A Blueprint for Change

A Blueprint for Change

FAQs on NYCHA’s Blueprint for Change


What is A Blueprint for Change?

NYCHA’s A Blueprint for Change is a set of ideas for how we can invest in our properties, residents, and organization. It is designed to improve residents’ homes while protecting their rights. In addition, its proposals will create jobs for residents while generating economic activity that will help New York City recover economically from the pandemic.

By addressing the outstanding capital needs across NYCHA’s portfolio, the Blueprint builds upon the Authority’s work to create healthier homes for residents. This means addressing critical areas such as heating, elevators, pests and waste, lead, and mold.

The Blueprint also includes a plan for transforming NYCHA as an organization, so that it can better serve residents.


How will Blueprint for Change rehabilitate NYCHA’s buildings and apartments?
The Blueprint proposes transferring 110,000 apartments to a newly created public entity – a Public Housing Preservation Trust. With this Trust, repairs and improvements will be made faster, and the properties will receive more funding through switching from traditional Section 9 subsidy to the more reliable and valuable Tenant Protection Vouchers (Section 8 subsidy). NYCHA will remain permanent owner of the properties, and a long-term ground lease with the Trust allows NYCHA to raise money for major rehabilitations.


What exactly is the Public Housing Preservation Trust?
The Public Housing Preservation Trust is a public entity (specifically, a public benefit corporation that makes public improvements) that would be created through State legislation. It is not a for-profit or non-profit corporation. The Trust has no shareholders – it answers to NYCHA residents and the people of New York.


Will residents lose their rights with this plan?
Residents will keep their full rights and protections permanently, including the right to establish resident organizations, automatic lease renewal, and succession rights.


How will residents’ rights be protected?
State law, along with federal laws and regulations, guarantee full tenant rights and protections. The Trust will be contractually obligated to provide and maintain the “carry over” rights from the public housing program (specifically, the Part 964 rules, including the provisions related to resident management corporations [RMCs]; Section 3 requirements regarding economic opportunities for residents; the existing public housing lease with a rider to accommodate the subsidy changes; and other protections related to due process, rights of return, etc.). In addition, NYCHA is willing to offer each family in any apartment converted under Blueprint with a Family Protection Agreement that would provide a written commitment to them related to resident rights and family protections.


Will residents be displaced?
No residents will be displaced or lose their current home.


Will residents’ rents go up?
Rent will continue to be capped at 30 percent of household income.


Is this privatization?
This is not privatization. NYCHA will remain 100 percent public and will continue to own its land and buildings and operate the properties.


What improvements will be made?
We will make all necessary major repairs at our properties. That means new kitchens and bathrooms (including appliances and fixtures), boilers and heating systems, elevators, building pipes, ventilation systems, facades, and high-security front doors. It also means addressing lead, mold, leaks, and pests and improving waste management – creating healthier homes for residents.


How long will renovations take?
Renovations typically take about two and a half years.


When would renovations begin?
Renovation plans could be in place as early as the end of 2021, with construction beginning in 2022. However, we are in the early stages of discussion on the Blueprint, and much more work needs to be done before we have a firm timeline.


Will I have to relocate during renovations?
Rehabilitation work will be done to minimize resident relocation. In certain situations, there may be temporary relocation to accommodate the significant levels of construction in the apartments and buildings. If renovations require residents to leave their apartment temporarily, they will be provided another apartment while the renovations take place. All expenses related to a temporary move would be covered by NYCHA.


How will the Trust bring more funding and improvements to the buildings and apartments?

The Blueprint proposes transferring 110,000 apartments to a newly created public entity – a Public Housing Preservation Trust. With this Trust, repairs and improvements will be made faster, and the properties will receive more funding through switching from traditional Section 9 subsidy to the more reliable and valuable Tenant Protection Vouchers (Section 8 subsidy). NYCHA will remain permanent owner of the properties, and a long-term ground lease with the Trust allows NYCHA to raise money for major rehabilitations.

The Trust will bring billions of dollars of improvements by transferring the apartments’ funding source from Section 9 subsidy to Section 8 subsidy (Tenant Protection Vouchers, known as TPVs). TPVs provide nearly twice the subsidy of other federal funding sources. With the TPVs, each apartment can get $650 more in subsidy each month. With the extra money, NYCHA can raise funds through bonds and loans to pay for the top-to-bottom renovations – and the debt obligations would be paid back using the additional TPV subsidy. This way, for every $1 in federal TPV subsidy, the Authority could complete over $6 in capital repairs.

Repairs can be made faster due to the more flexible procurement rules that will be part of the legislation creating the Trust.


What exactly are Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs)?
TPVs are a type of subsidy from the federal U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that is provided to low-income residents. With the Blueprint plan, they would be made available when NYCHA transfers the properties to the Trust through a long-term ground lease. These TPVs would then be attached to the property as a permanent funding stream for the future.


What if a resident earns too much to qualify for Section 8?
Existing residents can keep their lease and stay in their apartment after a development converts to Section 8, even if their income is above the Section 8 income limit. Rent will continue to be capped at 30 percent of household income. NYCHA will provide redevelopment plans under the Blueprint that provide a transition path for high-earning families. NYCHA’s goal under the Blueprint is to NOT displace a family.


Who will manage the properties?
The Trust would do the repair work while contracting property management back to NYCHA staff. This model is similar to the NYC School Construction Authority, which helped improve the Department of Education’s schools when they were in bad condition in the 1990s.


What will happen to NYCHA staff?
NYCHA staff will continue to manage and maintain the buildings.


How will NYCHA upgrade the rest of its portfolio?
NYCHA’s 62,000 other apartments are being rehabilitated through the separate PACT/RAD initiative. Together, this is the first time NYCHA has a comprehensive renovation plan for every building.


How is the Trust different from PACT/RAD?
With PACT/RAD, a public-private partnership rehabilitates and manages the properties. With the Trust model, the public Trust oversees the capital repairs/improvements and NYCHA remains the property manager.

With both initiatives, residents maintain their full rights and protections, including rent capped at 30 percent of household income. And both programs keep NYCHA as the permanent owner of the buildings and the land by using a 99-year ground lease.


Why not use the Preservation Trust for the whole portfolio?
PACT/RAD and the Trust complement each other in addressing the capital needs of NYCHA’s entire portfolio. Without PACT/RAD, NYCHA would not have enough capital funding to cover the repair needs of all the apartments we own and manage. So far, PACT/RAD has brought $1 billion in upgrades to nearly 8,000 apartments and is on track to renovate a total of 62,000 apartments.


How will this benefit the city as a whole?
This would be the largest investment in New York City’s public housing since the 1950s – an investment that would help the city recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Every dollar put into public housing is more than doubled in the regional economy, thanks to the jobs and tax revenues generated by the investment.

Through Section 3 and M/WBE programs, residents would be prioritized for job training and the thousands of jobs associated with the renovation work.

By incorporating the latest energy-efficient technologies and appliances, the renovations would also foster a greener and cleaner NYCHA.


How was the Blueprint plan created?
NYCHA Chair Russ began developing the idea for the Blueprint as soon as he joined NYCHA in August of 2019. Over the course of the year, Russ met with residents, advocates, and elected officials. In those meetings, three main points became clear:

  1. conditions in NYCHA developments are desperate and major capital investments are long overdue;
  2. there are concerns about expanding the use of private development partners; and
  3. structural change is necessary to improve service to our residents.

To address these three areas, we needed to develop a model to do the work publicly, leveraging debt without a private development partner. Working with public housing authority experts, NYCHA developed the model of the Public Housing Preservation Trust.


Will residents be able to shape these plans?
Yes. This is just the start of the conversation on these ideas, and NYCHA will continue to engage residents and other stakeholders so we can develop these ideas and make progress together. Some of the steps in the Blueprint are required by federal law for NYCHA to access the Tenant Protection Vouchers. NYCHA intends to engage residents significantly over the coming months to ensure that residents understand why we are taking certain actions in order to comply with the existing law and access the vouchers.


How is NYCHA transforming as an organization?
NYCHA is planning significant organizational reforms to become more responsive and accountable to residents’ needs – creating a new culture of service to residents. That involves changes to empower our staff, break down silos, and improve interdepartmental communication; enable data-driven decision making; and improve our partnerships with residents, community-based organizations, vendors, elected officials, and others.

NYCHA is engaging residents, employees, advocates, elected officials, and other stakeholders in the development of its transformation plan.


BLUEPRINT FOR CHANGE PRESENTATION

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