Last week, the State Comptroller released a report that says that the New York City Housing Authority’s 325 projects are riddled with lousy plumbing, bad boilers and leaking roofs.
NYCHA couldn’t agree more.
“We don’t have a quarrel with [State Comptroller H. Carl McCall],” explained Authority spokesperson Hilly Gross. “Our modernization needs are $6 billion or $7 billion. If we’re getting $345 million for modernization, sooner or later–and probably sooner–we aren’t going to be able to keep up. What we’re doing now is a masterful job of triage.”
The report uses internal NYCHA data to document a slew of maintenance problems in some 120,000 units. Plumbing in half the buildings is rated poor or worse, and heat, roofs, and elevators in nearly one-third of the projects earn the same rating.
One of the city’s older projects, Brooklyn’s 2,500-unit Red Hook I, is projected to require about $140 million in repairs. Its current budget for capital improvements: About $6.5 million, or less than 5 percent of what it needs.
The report pins responsibility for the dilapidated buildings directly on the feds. NYCHA says that it only gets enough federal money to tackle about 13 percent of its projected capital needs, estimating it would take more than $7 billion to put its projects in good shape.
Adding insult to injury, last week a state Supreme Court judge rejected NYCHA’s demand to get its state funding restored, referring the case to another court. The state used to give the housing authority $30 million each year, but since 1997, it has provided only about $19 million annually. NYCHA sued, charging that the annual budget line was a contract that had been violated. The case is also being heard simultaneously in the court of claims, and the authority hopes to win its appeal there.