Despite steep drops in federal funding, ongoing maintenance needs, and a rapidly aging housing stock, NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) continues to spend its money wisely, on time- and in the best interests of residents.
In just the past three years, NYCHA has spent or legally agreed to spend more than $1 billion on repairs, appliance replacements, and structural upgrades in NYCHA developments. Amid steadily shrinking federal fundingto maintain NYCHA buildings and apartments has been steadily shrinking since 2001, NYCHA has efficiently expedited the use of combined federal stimulus monies and HUD (U.S. Housing and Urban Development) capital funding. As a result of this spending, NYCHA has provided much needed maintenance and delivered 730 jobs, while never missing any of the federally-imposed spending deadlines. The results of NYCHA’s maintenance spending are evident throughout the city and are appreciated by the residents who call a NYCHA development home.
“We have a lot to be thankful for,” said Marlene Reed, the South Jamaica Houses’ Resident Association President. “Some residents were waiting for repairs scheduled for 2013, but when the [Work Order] Task Force arrived, they got all the jobs done and were polite and courteous,” Ms. Reed told the December 2011 NYCHA Journal.
Other residents have praised the efforts of NYCHA to maintain its facilities and implement upgrades whenever possible. Daniel Barber, the Resident Association President of the Andrew Jackson Houses, told the NYCHA Journal in October 2011, “I am very satisfied with the new elevators. Once the job is completed we won’t have to worry about elevators getting stuck or going out of service. I thank the elevator division for working closely with me to ensure things are taken care of in a timely manner.”
NYCHA’s ongoing spending of capital funds has also helped to connect NYCHA residents to employment opportunities. Linda Sanchez, a resident of Jackson Houses, who obtained a job in construction through the help of NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability, says “I was always interested in construction, but I never thought women did anything other than flagging.” Thanks to NYCHA’s assistance, Ms. Sanchez now works to improve the Bushwick Houses community. “I put gates up, I maintain the grounds and I do masonry work. I’m stable, independent and responsible. I upgraded my life.”
Even though NYCHA’s aging buildings (some of which are over 50 to 70 years old) require more maintenance than there is funding to fully address, NYCHA has made it a priority to establish a clean and friendly environment for residents. “Several weeks ago I opened my front door and as I looked down I thought the floor was wet, only to find that it was not but [was] cleaned and polished with such professionalism it only looked wet from its truly professional shine, just like the floors at Trump Towers or a five star hotel,” says Rangel Houses resident Gerald Flemings.
As existing NYCHA developments are improved upon, NYCHA is also looking toward the future. NYCHA continues to move forward with re-development plans for Prospect Plaza, and has engaged residents and community stakeholders in a transparent community planning process every step of the way.
“Before there was a lot of talk and now I see that they are moving forward,” said Joseph Hayes, a former Prospect Plaza resident about NYCHA’s re-development plans for the Brownsville community. “I feel that they are moving in the right direction.”
August 3, 2012