New York City Housing Authority

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NYCHA Completes Groundbreaking Effort for Resident Input

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has completed an unprecedented effort to gather residents’ ideas and opinions on their experiences living in public housing in New York City. To better understand the needs and expectations of NYCHA’s diverse population, including Section 8 residents, the Authority conducted focus groups and a phone survey, the most complete resident research effort undertaken by a public housing authority. The effort is a key part of the Plan to Preserve Public Housing, NYCHA’s comprehensive five-year vision that will serve as a vital roadmap for addressing current services and quality of life concerns, as well as other challenges in the future.

NYCHA held 16 focus groups across all five boroughs, recruiting residents through several methods including random selection and whether they participate in associations or activities.  NYCHA also worked with community-based organizations to find participants. The focus groups were made up of different demographics, including Resident Association leaders, residents who also work for NYCHA and Section 8 participants; some focus were held in Spanish, Russian or Cantonese.

The focus groups were led by a research firm, so participants could feel comfortable speaking freely and remain anonymous. Residents discussed their experiences living in NYCHA or Section 8. They talked about NYCHA’s perceived strengths and weaknesses and programs and services available to NYCHA communities, and shared their opinions on ways that NYCHA can generate more revenue in the future to help balance its budget and improve frontline services.

The phone survey featured a wide-ranging questionnaire with 61 questions.  More than 1,000 residents and more than 600 Section 8 participants, chosen at random, took part in the phone survey. The survey measured whether residents are satisfied with NYCHA, how NYCHA handles repairs and if they feel that NYCHA is a safe place to live and raise children. Topics also included how NYCHA manages emergencies, whether residents make use of available social services and what residents think the impression is that other New Yorkers have of NYCHA. 

The results of the focus groups and phone survey are being compiled and will be released later this year. The results will be summarized in a future issue of the NYCHA News e-newsletter.