Theoretical good news from the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The public housing agency has pledged to eliminate the backlog of repairs currently on its plate.
NYCHA maintains its status as the largest operational Housing Authority in the nation–employing over 12,000 (roughly 9,000 on front-line operations and 3,000 in administration)–and New York City’s biggest landlord with over 400,000 residents, Totaling over 420,000 backlogged repairs (that’s approximately 1.05 complaints per resident), the daunting task for the action plan comes seven months after the pricey Boston Consulting Group’s (previous employers of both NYCHA Chairman, John Rhea, and Mitt Romney who had just completed B-School) key findings and recommendations report . The $10,000,000 BCG invoice that came with the report is suppose to save NYCHA $100,000,000 by 2016 with $36,000,000 annually and $27,000,000 of that being reallocated to bring in more front-line staff, says a NY Daily News report.
NYCHA will see reinvestment of $40 million into repair efforts picked up from savings in administrative costs, and $10 million from the City Council. NYCHA says it has hired more than 500 additional workers over the past year for maintenance and skilled trades.
Courtesy of NYCHA Journal
John Rhea and the city couldn’t have chosen a better time to optimize efficiency in the books considering the great amount of resources consumed in the response for Hurricane Sandy. Couple this with extreme cut backs in federal funding over the better part of a half century, and the ingredients are ripe for devastating long-lasting instability for thousands of families. As New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, put it:
No one has felt the impact of federal underfunding more than NYCHA residents, who have had to face long waits for repairs to apartments and public spaces,… Despite these severe funding challenges, we refuse to turn our backs on public housing — something we have seen other cities throughout the country do.
~Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Not for nothing, Mr. Mayor, and with all due respect but according to your record on homelessness over your 11 year reign, you really couldn’t afford to turn your back on public housing. It would be a publicity nightmare if you had.
Courtesy of Coalition for the Homeless
An elephant of homelessness lurks in the corner of City Hall. With a record number of households in shelters and a divestiture of federal aid programs like Section 8 and other housing vouchers and subsidies, Bloomberg’s necessity to keep public housing viable is warranted especially if he is ever to run for higher office. Not to mention that whoever the next Mayor is, she’ll have to face “a historic homelessness crisis” says the Coalition for the Homeless in their annual report.
Let’s hope that NYCHA can stretch resources and make good on their commitment. We can only hope for the best because hope and shelter are, sometimes, the last things that low-income public housing residents can rely on.
Read the full NYCHA Journal article here. [Source NYCHA Journal Vol. 43, No. 2 - March 2013]