NYCHA staff participate in a focus group on the Plan to Preserve Public Housing. Residents are taking part in similar focus groups around the city throughout the fall.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is planning for its future, and residents can play a significant role. The Authority is in the middle of a year-long process to produce the next Plan to Preserve Public Housing. Under the leadership of Chairman John B. Rhea and the NYCHA Board, the Plan will set forth the agency's vision for the future, establish ambitious goals for 2011-2015 and will ensure the preservation of public and affordable housing in New York City. The previous Plan was adopted in 2006.

NYCHA cannot and will not do this alone. The Authority will engage staff, residents and partners across the city and the country to solicit ideas and seek guidance as it develops a roadmap for the future. Residents are closest to the issues that affect public housing and NYCHA's communities. During the next few months, NYCHA will seek resident input to better understand their needs, and to help inform decisions for the plan. The Authority wants to understand what most concerns residents, and how to work together to shape a better future for all NYCHA residents. These efforts will be coordinated with the Citywide Council of Presidents and Resident Association leaders.

NYCHA has begun holding focus groups and conducting phone surveys for public housing residents and Section 8 participants, which will continue through the fall. Selection is random and participation is voluntary. Outside organizations are conducting the focus groups and phone surveys, so no NYCHA employee will see any individual's responses. Also, the Authority will host roundtables next year to seek additional input on goals and key initiatives.

The focus groups and surveys ask about topics such as the quality of apartments, safety and security, satisfaction with services, community centers and senior centers, youth programs and workforce development. Residents can voice their opinions on the greatest challenges facing public housing and the Section 8 program, and suggest improvements the Authority can make.

Analysis of the overall results of the focus groups and surveys will help shape the Plan to Preserve Public Housing. The findings also will serve as a baseline for customer satisfaction against which progress and success can be measured in the future. Once compiled, the results will be provided in a future issue of the Journal.

The Plan to Preserve Public Housing will address five strategic challenges:

How can NYCHA balance its budget and ensure long-term fiscal stability?
How can NYCHA best use its resources to preserve public housing and increase the number of affordable housing units?
How can NYCHA help improve quality of life and enhance self-sufficiency for public housing residents and Section 8 participants?
How can NYCHA promote environmental sustainability in its offices and communities?
How can NYCHA ensure productive and safe workplaces and communities?

NYCHA expects to share the Plan to Preserve Public Housing with the broader public in late spring/early summer 2011. Residents who are interested in participating or have questions are encouraged to contact the Authority at or 212-306-6093.