A new report by the Community Service Society details new opportunities to connect residents of the New York City Housing Authority, the nation's oldest and largest public housing agency, to work. For one thing, the mayor's new Young Men's Initiative targets the very demographic group most at need on NYCHA complexes. For another, federal regulators recently ruled that the NYPD, which receives $73 million a year from the housing authority to provide protection, must comply with a rule compelling NYCHA contractors to hire public housing residents.
But while there are reasons for optimism, the new study by CSS (of which City Limits is an operationally independent division) paints a bleak picture of the current economic situation facing the city's public housing residents and those low-income people using federal Section 8 housing vouchers, which are also administered by NYCHA:
Internal NYCHA estimates of current resident unemployment run high but are not officially verifiable. Anecdotal reports of rising rent arrears in public housing point to the growing income stresses and hardships under which assisted households are living, even at affordable rents. This analysis estimates that, as of 2010, the combined unemployment rate for public housing and voucher residents had reached about 27 percent, nearly triple the 10 percent rate in 2008, two years earlier. An estimated 30,000 to 34,000 public housing residents were unemployed, compared to 13,000 in 2008; between 20,000 and 24,000 voucher residents were unemployed, compared to 8,000 in 2008.
To read the full report, click here.