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Transcript: Mayor Adams, NYCHA Kick Off Process to Unlock Billions for NYCHA Repairs with Groundbreaking First Resident Vote for Public Housing Preservation Trust at Nostrand Houses

August 1, 2023

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce: Good afternoon everyone. Good afternoon and welcome to all of our NYCHA leaders, residents and partners. My name is Maria Torres-Springer. I'm the deputy mayor for Housing Economic Development and Workforce. Thanks to each and every one of you for being with us this afternoon. Today our administration will formally kick off the Public Housing Preservation Trust process right here in Sheepshead Bay, right here at Nostrand Houses. We can clap for that. There we go. This is a very, very important moment for Nostrand Houses residents and for the 1 in 17 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home. We're really excited to get this started and to share more about what we are announcing today, I'd like to welcome the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. As I was walking over, the president said, the Mayor is here and brother yelled out, so what. Just think about it for a moment folks. We have to really think about it for a moment. When I campaigned during Covid, I knocked on your doors and handed out face masks. When people say, why are you giving those face masks to those people? When crimes took place in NYCHA back in my days of state senate ball president, I was on the ground here and throughout this community. When waters were out in the dead of winter, I climbed on the rooftop over in Gowanus to see that we can get the repairs done over and over again. You have stated for years that no one cares about NYCHA, that no one gives a damn, no one shows up. People turn their back. Everyone comes into the office and no one wants to show the commitment.

When you show the commitment, the love, the respect and you walk on the grounds, you're saying, so what? No, it's not so what. It's about, you have a mayor that understands what you're going through and I'm here over and over again saying I'm going to stand up and fight for you. Let's not be so jaded. Let's not be so jaded, so in pain, that we cannot realize when the moment is changing. This land trust is crucial. NYCHA residents went up to Albany to fight for this. They know that you are going to have a voice. You are going to make a determination. If we go to administration after administration seeing no changes in NYCHA and we just get to this state of normality, that this is what we are going to have generation after generation, that's not acceptable for me. That is not acceptable for me.

The federal government has abandoned NYCHA. You have billions of dollars. Billions, not millions. You have billions of dollars in repairs that are needed. Billions of dollars and we are moving forward in a very aggressive way and we don't always get it right. Let's be clear. We're not going to stop trying. You deserve better. I said that on the campaign trail partnering with your assemblywoman who has been fighting for this issue for years. Get new leadership at NYCHA, moving forward in the right direction and if it is not what you want, join the team of change. Come be part of the team that's changing it.

There is no limited capacity for people who are willing to volunteer and be those who are apart of our safety team. There's no limited capacity that those who want to volunteer and be part of our cleanup crew. No limited capacity for those who want to volunteer and do youth services that we want to do in NYCHA. There's no limited capacity to help children who have their firstborn children and you want to teach them what motherhood is like. There's nothing limiting anyone from doing tutorial services, anti-violence services. No limited capacity. There's so much work we have to do. If you're a detached spectator sitting in the bleaches, looking at those of us who are on the field of battle and criticizing us, come get on the field and take some of these hits with us so we can turn around NYCHA and not just complain about it. Come be a part of it.

I want to thank Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer for her vision and what she has witnessed. For the first time folks, for the first time, never before has NYCHA been part of the housing plan. Never before. For the first time we placed it in the center of what we are doing around housing. Never been done before. Jessica, who previously was in the position of our chief housing officer now, Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, understand that… Listen, a revolution has always started and has to start somewhere. Today we stated it's starting right here and this is not my first visit here. I'm not new to this. I'm true to this. I've been here for a little while. Been here for a little while and I know what folks have gone through and Nostrand houses here in Sheepshead Bay, you are the first that is going to make the determination around the land trust. The first to do so.

The vote would take place on November 8th. Now don't miss what I just said. The vote will take place. If you don't want it, it's up to you. You're going to vote. No one is forcing this down anyone's throat. We're going to go from NYCHA housing to NYCHA housing and allow people to vote. If you are saying this is not what you want, then it's up to you. It's not up to me, it's up to you. You have a voice on what you want your housing to look like. This is signaling a new beginning for the future of public housing in our city, one that will determine by the residents themselves. This historic vote will offer residents an opportunity to opt in to the Public Housing Preservation Trust, unlocking billions of dollars for the comprehensive renovation for thousands of NYCHA residents, while maintaining their rights, including permanently affordable housing. No one is displacing you. No one is throwing you out. Permanently affordable housing. NYCHA's home, as the deputy mayor stated, to 1 in 17 New Yorkers. The backbone of this administration, affordable housing strategy, for the first time in history and a crucial part of our city's infrastructure. New York City cannot survive without affordable housing and nothing personifies that more than our NYCHA resident.

Look at my girl from Channel 7 News who has been covering this for so long, over and over again, real hero. Monica, I don't know, how many NYCHA developments have we been in? Over and over again. Giving families chance to work hard, save and move up into the middle class when it is underfunded and overlooked and the entire system slides into dysfunction. That's what role Lisa has to play and making sure we move out of this perpetual dysfunction that we have witnessed for generations. Not one generation, let's not kid ourselves. It's been generation after generation and NYCHA did not always represent this. I knew NYCHA as a child and I knew how it was a solid place to raise families as people moved over and transitioned into home ownership. This legacy of failure, compounded with years of mismanagement, has left hundreds of thousands of tenants living in unacceptable conditions and buildings requiring $80 billion in repair. $80 billion in repair.

If we don't do something different, then we're never going to fix it and we have to be bold, unafraid and willing to do something different and that's what we are doing on a number of levels. You got the project down lower Manhattan… what is that? The Chelsea Housing is totally new. We're going to do new things to come up with new ways because I don't know who said it, but if you keep doing the same things in a dumb way, you're going to get dumb results. Just as we rebuild a bridge or repair a road, we must deliver NYCHA residents the same quality, equity and appreciation and home living environment that they deserve, but we cannot transform NYCHA without the input of residents and resident leaders. The residents may have been overlooked in the past. That is not under this administration. We had everyone, Tony Herbert, and we had the entire team down at Gracie Mansion for the first time saying we're going to do this in a partnership to make sure we get it right.

I want to thank everyone at NYCHA and I want to thank Barbara and your long roads of coming up. What you're doing around non-violence, even as I walked down the block, you were saying that we need to get St. Fort back here to do some real things on the ground. I want to thank behind me, your amazing Council person, Assembly person. They have been real partners in this area and all of our elected officials including Governor Hochul and I'm looking forward to the new CEO. Lisa, you have a lot on your plate to get this done and the chair, Jamie Rubin and everyone at NYCHA, as we turn the page and move forward. It's not going to be easy. Let's not kid ourselves to believe it is going to be easy, but nothing great is going to prevent us, nothing difficult is going to prevent us to do our job and to do it correctly. I'm committed. I'm focused and one thing I am immune to, I'm immune to hecklers. I've been heckled all my life. As a little boy, as a police officer, as a state senator, as the bar president, as the Mayor, all I know is all my haters become my waiters when I sit down at the table of success.

[Agitator speaks.]

Mayor Adams: You can after the press conference. After the press conference. Go ahead. Finish, finish.

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: Thank you so much, mayor and now I'd like to introduce the CEO of NYCHA, recently appointed, the mayor talked about really needing someone and a team that is bold, that is unafraid, that is willing to really push through and I think that perfectly describes the new CEO of NYCHA, Lisa Bova-Hiatt.

Lisa Bova-Hiatt, CEO, NYCHA: Thank you Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer for that gracious introduction. It is so great to be here with you, Mayor Adams, Assembly Member Helene Weinstein, our amazing TA president, Barbara McFadden, her neighbors and everyone else here at Nostrand Houses. We have said it before and we will say it again. This is truly a momentous and historic day for NYCHA. As you've heard, the needs at NYCHA are astounding. More than $78 billion in major capital needs across our portfolio. A challenge this immense requires multiple creative solutions and compels us to act now. NYCHA is home to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. It's a vast and vital resource for deeply affordable housing and it's been an important and integral part of our city for nearly a century and it requires all of our energy and all of our focus. We are going to forge a new direction forward to bring critical investments that will provide NYCHA residents with the quality of life that they deserve.

That's why today is such an exciting and pivotal moment. Today we're saying to the residents of Nostrand Houses that you will decide the future of your homes. Later this year you'll be able to vote on whether you want to bring comprehensive renovations to your home through the Trust, through pact or whether you want to remain in the current Section 9 program. Not only can the Trust and pact revitalize and preserve our developments, so that they can serve our community and New York City for another century, but they will also ensure that residents get to keep all of their rights and protections, including permanently affordable rents. With the Trust and PACT capable of breathing new life into residents' homes, this is indeed a shining moment in NYCHA's history, a promise kept to the current and coming generations of NYCHA families. We are talking about billions of dollars for new bathrooms and kitchens and building facades and systems, from heating to elevators and so much more.

I'd like to thank my colleagues, NYCHA residents, advocates, elected officials and all of the other stakeholders who we've collaborated with and they are the reason we are here today helping us to make history. So many people work so hard to get us here today, but I would be remiss if I did not extend a special thanks to the leadership in the New York State Assembly and Senate. This community is represented by Assembly Member Helene Weinstein, who is the chair of Ways and Means and an early Trust supporter. We also want to acknowledge the hard work and courage of our Trust bill sponsors, State Senator Julia Salazar and Assembly Member Steve Cymbrowitz.

A huge thank you to Mayor Adams and his vision and unwavering support of NYCHA and of course to Governor Hochul for signing the Trust into law. Another big thank you to Ms. McFadden for your partnership, your passion, your excitement, which is critical to our efforts and to our progress. I look forward to working with all of you as we engage the residents of Nostrand Houses on this exciting new journey and as we move forward together. Thank you all.

Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer: You're welcome. Thank you, Lisa. Finally, I'd like to call up to the podium the president of the TA association, as well as Trust board member, someone who is of course a formidable champion of NYCHA, of Nostrand Houses, and we really could not do this without her partnership and leadership, so please join me in welcoming Barbara McFadden.

Barbara McFadden, Tenant Association President, Nostrand Houses: I got to do a little better. Everybody got to stand up. This is glorious, so you got to stand up. Wow. Got to stand up. Oh no, y'all got to stand up. Y'all got to stand up. Y'all got to stand up This. This is a glorious moment and it's going to go down in history. My pastor Johnny Ray Youngblood used to always say, McFadden shows up and she shows out and I sure do.

Good afternoon to our honorable Mayor Eric Adams. Let's do it. Wonderful Mayor, New York City. Our CEO, Ms. Lisa Bova-Hiatt, [inaudible], Mr. Brian Honan, Mr. Leroy Williams, Ms. Courtney Yu, Mr. Andrew Kaplan, Ms. Eva Trimble, Mr. Curtis Williams, Derby St. Fort, the godfather of crime prevention, Ms. Toby Brown, my manager of Sheepshead Bay, Ms. Hips, Assemblywoman Weinstein, let's do it, Senator Jessica Scarsella, Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Borough President Reynoso, a host of NYCHA employees. My name is Ms. McFadden. I'm the resident leader here at Nostrand Housing. I'm the district chair for Brooklyn South, I'm the vice chair for the CCOP and I was appointed by the one and only Mayor Adams. Trust board, let's do it. Cheers to all my wonderful presidents of Brooklyn South. They're right here. I'm going to shout them out. Ms. Sheila Smalls, Julie [inaudible], Marie Navarro. We have Elizabeth Maldonado, we have Darren Davis, my community leader of Sheepshead Bay Nostrand. Let's clap it up for them. And Sophie Williams.

Okay. Thanks to all my residents at Nostrand Housing Sheepshead Bay. All community partners, [inaudible], organization, Cambridge, Kings Bay Y, thanks to community leader Darren Davis and Ms. Sandra Hayes. Thanks to all my family, they're right over here to the right. Where my family at? They right there, Brooklyn. Today is not just a glorious day. It's a historical moment because the Trust is historic. The Trust is a public agency that will collaborate with NYCHA to bring funding for repairs and upgrades to notion apartments, to the buildings and grounds. Rent will remain at 30 percent of income. Resident rights will continue unchanged. The Trust will bring billions of dollars and comprehensive renovation to 25,000 apartments and NYCHA, preserving resident rights and protection such as permanent affordable rent. There is no more room for procrastination. We can't keep saying the Trust is not going to work. It's like you don't know it. I'm bold. I'm going to try to trust. Pass it out. I'm going to try to trust and guess what? If it doesn't work, I'm going to make it work. That's the bonus of Ms. McFadden. I talk about it. I'll be about it. Never afraid to pull up.

There is no more room for procrastination. It's time to eliminate all plaque and talks. We're going to change that negative into a positive. We going to trust the what? Yes and I'm bragging. Nostrand Housing is first to do the voting process. That shows you, look at my team right here. I have a force to reckon. Look at all the parents and residents that showed up. You showed up and showed up. I am tired of these old cabinets. Please clap for me. I'm tired of these old cabinets. I'm tired of the bugs, the old towels. I need that granite top of the kitchen. I want them stainless steel stoves. I want it. I've been here over 30 years. Left Brownsville, 340 Miller, and now I'm at 323 NYCHA at Sheepshead Bay Nostrand. Okay. The Trust is critical in uplifting the residents in New York City Housing Authority. Now let's continue to focus on public safety through intervention and prevention program for our youth like Heal the Violence, initiative and program we have here at Sheepshead Bay Nostrand Housing.

Mayor, I want to thank you for all your efforts regarding the trust and your commitments to providing safety and New York City housing. I look forward to working with you, Mayor Adams and let's continue to empowering our communities. Last but not least, let me just say something to you. Before I became a TA president for 14 years, I worked at the New York City Board of Education, substitute teacher, dean of discipline, 327, ask about McFadden. Dean of discipline. I suspended children. Don't hold it against me. I suspended children like officers would lock you up, but one thing that I want to say today, mayor, it is very important that we keep working together on a public safety tip. NYCHA is throughout the five boroughs and one thing that we forget sometimes, we have a lot of misguided youth and people want to do the right thing, they just don't know how to, but I want to be the way. I want to show you the light. I want to work with you. I want to walk with you in Sheepshead Bay. I want to hold your hand. Sometimes people can't do it by themself, but public health, public safety and mental health, it all goes together.

I want to continue to work with Mayor Adams to make NYCHA better. I understand a lot of things happen in the past, but this is new NYCHA reform and you got to change the mindsets of others because remember, it didn't work before. If we're going to go forward for the Trust, billions of dollars, come on now. This park right here, I can see a pool in the back. I can see a basketball court over here. Let's change it to Neverland like Michael Jackson did, but everybody have a wonderful blessed day and let's continue to work together to improve NYCHA and let's give it up for our number one mayor of the New York City Housing Authority. Thank you everyone.

Mayor Adams: Before we shut down, let's hear it from our amazing Assemblywoman Weinstein and my good friend and our Councilwomen Narcisse as well.

State Assembly Member Helene Weinstein: Thank you Mr. Mayor and as the mayor said, when he was borough president and then as mayor, he's been to Sheepshead and Nostrand Houses many a time. For so many people here, I know you by first name and if I don't, Barbara will introduce me, but it took a year and a half for us to get this legislation in place. Barbara was up in Albany almost as much as I was, but we wanted it to be right. The city was pushing hard. We were able to put together a program and a plan that really leaves it up to the residents of NYCHA developments to decide how you want to move forward. Many of you have talked about and Barbara has said it and others, we need new stoves, we need refrigerators and we've tried with the small amounts of money we've been able to get from the state and capital money and from the city for boilers and cameras in the elevators, but we need more and the Trust is a way to get there. I really appreciate the city's advocacy, the Mayor coming here to Sheepshead Bay and Nostrand Houses and I look forward to seeing the progress that we could make together.

City Council Member Mercedes Narcisse: Good afternoon everyone. Thank you Mayor Adams for keeping your word. I remember coming here, seeing you here, talking to the folks in NYCHA houses. First and foremost, I want to say thank you to all elected officials. I don't want to name you, you know you're here, but most importantly, I want to say Barbara, thank you for fighting every day, day in and day out and for all the teams that have been out there. I'm here every third Monday for food giveaways and all I can hear is my sink, my ceiling leaking, my stove not working and I've been trying my very, very best. If I'm committed to be here every third Monday, it's just because I have other places to attend to. I have to go to Bayview Houses, so I go in circles every Monday to listen and to tell you honestly, nothing is perfect.

There's no perfection, but one thing I know, we cannot live like this in NYCHA houses anymore. We cannot. It is time to reimagine and reinvent. Like the mayor said, you cannot do the same thing over and over and expect different result. It's not going to happen, so therefore, when you vote, think about the sink, think about the bathroom, think about the mold, think about all the things that being disruptive to your life, to your children lives. What I'm asking, before you vote, review it carefully and make the decision that is going to be uplifting these premises because we're tired. We heard Barbara, we want capital budget for everything here. In New York City we have a challenging time right now. It is a difficult time. If we get the opportunity, please don't miss it. That's all I have to say.

I'm your Council member, Mercedes Narcisse, and I'm here to serve you and I'm here to hear you, so whatever we can do. I hear you ma'am, but make the best decision because you're going to vote. This is the Democratic process. I love you, but I'm saying make the best decision for the children for the next generation to come. Thank you. I love you all.


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