NEW YORK (April 9, 2015) – NYCHA residents and advocates from Real Affordability For All (RAFA) Coalition, rallied today on the steps of City Hall with elected officials, including, Council Members Ritchie Torres, Rosie Mendez, Mark Treyger, Rafael Espinal, Antonio Reynoso, Helen Rosenthal, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Comptroller Scott Stringer, to urge Mayor Bill de Blasio to set aside $100 million in capital funding annually for NYCHA in the municipal budget.
While the State set aside $100 million for NYCHA in its 2015 budget deal, the funds are only a fraction of what’s needed to improve the deplorable conditions in its public housing developments. That’s why tenants are now counting on Mayor Bill de Blasio to continue his support for public housing by committing to a much-needed long-term investment such as a baseline minimum of $100 million annually for NYCHA in the municipal budget. Additionally, NYCHA tenants and supporters are also calling on the Mayor to dedicate the Battery Park surplus to NYCHA and to end PILOT payments to help accelerate repairs.
“I was proud to be a part of the nearly 500 NYCHA residents who traveled to Albany to ask for funding for pubic housing developments last month. The commitment of $100 million is a clear sign to residents that organizing together works. But unfortunately, it is not enough. We call on Mayor de Blasio to continue to be the champion for public housing that he has been by committing to baseline funding for NYCHA at $100 million a year for the rest of his time in office. It’s time that NYCHA receive ongoing funding from the City to rely on,” said Ann Valdez, Gravesend Houses Resident, and Coney Island & Community Voices Heard Power Leader.
“NYCHA residents have been waiting for too long to see major improvements in the housing developments they call home, but that’s not possible without a permanent funding commitment from our elected officials”, said Maritza Silva-Farrell, spokesperson for Real Affordability for All (RAFA).
“The tremendous challenges faced by NYCHA require increased financing at every level of government. The State’s infusion of $100 million in capital dollars marks the beginning of a long term reinvestment in public housing and the City must follow suit.” Said Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Committee on Public Housing. “These urgently needed public dollars, at a time of historic inequality, will go toward improving living conditions for thousands of low-income New Yorkers and restoring hundreds of public housing units back to the affordable housing stock.
“I’m proud to stand with other elected officials advocates today in calling for an expanded funding commitment by our city to NYCHA,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “And I’m especially pleased that the coalition has endorsed an initiative to devote $400 million from the Battery Park City surplus to the Authority over the next ten years. NYCHA is our city’s largest source of affordable housing- a home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers- and we must do everything we can to give them safe, well-maintained housing they deserve. The State of New York has committed $100 million to this worthy effort, and now it’s time for our city to do its part as well.”
“800,000 New Yorkers depend on NYCHA for clean, safe, affordable housing – we need to honor our commitment to them,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s time to stop diverting money out of NYCHA for PILOT payments, and invest additional city funds in needed repairs and improvements. Inadequate funding for NYCHA from Albany and Washington is an injustice – but it isn’t an excuse.”
“For years our NYCHA residents have struggled with leaking ceilings, mold, and other dangerous conditions in need of immediate repair — with little funding from State and Federal sources. The City must do whatever is possible to bridge NYCHA’s funding shortfall, and that starts with committing $300 million in capital funds and freeing NYCHA from payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT). I am grateful to Council Member Ritchie Torres for being a leader on this important issue,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.
“It is a shame that Governor Cuomo was not up to the Mayor’s challenge to commit $300 million to addressing NYCHA’s dire repair needs. Still, we are calling on Mayor de Blasio to remain committed to his portion of the challenge. We must all work together to ensure a decent quality-of-life for the hundreds of thousands of people who in these developments,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
“Public housing residents deserve much more when it comes to the condition and safety of their homes and communities. This $100 million capital investment from the state is only a down payment as we begin to address years of inadequate funding, make critical repairs in hundreds of NYCHA complexes and finally improve the quality of life for thousands of New Yorkers. Additionally, our city’s efforts must include providing NYCHA with the funding and resources needed to address the serious repair backlog and maintenance shortages. I am joining my colleagues and residents from across the city in calling on Mayor de Blasio to ensure that NYCHA has the resources it needs in the coming years to fully address the serious issues plaguing public housing.” Said Council Member Mark Treyger.
“With more than 60,000 homeless New Yorkers and 247,000 families on waiting lists for placement into public housing, the City of New York is in the midst of a housing crisis. In its current fiscal state, the New York City Housing Authority cannot meet the increasing demand for affordable housing without the aid of our city and state. I join my colleagues in government, housing residents and advocates to call on Mayor de Blasio to provide the economic support that will help expand NYCHA’s capacity to sustain its buildings and extend housing to New Yorkers in need,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues.
“It is critical that NYCHA receive capital funds to make major repairs needed in its buildings. As a result of insufficient funding, Hope Gardens, a NYCHA development in my district, has been without heat for most of this brutal winter due to faulty boilers. Residents in public housing should not be subjected to those kinds of living conditions because of a lack of funding from our government. We must fully fund NYCHA now.” Said Council Member Rafael Espinal.
“The neglect of repairs in NYCHA developments is a poor reflection of what we expect from the New Yorkers who live there. We must express our confidence that NYCHA residents will continue to make meaningful contributions in our city by funding the improvements needed for them to live and raise their families in dignity. To this end, I stand with the NYC Alliance to Preserve Public Housing and all NYCHA residents in demanding the money needed to fund the backlog of improvements required in NYCHA buildings.” Said Council Member Robert Cornegy.