NYCHA Fixer-UpperFebruary 5, 2013 No Comments
New Plan to Fill Backlog of 350,000 Apartment Repairs: Last week Mayor Bloomberg announced that New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) would address the backlog of more than 340,000 apartment repair orders in the City’s public housing units. Mayor Bloomberg and NYCHA Chairman, John Rhea, unveiled a new system to streamline the repair process by coordinating tradespersons so that they are assigned in the correct order and ensure scheduled jobs are completed. The administration has committed to eliminating the backlog of NYCHA repairs by the end of 2013.
This promise comes after the New York Daily News exposed massive problems last summer in NYCHA’s management and after many of the 2013 Mayoral candidates harshly criticized the Mayor and Commissioner Rhea’s handling of NYCHA buildings and treatment of NYCHA residents:
“[In] the last year, the Daily News [has] exposed pervasive managerial incompetence at NYCHA, a consistently broke agency run by full-time board members making $186,000 a year. The News discovered NYCHA spent $10 million on a consultant report that they weren’t going to release to the public, and sat on nearly $1 billion in aid to fix apartments, while racking up a staggering backlog of 340,000 repair requests. The News also found that as the crime rate has spiked in NYCHA developments, the agency had failed to spend $45 million allotted for security cameras, some of which had been set aside eight years ago.” (1)
While ANHD applauds the Mayor’s recent initiative, it only highlights that NYCHA housing has been underappreciated and underfunded during his administration. We, like many NYCHA residents and advocates, must ask why it took so long for the administration to commit to improving the nation’s largest public housing stock and the City run buildings that are home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers?
Addressing the huge backlog of NYCHA repairs in critical. However, it is only one of the many steps needed to improve NYCHA communities. ANHD’s 2013 Affordable Neighborhoods Platform outlines critical policies that they City should put in place in order to improve NYCHA’s physical, financial, and communal circumstances. They include:
- Expand job and training opportunities for NYCHA residents in order to fulfill the federal “Section 3″ job training mandate and ensure opportunities that the reported 1,200 new workers the City will hire within the next year in order to complete the backlogged repairs.
- Discontinue the substantial payments that NYCHA pays the city for policing services and sanitation services to restore fairness and consistency between NYCHA and other city landlords and reduce the strain on NYCHA’s underfunded budget.
- Improve policies for tenants to ensure NYCHA are resident friendly communities by revising police trespass policies that strikes an appropriate balance between safety and the tenant rights; ensure that the rights to NYCHA units of legitimate family members are preserved; and ensure that seniors have the flexibility to remain in their communities’ of support.
- Leverage NYCHA’s vacant land resources by establishing ground-leases that develop the underutilized land in a way that balances economic and community concerns and prioritizes permanent affordable housing opportunities.
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