After weeks of negotiations, the unarmed security program that was poised to end on June 30 will continue.

NYCHA senior lobby Bronx River Addition

Adi Talwar

The lobby at NYCHA’s Bronx River Addition, one of the housing authority’s senior buildings.

A security program that has provided an extra layer of protection for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) senior tenants for a quarter century is here to stay.

NYCHA, which has 55 senior-only buildings, has long funded unarmed security guards to be posted there for eight hour shifts, seven days a week.

The near $7 million program was slated to end on June 30 to help NYCHA close a $35 million gap in its operating budget, but Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council announced Friday that the service will remain and has been baked into the larger $112.4 billion city budget for fiscal year 2025.

“When I heard we were cutting this and I heard from councilmembers, we said, it cannot happen,” said Adams during the budget announcement. “Our seniors must be safe.”

City Limits spoke with senior tenants in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan in recent weeks about the proposed cut. All expressed support for the program, though some, including tenants at Vandalia Avenue in East New York, had differing beliefs about whether a guard had been present to-date.

Brooklyn Councilmember Justin Brannan, chair of the Committee on Finance, told City Limits in an email exchange Monday that city councilmembers were “puzzled” by the proposed cut.

During the executive budget hearings, he said, there was testimony from residents who talked about issues such as not having a functioning intercom system, and that taking away human security would be “dangerous.”

“Removing security guards at NYCHA senior buildings just made zero sense,” Brannan said. “The Council, through the leadership of Speaker [Adrienne] Adams and Public Housing Chair Chris Banks, drew a line in the sand and were able to restore $6.8 million to keep these guards working and keep our seniors safe.”

Though the funding was not baselined for future budgets, Brannan expressed confidence that it will not be cut again. Reached for comment Monday, NYCHA praised both the Adams administration and the City Council.

“NYCHA is so pleased that the city’s arrangement of necessary funding will allow for the unarmed security guard program to continue at all senior buildings across the portfolio without any interruption in services,” a spokesperson said.

Terry Campuzano, the tenant association president at Meltzer Tower in the Lower East Side, said he was “thrilled” that the senior security program will remain in place.

“We have fob keys so we have electronic doors and there’s been a few times when nobody has been around at night and they’ll pull and pull and pull on those electronic doors until they pop open,” Campuzano said.

Meltzer Tower is in the process of converting from a Section 9 public housing development to the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program under Section 8.

Under PACT, units are managed by private developers who handle day to day operations such as maintenance and rent collection.

Metzler’s hope, he said, is to expand security service beyond the standard eight hours. But he but is relieved that security will be in the building from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

“I’m thankful that they put us in the budget,” Campuzano said. “We feel better about that because I’m telling you it would have been a tragedy had we not had this security there.”

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