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Press release: Assembly Manhattan Delegation Releases Report Urging NYCHA Funding in State Budget

March 20, 2020

Assembly Manhattan Delegation Releases Report Urging NYCHA Funding in State Budget
Report Drafted with NYCHA Tenants Recommends Permanent State Funding for Embattled and Underfunded Housing Authority
Albany, NY – On October 19, 2019 and on November 20, 2019, the Delegation hosted NYCHA Town Hall meetings to solicit recommendations from NYCHA tenants for the issues tenants have deemed the most crucial.
Today, the Manhattan Assembly delegation issued a report, NYCHA Crisis: Finding Tenant Solutions, that details the living conditions of several NYCHA developments across Manhattan, and urges New York State to commit substantial and consistent funding for NYCHA’s most urgent capital needs.
The report was drafted with significant input from NYCHA residents after Manhattan’s Assembly delegation members hosted a series of Town Hall meetings at NYCHA developments in October and November of 2019.  It presents NYCHA tenants’ concerns over NYCHA’s accountability to residents, and submitted recommendations within the scope of NYCHA’s authority to improve central communication with tenants, prioritize funding plans with attention to tenant concerns, improve safety systems, and improve resilience plans.
“Written prior to the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the pandemic further highlights that, for over 400,000 NYCHA tenants in substandard housing, the public housing crisis is a public health crisis,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, the dean and Chair of the Manhattan Assembly Delegation.  “New York State can act now with serious funding commitments and lead the way towards the restoration of NYCHA.”
Estimates for NYCHA’s total capital needs have ranged from $32 billion to $40 billion.  Members of the Delegation have also introduced bills to raise additional revenue dedicated to fund NYCHA’s capital needs.
“The town halls and the report approach the systemic NYCHA crisis with the voices of NYCHA residents first.  Their input best reflects what residents need, and their recommendations highlight extensive issues that are under NYCHA’s capacity to address – from central communication to resident accountability, these issues extend beyond funding and are in need of resident-led direction,” said Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez.  “NYCHA will continue to fall into deep disrepair unless New York State expands its re-investment effort – an effort that will pressure our federal and city partners to do the same.  Building on the previously secured $650 million, we come together as a Delegation to say that it is time for a multi-year funding commitment for NYCHA.”
“We need to focus on a community driven approach to NYCHA.  We have talked to hundreds of residents who have some very simple solutions to strengthen NYCHA.  It isn’t just about more funding, though that’s a large issue, it’s also about taking direction straight from the tenants.  NYCHA tenants are the experts on the ground, they know exactly what is happening first hand.  If we have any hope of resolving these issues, they need to be as much a part of the process as we are.  We need NYCHA to act on their recommendations here,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein.
“NYCHA housing is a vital public resource that keeps hundreds of thousands of some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers and their families housed each year.  But years of disinvestment has allowed the infrastructure of NYCHA developments citywide to crumble and the situation to become dire.  Without an immediate and robust infusion of capital into NYCHA, the future of NYCHA housing, and the hundreds of thousands of people who call it home, is uncertain. Being low-income shouldn’t mean that someone is relegated to a lifetime of unsafe and inhabitable housing.  And, while we’re working to improve conditions, we must also do a far better job empowering NYCHA residents to play an integral role in charting a path for their future.  We must work to amplify the voices of NYCHA residents,” said Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal.
“Manhattan has several NYCHA developments with tenants suffering from deteriorating living conditions,” said Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick. “As the State moves forward to push the Federal government to allocate more funds for capital improvements, I am hopeful the town halls and report our delegation created will shed light on some of the crises tenants experience daily. Establishing a rapid response repair team in every building, capable of responding to emergency repairs is crucial.  These teams should be able to ensure minor repairs are done quickly, and small emergencies don’t grow into building-wide crisis.  I thank my colleagues in the Manhattan Delegation for working on this issue on behalf of the working poor and vulnerable populations who deserve decent housing.”
“Decades of financial neglect and mismanagement have created a living environment that is neither safe, nor livable,” said Assembly Member Dan Quart.  “While it is clear a substantial funding gap remains, after hearing directly from tenants, we know there are immediate changes NYCHA can implement, like improving communication, that would make a significant difference in the lives of residents,” he said.
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