Op-Ed: De Blasio’s Commitment to NYCHA is Unprecedented

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Queensbridge Houses

Metro Centric

Queensbridge Houses

NYCHA is New York City’s largest provider of affordable housing and the biggest public housing authority in the nation. It is more than a collection of 2,600 buildings and 400 community centers—it is home to more than 400,000 public housing residents and over 200,000 New Yorkers who live in Section 8 properties. NYCHA is their door to opportunity and better lives.

Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA’s new administration knows as well as NYCHA residents the challenges to this mission. The Authority contends with deteriorating buildings that are 50 or 60 years old. Steady federal disinvestment since 2001 has resulted in a staggering $1 billion deficit and significant capital needs, from boilers to rooftops. The mayor has devoted unprecedented attention and historic support to NYCHA. This support includes a $210 million plan to make NYCHA neighborhoods safer.  It also includes forgiveness of NYCHA’s payments to the police resulting in $70 million dollars that NYCHA used to improve repair times and reduce open work orders by 77 percent since last year.

At the conclusion of 2014, we also trained 350 supervisors on how to better remediate mold; preserved nearly 900 project-based Section 8 apartments through an innovative public/private partnership; completed vital capital work at dozens of buildings; removed 27,000 feet of sidewalk sheds; connected over 2,000 residents to good jobs; and launched “NYCHA Metrics” on our website to provide the public with more data on our successes and areas we need to improve.

Mayor de Blasio tasked me with resetting relationships with all those invested in NYCHA’s survival. Since I was appointed in March, I have visited more than 70 developments to discuss with residents and employees how NYCHA can become a better landlord, our core function. With their input, we’ve identified ways to create financial stability, rehabilitate and make better use of properties, rebuild for resiliency, and develop sustainable models for resident services and engagement. This year, we will build upon these achievements by implementing a new property management pilot at certain developments, launching a 501(c)(3) to create better services for residents, and releasing NextGeneration NYCHA, our ten-year strategic investment plan to sustain and improve public housing for the future, by creating safe, clean, and connected communities.

We know we have a lot of work to do. And the status quo cannot continue. Through collaboration with all of our stakeholders to forge creative solutions to our problems, we will build a next-generation housing authority, one that can continue providing opportunity to the coming generations.

Shola Olatoye is the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Housing Authority

  • native new yorker

    NYCHA residents get free water, gas and electric. Paid for by NYC taxpayers.

    • JP

      This is not factually accurate. NYCHA residents are also NYC (and State and Federal) taxpayers, so they pay for the services you delineate and do not receive them for “free.” Furthermore, it is actually not factually accurate to state that NYCHA residents do not pay for electric; some NYCHA residents living in certain developments pay a monthly electric bill directly issued by the utility. This has always been the case in the development I live in.

  • Denise Bobb

    With the help of the Mayor And the NYCHA he can do it . i know he can ,thats why i voted for him

  • Anna Yamada

    so why is he letting vulture firms buy out and eventually force out the section 8 tenants? why is he allowing illegal subletting via the irish mob of apartments to be no-tell motels and month-by-month hostels and brothels at $1000/bedroom/month with kickbacks going to politicians and staff and board members at nycha and menwhile many of the apartments are illegally rented out to begin with to persons politically connected who have alternative living (luxury condos, country houses, houses on the jersey shore, multiple nycha apts controlled by a single family etc), or are gained control of by forcing little old ladies to flee to puerto rico or other places and come in once a year to recertify (some of these little old ladies actually might be dead already and being recertified fraudulently). there is no photographic means to verify who is actually residing in any apt at any one time. the section 8 inspectors cannot get into the apts to inspect them because–illegal occupants don’t open the door for them!

    if this is what by is meant by leftiist being better fraudsters, but just more petty ones using poverty as a shield for their activities and pimping off the misery of the poor, we concur.

    the drug dealers hold open the elevators for hours on end and break the elevators in doing so by almost every weekend.

    the multiple illegal residents use the stove to heat their apartments cuz they are yuppies or foreigners who are surprised that our apts have no heat frequently…the smell of a stove on for hours is distinctive.

    and they are threatening to continue the vulture sales inviting blacksotne and lnm and bfc to profit even greater by harassing the disenfanchised out of our apts which the taxpayers in good faith and the general public paid for as nycha’s nonprofit sponosrs and tax-subsidizers. a small price to pay so that deserving poor get a chance to live other than ghettos or shanty-towns or hillbilly-hovels. but apparently the compassion of “the reagan era” is carried forth or is no longer, you take your pick.

    the only reason you do not yet see an army of pooor and recently-yet-again disenfranchised jihadis is that the worst of this creeping greed and callousness has not yet been made manifest.

    i don’t see Diiblasio or Cuomo doing anything to prevent this..

    this is the legacy of Shelly Silver–selling out the poor and middle class who suppored him
    on his way out?

    it is easy to be so cynical. and yes i do live in nycha apt legitimately. my development is on the list they are secretly trying to sell out too. this is alienation and diversion and fraud. any law firm wanna take a crack at this? and damages too?

    • JEng

      How much rent do you pay?

  • JEng

    Why can’t they bring all rents in line and all rules in line? Or are they planning on regulating all rents? Rent control and rent stabilization which both allow for succession rights is unfair and penalized specifically when the govt wont even subject themselves to these types of tenancies. NYCHA has more rights than rent regulated private owners.