For the second time since December, the Preservation Trust model has a strong lead among NYCHA voters.

Bronx River Addition

Adi Talwar

NYCHA’s Bronx River Addition located at 1350-1352 Manor Avenue in the Bronx.

Additional reporting and Spanish translation by Daniel Parra.

Editor’s note: On Friday, April 19, NYCHA’s tally confirmed the majority of Bronx River Addition voters chose the Preservation Trust.

The initial results are in. After a 30-day voting period at the Bronx River Addition Houses, a preliminary tally shows that a majority of voting residents have selected the Public Housing Preservation Trust as their preferred funding model to meet repair needs.

Out of 122 residents who submitted a ballot online or in person, 84 voted for the Trust, 22 opted for the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program and 16 chose to maintain traditional public housing funding.

MK Elections, a contractor managing the vote for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), will count the mail-in ballots on April 19 and announce the final vote. 

Milagros Martinez, who referred to the Preservation Trust as “the first option” because it appeared first on her ballot, said she is feeling happy about the prospects.

“If the first option won, it is because it is a better proposal,” Martinez told City Limits in Spanish Friday. 

In order for the vote to be valid, 20 percent of heads of household must participate. That threshold had already been cleared Friday. During the live-streamed preliminary count, officials with MK Elections noted that 112 household heads voted online or in-person, or 61 percent of the total. 

The senior complex, which consists of two buildings, has 199 eligible voters, nearly 60 of whom are currently living off-site. That group had to move out in 2022, after NYCHA deemed their building uninhabitable due to a faulty heating system. 

Based on last year’s Physical Needs Assessment—an evaluation of building conditions recommended by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development every five years—Bronx River has $66 million in outstanding repair needs, including upgrades for kitchens, bathrooms and electrical systems, and lead paint abatement. 

Maria Gonzalez, who lives across the hall from where the voter engagement office was located, said that apartment 3L, where votes were cast, was “always open.”

“The first day of in-person voting is when more people came to vote,” Gonzalez told City Limits in Spanish. “Then during evening or the weekends, some people went in to cast their vote and left their envelope inside a box.”

In December, a majority of voters at the Nostrand Houses in Sheepshead Bay, the first NYCHA complex tapped to vote on a funding model, chose the Preservation Trust. 

Under the Trust, federal Section 8 vouchers are assigned to apartments to unlock new funding, which can then be leveraged through bond issuances. NYCHA continues to manage the properties.

PACT also unlocks Section 8 subsidies, but has private management take over day-to-day operations of these complexes. Tenants asked to vote could also cast their ballots to remain in Section 9, NYCHA’s current federal funding program. 

WATCH: Trust, Pact or Section 9? A City Limits Conversation on the Future of NYCHA

NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt stated Friday that, similar to the Nostrand Houses, she hopes that Bronx River Addition will select an option that allows the housing authority to provide “much-needed” repairs to both senior buildings. Comprehensive renovations are less likely with NYCHA’s existing funding, officials have said.

“We at NYCHA are ecstatic to mark the close of voting at Bronx River Addition and are eager to find out which path residents have selected for the future of their homes,” she said in a statement.

While Bronx River residents await the final tally, a new group of tenants is already preparing to vote this summer. 

The housing authority announced April 8 that tenants living in the Coney Island Houses and Unity Towers, which also go by Coney Island I (Site 1B), are next in line. 

Coney Island Houses has an estimated capital repair need of $230 million, according to NYCHA, while Unity Towers has a need of $83 million over the next 20 years. The complexes have 530 and 192 units respectively. 

Online and mail-in voting there will take place between July 17 and August 15. During the last 10 days of voting, beginning on Aug. 6, tenants can also vote in-person.

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