August 1, 2023
Video available at: https://youtu.be/5ziaXYZWxo0
Home to More Than 2,000 Residents, Nostrand Houses Needs More Than $600 Million in Repairs Over 20 Years
As NYCHA Buildings Need $80 Billion in Repairs, Vote Represents Major Step Towards Unlocking Billions of Dollars to Repair Homes for NYCHA Residents Through Trust
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt today took a major step towards unlocking billions of dollars for comprehensive renovations for thousands of NYCHA residents — kicking off the resident engagement process for the first resident vote for the Public Housing Preservation Trust. The first resident vote will take place at Nostrand Houses in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn starting this November. Nostrand has more than $600 million in 20-year capital needs and ranks in the 80th percentile of NYCHA buildings for immediate physical needs, and its selection follows conversations with resident leaders. With NYCHA buildings needing nearly $80 billion, this process will offer residents an opportunity to vote and determine the future of their development. Options include entering the Trust or joining the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program — both of which leverage alternative streams of funding available through the federal government — or residents can chose to maintain the traditional public housing financing model, which would make it more difficult to expedite major capital repairs.
The Public Housing Preservation Trust is a public entity established by Mayor Adams and NYCHA in May 2023 and authorized by a law signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul last year following extensive advocacy from the Adams administration and NYCHA. Under the Trust, residents will always maintain their rights — including permanently affordable rent and keeping NYCHA properties 100 percent public. The voting process is the first of its kind to empower public housing residents to have a direct vote in the future of their homes — beginning with the 2,191 residents in 1,148 apartments across 16 buildings at Nostrand Houses.
“Every revolution has to start somewhere, and our housing revolution is going to start at Nostrand Houses in Sheepshead Bay,” said Mayor Adams. “After decades of neglect and disinvestment by the federal government, the NYCHA Trust is the tool we need to unlock billions of dollars for public housing families across the five boroughs. Just over one year ago, I stood with residents of Nostrand Houses to celebrate our success in getting the Trust passed in Albany, and, today, we are announcing that they will have the first opportunity to vote to have their homes repaired through the Trust. Nobody worked harder to help us get the NYCHA Trust passed than these residents — they delivered for us, and this is our chance to deliver for them.”
“This administration believes in empowering residents to be a part of the transformative change that needs to happen across NYCHA,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “With this historic vote, Nostrand Houses residents have the ability to unlock billions for long overdue repairs and renovations. For too long, NYCHA residents have been denied the quality housing they deserve. Together, in partnership with residents, the Adams administration is determined to deliver funding to provide the capital investments NYCHA residents need and deserve.”
“Our administration is committed to improving the lives of NYCHA residents. Establishing the Trust in May was a major step in that direction, but now the resident engagement process truly begins,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “The residents of Nostrand Houses are in a historic moment where they are empowered through their vote to determine the future of their homes. Over the next 100 days, NYCHA will thoroughly engage the residents on the Preservation Trust program before they vote on whether to opt into the Trust. This resident-driven model is testament to our administration’s approach to finally solving NYCHA’s historic challenges.”
“This is a historic day for NYCHA, as we embark on the voting process at the very first development, giving the residents of Nostrand Houses a true voice in the future of their home,” said NYCHA CEO Bova-Hiatt. “This milestone is a testament to the many partners who understand the vast and compelling needs of NYCHA and the New Yorkers who live in public housing. We are thrilled to join residents on this journey and to present them with modernization options, including the newly established Public Housing Preservation Trust, for improving conditions and contributing to an enhanced quality of life.”
“The first vote on the Trust presents an exciting opportunity to restore and improve New York City’s public housing stock, while ensuring the voices of NYCHA residents remain at the center of the process,” said New York City Housing Development Corporation President Eric Enderlin.“Congratulations to all our partners and the NYCHA residents involved in the rollout of this important entity. We look forward to continuing in our shared efforts to transform the quality of life for public housing residents across New York City.”
“As the tenant association president of Nostrand Houses, I believe in providing all residents with the opportunity and information they need to make an informed decision about what should happen at our development,” said Barbara McFadden, president, Nostrand Houses Tenant Association; vice chair, NYCHA Citywide Council of Presidents; and resident at-large, Public Housing Preservation Trust Board. “In my role as a resident leader, I am passionate about making our housing the best it can be. I feel strongly about preserving it for the generations to come, and that is why I am so proud that Nostrand Houses is at the beginning of this history-making process.”
“Nostrand Houses was chosen to become the first public housing development to be given the chance to vote on its future,” said Karen Blondel, resident advisory board nominee, Public Housing Preservation Trust; and president, Red Hook Houses Tenant Association. “I am truly excited for the residents, and I am confident our district leader, the president of the Nostrand Houses Tenant Association, and Trust Board Member Barbara McFadden is up to the task. Congratulations Nostrand Houses!”
“After spending my entire career at NYCHA, I have seen firsthand the repairs and infrastructure upgrades that developments need,” said Pamela Campbell, labor union representative, Public Housing Preservation Trust Board. “Through this vote, not only will NYCHA receive the needed funding, but for the first time, residents will be at the forefront of the process, and their voices will be heard. I am excited to witness this monumental milestone and will continue to support the residents of Nostrand Houses.”
A fully public entity, the Public Housing Preservation Trust is expected to unlock billions of dollars in federal funding for much-needed, comprehensive renovations at NYCHA developments to improve living conditions for residents. Before the voting period begins, NYCHA engages resident leaders and issues a “Notice of Vote” to residents of the selected development, which includes an explanation of the purpose of the vote; the options available on the ballot; the dates, times, and locations of planned outreach meetings; access to supplementary materials; opportunities to submit questions and written comments; voting information; and more. After the notice is issued, a 100-day engagement period begins to allow for information sharing before a 30-day resident voting period.
Residents can vote online or by mail throughout the voting period, and in-person voting is available during the final 10-days of the voting period. Any resident on the household composition who is 18 years of age or older is eligible to vote. An independent, third-party election administrator will oversee the process — conducting the vote, receiving and investing any allegations of irregularities or misconduct, and certifying the vote results.
The 30-day voting period will begin on November 8, 2023, after the notice was issued this past Thursday, July 27, 2023. Once the 30-day voting period has ended, votes will be tallied and announced. No development will move forward as part of the Trust without a vote from residents to do so.
The start of the voting engagement period at Nostrand follows months of work to authorize and establish the Public Housing Preservation Trust. Since Governor Hochul signed the law allowing the creation of Trust in June 2022, Mayor Adams and NYCHA have taken a series of steps to establish the entity and prepare for the first resident votes — including releasing the official voting procedures, which were finalized after receiving more than 300 comments from members of the public last fall. Based on feedback received in that process, NYCHA incorporated changes into the final procedures, including extending the voting period from 21 to 30 days, clarifying the information provided to residents ahead of a vote, and doubling the minimum voter participation rate to 20 percent of heads of household.
Additionally, Mayor Adams and NYCHA jointly established the Board of the Trust in May, announcing the first six appointments, with a seventh appointment announced earlier this month. The first Trust board meeting also took place in July.
“I am thrilled that Mayor Adams and NYCHA CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt are putting strong stock in the residential engagement process at NYCHA properties across the city — starting with thousands of residents of Nostrand Houses, a community that I previously represented in the state senate,” said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “It’s essential that residents’ voices are heard as NYCHA plans for $80 billion in needed system-wide safety and livability improvements.”
“Congratulations to Mayor Eric Adams and NYCHA CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt on the momentous step towards renovating NYCHA homes. The resident vote for the Public Housing Preservation Trust at Nostrand Houses marks a groundbreaking moment, empowering thousands of residents to shape their community’s future,” said New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda. “This process, offering options for alternative funding and preserving residents’ rights, signifies a positive shift towards comprehensive renovations and improved living conditions for all NYCHA residents. The establishment of the Public Housing Preservation Trust, thanks to the dedication and advocacy from Mayor Adams, NYCHA, and New York Governor Kathy Hochul, demonstrates a commitment to better housing for New Yorkers. This first-of-its-kind voting process gives public housing residents a voice in determining the fate of their homes and sets a precedent for transparency and resident engagement. Let us unite in this transformative journey — empowering residents to play an active role in building stronger, safer, and more vibrant neighborhoods. Together, we can unlock billions for vital repairs and create lasting positive change for NYCHA residents.”
“As a strong supporter of the legislation establishing the Public Housing Preservation Trust, I am excited that the residents of Nostrand Houses will be the first NYCHA residents given the opportunity to decide their future: the preservation of Section 9 Public Housing status through the Trust or joining the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together program and beginning the transition to Section-8 housing,” said New York State Assemblymember Helene Weinstein. “As those who stand to gain the most, these residents deserve the opportunity to participate in decision-making that will have immediate positive impacts on their quality of life by initiating renovations and improvements — some, decades-long in the making.”
“I am a longtime advocate of repairing and refurbishing NYCHA’s affordable housing, which is critical to the welfare of half a million New Yorkers. Tackling the $80 billion in needed repairs is critical to our city’s future,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “In partnership with Mayor Adams, I co-sponsored and passed a bill in the State Capitol to create the Public Housing Preservation Trust. Because of our bill, Nostrand Houses residents are empowered to choose to enter the Trust or PACT program, either of which will open the door to millions of dollars in federal funding for capital repairs. Today begins the comprehensive outreach and dialogue with Nostrand tenants so that they can make an informed decision about their own future. They now have the opportunity to bring their homes into a good state of repair, giving them the dignified and safe housing they deserve.”
“By empowering NYCHA residents with a groundbreaking vote for the Public Housing Preservation Trust at Nostrand Houses, we’re unlocking billions to tackle vital repairs,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “Together, we embark on a transformative journey, reaffirming our commitment to better public housing and a brighter future for all New Yorkers.”
“Improving public housing is an investment in the heart of our communities, where every individual deserves a safe, decent, and nurturing environment to thrive and build a brighter future,” said New York City Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse. “I applaud Mayor Adams and NYCHA for engaging the residents of the Nostrand Houses and placing them on the path to securing this much-needed and long-overdue funding to make the necessary repairs at the complex.”
“When Governor Hochul signed the Preservation Trust into law a little more than a year ago, the Community Service Society recognized that New York City was embarking on a historic undertaking. Written into the legislation was the most expansive experiment in resident democracy ever attempted in the United States and a chance to address the conditions brought about by decades of federal divestment in public housing — while still keeping it public,” said David R. Jones, president and CEO, Community Service Society (CSS). “CSS has been and will continue to work with residents and advocates to ensure that the Trust in its implementation is as strong as the words that chartered it. We commend NYCHA on advancing this endeavor with expediency that matches the seriousness of the situation facing residents. We also congratulate Nostrand Houses residents and their tenant association on a day that marks an immense opportunity for them and for us all to show the country the result of investing in our communities and believing in a future for public housing.”
“Today is an historic day for residents of NYCHA’s Nostrand Houses with the start of the voter outreach process to learn about the different options for the future of their homes,” said Lucy Newman, staff attorney, civil law reform unit, Legal Aid Society. “We were proud to work with the city, Albany lawmakers, residents, and so many others to secure passage of the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust to keep public housing publicly owned and operated while empowering residents as the key decision makers. The Legal Aid Society will continue to work with residents and NYCHA as this process moves along.”