This is a great day for the residents of public housing. I want to thank the mayor for his promise not to forget public housing. His presence today just puts an exclamation point on his ongoing commitment to make public housing a place people can call home and feel good about it.”