NYCHA ANNOUNCES PACT (PERMANENT AFFORDABILITY COMMITMENT TOGETHER) AND PLANS FOR $1 BILLION IN MAJOR UPGRADES TO 5,200 APARTMENTS
The Authority seeks federal approval to expand the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program in New York City; plans for much-needed building modernizations, permanent affordability and tenancy protections to 13,000 public housing residents.
NEW YORK— The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced PACT—Permanent Affordability Commitment Together––a commitment to long-term affordability and to renovate 178 public housing buildings that have fallen into disrepair after decades of government disinvestment. PACT aims to ensure tenant rights and protections as NYCHA seeks approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to include nearly 5,200 additional units of New York City public housing in the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.
An Obama Administration initiative, RAD is a tool housing authorities from across the country can use to make necessary improvements and ensure long-term affordability. Under the program, major repairs are made to a specific development when the housing authority shifts the federal subsidy supporting the development from the public housing program (Section 9) to the Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8). Contracts require the units or apartments that transition be permanently affordable––and are renewed automatically every 20 years.
The types of major improvements that could be funded through PACT or New York City’s implementation of RAD include comprehensive mold remediation, roof or façade replacements, new kitchens, bathrooms, and flooring, renovated hallways and stairwells, upgrades to lighting, fencing, doors, windows, and common areas such as basketball courts. See the PACT fact sheet for more information.
"This NextGeneration strategy is an innovative path forward to deliver both permanent affordability and improvements to the quality of life for thousands of NYCHA residents,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “With HUD approval, NYCHA will be able to move forward with long-overdue apartment upgrades—and, thanks to the leadership of a number of community advocates and resident leaders, we’ve developed some of the strongest resident protections in the country.”
“Across the country, housing authorities have leveraged $2 billion through the Rental Assistance Demonstration program to make much-needed repairs to almost 30,000 units of public housing,” said Holly Leicht, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “NYCHA is poised to build on this national momentum, enabling significant investments in targeted portions of its portfolio and preserving the long-term affordability and tenant protections that make public housing a bedrock of New York City’s neighborhoods.”
“In the face of federal disinvestment in public housing, the Rental Assistance Demonstration program is the best tool we have to protect and make the necessary repairs to NYCHA developments,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair, Committee on Public Housing. “Federal approval to include more than 5,000 units in RAD would ensure those units are modernized, receive upgrades and remain permanently affordable. RAD has proven to be successful and effective for other public housing authorities across the country, and can work in NYC as well.”
In 2013, NYCHA sought approvals for upgrading 1,400 units at the Ocean Bay (Bayside) development in the Rockaways. Last year, HUD approved NYCHA’s application, and the Authority has been meeting monthly with residents to share updates on renovation and repair plans, the transition process, tenancy rights and the Section 8 program.
This week, NYCHA’s Board voted to approve the 5,200 units with major repair needs totaling nearly $1 billion to be part of PACT and submitted in a RAD application for HUD approvals. This vote comes on the heels of 6 public townhall meetings held with residents and community members in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. HUD must approve NYCHA’s application for RAD for the program and improvements to move forward. Following approval, NYCHA will launch regular meetings with residents, obtain a physical assessment of building conditions and needs, and seek a public-private partnership that will finance the much-needed upgrades. RAD is proposed for specific buildings located at these sites:
Betances II, III, IV, V and VI Claremont Rehab Franklin Avenue I, II, III Harrison Avenue Rehab Highbridge Rehabs Morrisania
South Bronx Area Site 402 Stebbins Avenue - Hewitt Place Twin Parks West Union Avenue - East 166th Street West Farms Square Conventional
Louis Armstrong Houses Berry Street-South 9th Street Bushwick II Seth Low Houses Marcy Avenue - Green Avenue Palmetto Gardens Weeksville Gardens
Manhattanville Rehab Wise Rehab WSUR Brownstones
RAD is an essential strategy under NextGeneration NYCHA, the Authority’s 10 year strategic plan to get NYCHA’s financial house in order and improve quality of life for residents.
Most recently, NYCHA has been working with several resident leaders and advocacy groups, including the Community Service Society of New York, Legal Aid, and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. to identify key resident rights and resident experiences that could change with a RAD transition. Over a three-month period, NYCHA, residents, and community group members agreed to a set of principles to guide NYCHA’s use of RAD, referred to as PACT in New York City. These principles outline resident rights, responsibilities of a new property manager/developer, and NYCHA’s role. Read PACT’s Guiding Principles.
“I support programs that provide residents with viable options and tenant protection. NYCHA’s application seeking federal approval to expand the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program for the benefit of approximately 2,500 Bronx units of the total 5,000 units in the application is good news for public housing residents in The Bronx. This private-public partnership could provide badly needed repairs and upgrades for public housing with guarantees of permanent affordability. In Phase One alone, it would direct $200 Million to improvements in eight Bronx public housing developments, repairs and upgrades that are sorely needed. I look forward to working with NYCHA to improve conditions in The Bronx for residents of public housing,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“We are on the verge of a transformational positive shift if this Rental Assistance Demonstration project is approved,” said Assembly Member Michael Blake. “I commend NYCHA Chairwoman Olotaye, Housing & Urban Development Secretary Castro and their teams on seeking to ensure that our 27,000 families in public housing get to live better, healthier and longer. Everyone deserves quality, affordable, safe and environmentally sound housing, especially those in public housing. This effort, if approved, will be a positive gamechanger for our residents in public housing by providing substantive improvements and ensuring affordability.”
“As NYCHA begins to make needed upgrades across developments all across the City, a program like RAD is shaping up to be the primary tool at their disposal to uplift NYCHA residents so they no longer feel like the forgotten residents of New York City,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Today’s announcement is a huge step toward repairing buildings that have been neglected for decades. I’d like to thank NYCHA CEO and Chair Shola Olatoye for her leadership in identifying RAD as creative way to bring in crucial investment that is lacking across the City. I look forward to ensuring that this process serves my Ocean Bay residents to its fullest potential.”
“For residents, this NYCHA initiative assures decent living conditions and permanent affordability. But, since they will be transitioning from public to alternative ownership, residents must also be assured they will retain basic tenant rights and protections,” said Victor Bach, Senior Housing Policy Analyst, Community Service Society (CSS). “The Community Service Society, together with resident leaders and other housing advocates, joined in drawing up guideline principles that need to be put into practice during and after these conversions take place.”
“The RAD Principles will ensure that residents living in homes that are converted under RAD will continue to have the most important rights and protections that they currently have as public housing tenants,” said Lucy Newman, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society. “The Legal Aid Society will be diligently following the RAD conversion process to make sure that NYCHA and property developers adhere to the agreed upon principles so that residents of converted properties receive the repairs, services and rights and protections that they are entitled to.”
“It is essential to preserve public housing as a safe, high-quality, affordable resource for the next generation of New Yorkers,” said Judi Kende, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “But dwindling federal resources mean we must leverage private dollars to make necessary repairs for residents who rely on public housing for shelter. We applaud NYCHA’s plan to utilize the Rental Assistance Demonstration and encourage Congress to lift the cap on the program so these homes can be preserved and improved.”
“CLPHA applauds NYCHA’s plan to improve and modernize over 5,000 public housing apartments through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, leveraging public resources for a $1 billion investment to improve the quality of life for NYCHA residents,” said Sunia Zaterman, Executive Director, Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA). “This is a major step forward for the largest housing authority in the country in terms of scale, scope and ambition. RAD brings new tools to housing authorities across the country to safeguard long-term affordability, to make desperately-needed capital investments and to ensure tenant protections. CLPHA supports the Senate provision that raises the cap on RAD participation so that NYCHA and other housing authorities can continue to use RAD to preserve and improve their public housing stock.”
“With a steep decline in federal funds over the last decade, NYCHA can now bring needed capital investment into their aging public housing portfolio through RAD,” said Rachel Fee, Executive Director, New York Housing Conference. “Residents will see major and lasting improvements to building systems and their apartments once a developer is in place. NYCHA's capital backlog is 65% of the total national backlog of $26 billion. The housing authority must use every available tool to preserve New York's desperately needed public housing for its current residents and the long line of families waiting to get in.”
“The RAD program will help preserve the long-term physical and financial viability of public housing in New York City,” said Sam Marks, Executive Director, LISC New York City. “We applaud NYCHA’s efforts to leverage the benefits of RAD to address critical repair needs across their portfolio. Working alongside a broad spectrum of community stakeholders, LISC New York City contributed to the development of a set of Guiding Principles in NYCHA’s PACT to affirm residents’ rights and to ensure that residents remain safe, secure, and properly housed throughout the RAD process.”
"As the preservation of low-income housing moves away from publicly-owned housing development to privately-owned subsidy-based programs, FUREE has continuously organized in these communities to ensure residents aren't vulnerable to housing-insecurity and displacement,” said Shatia Strother, Program Coordinator, FUREE (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality). “We are proud to have been a part of developing the guiding principles that will determine the implementation of NYCHA's RAD conversions here in New York City and remain hopeful that these principles set a precedent for future practices.”
“Here at Betances, we are very excited about the RAD program because we’ve been waiting for years for improvements. Residents need upgrades and a place they can afford to live,” said Giselle Gavin, Resident Association President, Betances. “The residents here, including myself, look forward to the improvements we will soon see and for NYCHA to enforce the rules that will protect us.”
“I am proud to support the RAD program – and proud to say we helped hammer out the principles that will define the program here in New York,” said Diane Blackwell, Resident Association President, Frederick Samuel Houses. “Residents had a seat at the table since day one, guaranteeing our voices were heard throughout the process, and the support of HUD gives us confidence that this program will be a success.”
“The RAD program is needed because NYCHA does not have the money to repair our buildings to where they should be,” said Keith Chase, Resident Association President, Palmetto Gardens. “Repairs with RAD will be faster, residents will be able to stay in their homes, and NYCHA will make sure we keep our rights.”