The New York City Housing Authority today announced that as of October 1, 2013, it has reduced the number of open work orders from a peak of about 423,000 to approximately 175,500. The current decrease of almost 250,000 work orders means that NYCHA has now reduced the backlog by approximately 74 percent, and is about three-quarters of the way toward achieving the target of eliminating the backlog by the end of 2013. This reduction is a result of NYCHA’s Action Plan to improve its accountability and efficiency in responding to maintenance and repair work orders. At the conclusion of this initiative, the Authority anticipates that the number of work orders that will be open at any given time will be approximately 90,000. This represents the number of work orders NYCHA would have if workers were handling maintenance requests in an average of 7 days, and more complex requests in an average of 15-days.
Since the beginning of the year, NYCHA has created almost 1.7 million new repair work orders and eliminated almost 1.9 million work orders. NYCHA has also reduced the average time it takes to address key work, including roof fans, front doors, compactors, intercoms, mildew and extermination to less than two weeks. By systematically reviewing the work orders, the Authority has been able to better assess the work that has been done and is still needed to be done. What has become clear is that NYCHA will need to continue to prioritize its work given the budget constraints, which worsened with sequestration. Currently, NYCHA does not anticipate any impact of the government shutdown on its Action Plan efforts. However, recognizing that there are limited resources, NYCHA staff will not be able to address work that is primarily to improve the appearance of apartments until the fiscal situation improves.
NYCHA has been challenged in meeting the aggressive goals in this initiative by summer vacations and by HUD-mandated physical assessments that have significantly increased work to improve public spaces. This effort, which has already produced almost 40,000 additional work orders, of which about 30,000 have been completed, will continue through November. This additional work increases the number of work orders and requires NYCHA staff to balance completing these efforts and the work within apartments. NYCHA staff productivity has increased over the year and even with the additional public space work, the staff is continuing to address new needs and the work that has been scheduled. To date, NYCHA has added 565 employees to support the overall work order reduction plan, including 389 new maintenance and skilled trade workers.
NYCHA’s Action Plan is based on a combination of internal process improvements and additional resources made available through internally generated savings ($30 million) and City Council funds ($10 million each for 2012 and 2013). These amounts fund NYCHA’s Action Plan, when combined with efficiencies in NYCHA’s existing operations.
The Action Plan was developed by NYCHA management with input from employees, residents; the labor unions representing NYCHA workers; and advocacy groups. NYCHA will continue to provide regular progress updates on this initiative on its website, www.nyc.gov/nycha.