Press Release



NYCHA completed a full $9.4 million program to provide frontline staff handheld devices to strengthen resident interactions.

The full rollout of handhelds is a major milestone in achieving the Authority’s NextGen NYCHA goal to modernize New York City’s public housing.

Image of General Manager Michael Kelly with a NYCHA staffmember showing a resident how to work the new digital handheld devices.

NEW YORK––Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced it completed a major program to provide frontline staff with handheld devices to improve customer service. The handhelds are electronic devices that allow development staff to more quickly respond to and handle resident repair issues. The project was completed at the end of September with 3,700 staff members now equipped with the handhelds. All staff received training to properly use the devices in the field. The most important features of the new handhelds are the increased accountability and efficiency for resident work orders, helping the Authority come one step closer to its NextGeneration NYCHA goal to provide first rate services for residents.

“We are committed to improving the Authority, and technology will play a major role in how we become a better landlord for our residents,” said NYCHA General Manager Michael Kelly. “The new handhelds are already improving how repairs are addressed and helping staff-resident relations in a very positive way.”

Since the launch of the handhelds, NYCHA has completed approximately 1,400,000 work orders through the new technology. The electronic record of the work order allows for better follow up when necessary, less reliance on manual updates and an accurate history for both the resident and the Authority. Additionally, maintenance staff are able to address more work orders per day, further helping to improve residents wait times for repair needs.

The handhelds program includes new protocols as well. For all work orders in a resident’s apartment, the maintenance staff must complete a series of safety checks, including ensuring the fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm are active. The staff must also receive the resident’s sign off on the work before the maintenance request can be confirmed completed. Certain work orders require photographs be included to confirm what work was done, and if follow-up attention is required, what the status of the issue is upon the maintenance worker’s completion. The handhelds are able to take pictures and attach them to the work order for one reliable record. These new requirements increase accountability for all parties involved and ensure higher quality work for our residents.

NYCHA initially launched the handheld program as a pilot at three developments, Howard, Lincoln and Wagner Houses, in January 2016. Property managers, supervisors, assistant supervisors and maintenance workers were the initial group in the pilot. The immediate positive feedback from staff determined that the program would be deployed to development staff Authority-wide, which began in May 2016.

Upon completion of the development-based staff roll-out, the Skilled Trades staffers, ie Carpenters, Plumbers, and Plasterers, as well as the Emergency Services Department staff were then trained and provided handhelds. All new hires will now be trained on the handhelds as part of their NYCHA training going forward. The full training series for current staff was completed in September. Overall the handheld initiative has cost the Authority $9.4 million, but it is expected to save NYCHA millions of dollars through long term cut paper expenses as well as increased efficiency.

Reaching this milestone is another major step towards achieving the NextGeneration NYCHA goal of becoming a modern and efficient landlord. The handhelds will impact every NYCHA resident as all work orders are now completed through the new devices. The traditional method of work orders being filed on paper, which then had to be manually entered into a computer would allow for delays or potential loss of work orders. The handhelds have removed these previous issues.


About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 326 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via and