The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has launched an effort to connect public housing residents to local economic opportunity programs and services — the Zone Model — NYCHA’s new economic opportunity platform. The Zone Model marks NYCHA’s transition to becoming a citywide service coordinator in the economic opportunity arena— using housing as a platform to attract high quality employment and financial counseling services, vocational training and education programs, among other programs and services for public housing communities. The model is an outgrowth of Plan NYCHA: A Roadmap for Preserving Public Housing in New York City – a strategic plan that is a clear rededication of NYCHA connecting residents and communities to critical services.
“NYCHA is firmly committed to fostering strong, vibrant neighborhoods and connecting our residents to opportunities that will support them in achieving economic stability and success,” said NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. “Through the Zone Model, we will be working harder than ever to create meaningful, lasting partnerships in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to expand educational and economic opportunities for our residents.”
Through the Zone Model, NYCHA’s developments are separated into 15 geographic “zones,” which are comprised of one or more community districts averaging 11,000 NYCHA housing units per zone. This place-based strategy is acknowledgement that every public housing neighborhood is unique and will help NYCHA to:
- Serve a higher volume of residents in close proximity to their home, reducing travel and wait times;
- Provide residents with a more comprehensive range of services with additional capacities;
- Attract proven economic opportunity models to under-resourced communities; and
- Better position NYCHA and local providers to respond to residents’ needs.
"NYCHA’s implementation of a Zone Model will create meaningful economic empowerment with resident participation by identifying outside partnerships or resources that will lead to targeted opportunities and economic advancement for all NYCHA residents,” said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, Chair of the Public Housing Committee. “Community leaders and NYCHA residents will welcome this much needed program that will produce real results.”
A key component of this model is collaborating with both neighborhood and citywide economic opportunity service providers around outcome-focused projects. Through Zone Partnership, providers will be able to access NYCHA’s resources to implement collaborative projects — receiving technical assistance and additional capacity from NYCHA to better support public housing residents in achieving their economic goals, whether it be in employment, financial literacy or educational advancement.
“We know from firsthand experience that NYCHA has rededicated itself to being an excellent partner to local service providers like us,” said Lisbeth Shepard, Executive Director, Green City Force. “Over the past year, we have worked with NYCHA to fill our vocational training classes with NYCHA residents who want and need the services we provide. We know that NYCHA residents in all five boroughs will reap great benefits from the creation of new partnerships like ours.”
On April 24, 2012, NYCHA opened applications to providers who are interested in sharing their services in a strategic, concerted way with local NYCHA residents in four inaugural Zones: The South Bronx, Upper Manhattan, Lower Manhattan, and Downtown Brooklyn. Interested partners can visit here to apply www.nyc.gov/nycharees.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
The New York City Housing Authority is committed to increasing opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 334 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. To fulfill its vital mission and even better serve residents while facing dramatic reductions in traditional government funding, NYCHA is developing new financing options and building innovative partnerships across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. These strategies are helping NYCHA to address many key challenges, from preserving aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of developments, to increasing resident access to a multitude of community, educational and recreational programs, as well as job readiness and training initiatives.