New York City Housing Authority

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NYCHA staff observes Newark Housing Authority’s security operations for controlling building access. Closed-circuit television allows NHA security staff live viewing access. (Photo by Pete Mikoleski)
NYCHA Explores Safety and Security Best Practices from Other Cities

What can NYCHA learn from other public housing authorities?  How can it take the best of what its sister organizations are doing and apply it at NYCHA?  These are the questions Authority staff is looking to answer as part of the Plan to Preserve Public Housing, NYCHA’s ambitious plan to set NYCHA’s goals for the next five years.

As NYCHA continues to develop the Plan to Preserve Public Housing, staff is conducting site visits to other cities to explore industry-leading standards and practices.  NYCHA may be the largest and oldest housing authority in the country, but it still can learn new and innovative approaches by talking to public housing leaders in other cities.  These site visits will enable NYCHA to recognize key success factors and possible obstacles for implementing new strategies and initiatives, and also engage experts from across the country throughout the planning process.

The team of NYCHA staff focused on how to preserve public housing gained first-hand knowledge of Baltimore’s and Washington, D.C.’s Housing Authorities.  In late October, the team visited Baltimore, where they learned about the city’s approach to managing public housing operations, Housing Choice Voucher Program, capital program planning and execution and supportive information systems.  The team also received an overview of how Baltimore tracks performance and related improvement tactics.

The committee then headed to Washington, D.C. to hear how the nation’s capital deploys skilled trades, performs physical needs analyses and uses technology to advance their capital program.  They also reviewed recently completed projects including lobby renovations, energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling system upgrades and the expanded use of closed-circuit television.

The committee charged with addressing the safety and well-being of residents and staff toured the Newark Housing Authority (NHA) on November 3, focusing on Newark’s layered security access system.  Securing building entrances and controlling how residents and their guests access the buildings is critical for improving safety.  Newark uses electronic access control, intercoms, mechanical door locks and closed-circuit television monitored 24 hours a day to control who gets into buildings, all options being considered as part of the Plan to Preserve Public Housing.  NHA reported that since their system has been in place, criminal activity is virtually non-existent within their developments.

November 2010