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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development
Press Room


July 1, 1999

Carol Abrams
(212) 863-5176

Cassandra Vernon
(212) 863-8076

Free Housing Education Classes from Housing Preservation and Development

New Interactive TeleVisual Courses to Reach Students in Other Boroughs

In an effort to better maintain and preserve housing throughout the city, HPD's Housing Education Program (HEP) provides owners, superintendents, building managers, and others with free courses on a variety of topics relevant to owning property in New York City. There is even a hands-on class for 17-22 year olds who are thinking of becoming superintendent assistants.

1,800 people have taken HEP courses this fiscal year. The courses include Introduction to Building Management and Systems for the Residential Property Owner; Advanced Building Management; Advanced Building Systems/Physical Plant; Building Finances; Working with Tenants; Water and Energy Conservation; Heat and Hot Water; Owners Anti-Abandonment Training; and Building Maintenance for Youth.

"HPD's Housing Education courses are key component of our PRO Housing initiative to preserve quality housing by encouraging preventative maintenance and investment in building improvements," said HPD Commissioner Richard T. Roberts.

"It was great to hear from a guy who was in the boiler business for 25 years and to get advice from him," commented one class participant. "I never like it when some guy who never got mud on his face or hands lectured me about boilers, and HPD helped me learn by giving me real experts, with genuine field experience."

Another owner commented on the Working With Tenantscourse by pointing out that his rent rolls paid his mortgage, and when tenant relations were bad, so too were rent rolls. By learning how to improve tenant relations, he said happily, he was able to improve his bottom line.

HPD has long offered basic education courses for owners and managers, but has recently expanded its programs and will soon offer interactive televised courses to students in remote locations. HEP now includes a wider range of courses, developed in response to student interests, including basic overview courses and more advanced ones.

Interactive Video Takes Classes to the Boroughs

Through interactive television and video technology, the Housing Education Program provides courses available to students at various remote locations. Not only will all the students see and hear the teacher, but they'll be able to ask the instructor questions and interact with other students at other locations.

The first interactive broadcasts will begin July 1st, 1999, for a course entitled Introduction to Building Management and Systems for the Residential Property Owner. This particular course will reach four locations in three boroughs:

• Department of Citywide Administrative Services, 2 Washington Street, Manhattan;

• The Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers Street, Manhattan;

• 11 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn;

• Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, Bronx.

To obtain more information about the program or to participate in future courses please contact the Housing Education Program at 212-863-8830. Participants can also register for HEP courses through HPD's web page at

Portrait of a Housing Education Program Participant

When videographer Laszlo Reichardt first set eyes on the area around Brooklyn's Prospect Place and Fifth Avenue - where he would eventually be buying a building - it was a study in urban decay and devastation. Abandoned buildings lined the street, one in worse condition than the next.

While many thought that the block's buildings were destined to fall to rubble, Laszlo believed that the building's graffiti-covered facades, broken pipes and fixtures, and general structural decomposition could be transformed into fully functional housing, a vital part of a greater community. As a result, Laszlo purchased his mixed use building and undertook a gut rehab.

"I learned a lot through trial and error," Laszlo explains, "which is difficult and costly. Subsequently, I took HPD's Housing Education Program course, Building Management and Systems for the Residential Property Owner. It was an eye-opener and taught me a great deal, especially in mechanical areas, where I considered myself weak. It's helped me tremendously in taking care of my property."

Laszlo looks at his newly acquired residential building savvy with New York City realism. There was a time when he and a contractor might agree on a work effort that required half inch copper piping. Laszlo never used to discuss pipe-gauge with them, and they never seemed to offer the information. "Now," he relates, "we get down to the millimeter. Those Housing Education Program courses are excellent, and I recommend them strongly for building owners."

Currently looking for more property in the borough, Laszlo points out, "This time, I'll have a better starting point. Between my owner experiences, and the HPD course, I'm a lot more knowledgeable than I was when I made my first acquisition."

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