FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2020
NYCHA CHAIR GREG RUSS WILL TESTIFY BEFORE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL PUBLIC HOUSING COMMITTEE ON THE AUTHORITY'S 2020 BUDGET
Increased funding this year will be dedicated towards boosting staffing levels, combatting mold and lead-based paint hazards, and improving heating and elevator service
NEW YORK – Today, NYCHA Chairman & CEO Greg Russ will testify before the New York City Council Committee on Public Housing about the Authority’s adopted budget for 2020, which was approved by NYCHA’s Board of Directors on December 18, 2019. NYCHA General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Vito Mustaciuolo and Vice President for Finance & Chief Financial Officer Annika Lescott will also be present to answer questions.
“NYCHA’s budget is a reflection of our priorities in this time of transformation – it acknowledges that we must invest in our buildings while achieving appropriate staffing levels,” said NYCHA Chairman & CEO Greg Russ. “We are using every tool and resource at our disposal to bring NYCHA into compliance, improve the quality of life for our residents, and preserve public housing for decades to come.”
Today’s preliminary budget hearing testimony lays out NYCHA’s approach to improving the quality of life for public housing residents through action plans in critical areas while also noting the challenges associated with bringing the Authority into compliance with the HUD agreement, given a lack of additional or dedicated federal funding for these efforts. The Authority has tens of billions of dollars’ worth of capital needs anticipated across NYCHA’s housing portfolio, and the 2020 budget assumes a proration for operating funding that is $50 million less than what NYCHA is eligible for from the federal government.
Additionally, today’s testimony will highlight the need for continued collaboration with city and state legislators, through such measures as Mayor de Blasio’s commitment of $6.4 billion in funding to address capital needs, and the New York congressional delegation’s work securing $1 billion in federal operating funding and $552 million in capital funding in 2019.
This year, NYCHA anticipates a modest revenue surplus of $91 million in 2020, with $3.84 billion in operating revenues compared to $3.75 billion in operating expenses. The anticipated outlay in federal operating funding for NYCHA apartments will translate to approximately $6,000 in spending per unit. A significant portion of spending will be dedicated towards capital investments in building improvements and increasing the staffing headcount for addressing maintenance needs.
To date, the Authority has spent approximately $201 million on staff and $93 million on vendors to fulfill the obligations of the HUD agreement. Continuing to increase the Authority’s headcount will be a key part of the Authority’s strategy for meeting compliance and bringing NYCHA’s buildings up to standard with federal regulations and local law. Last year, NYCHA created three new departments to help operationalize the agreement’s action plans – Compliance, Environmental Health and Safety, and Quality Assurance; and budgeted $18 million to hire 96 staffers for this work. The Authority has also spent $14 million to hire 153 staff for the Healthy Homes Department, which manages efforts around lead, mold, and pests.
While the Authority is currently spending about $101 million to conduct XRF tests for lead in 134,000 apartments, NYCHA estimates that it will have to spend $230 million annually to achieve lead compliance with interim control protocols. NYCHA expects that it will cost over $2.5 billion in total to fully abate lead-based paint across its portfolio.
The hearing will also provide an opportunity to highlight how NYCHA is working to secure additional pools of funding for addressing capital needs through the PACT/RAD preservation initiative, which is a key part of NYCHA 2.0. The program is focused on bringing renovations and repairs to 62,000 apartments over the next eight years. In February, the Authority closed its seventh PACT transaction, and is expected to bring nearly 21,000 apartments into the conversion pipeline by the spring of 2020.
The New York City Housing Authority is the largest public housing authority in North America, housing nearly 400,000 residents. 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. Over 390,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 316 public housing developments and PACT developments around the five boroughs. Over 190,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA- administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/nycha, and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/NYCHA and www.twitter.com/NYCHA.