More on NYCHA

In 1935, NYCHA was born to provide decent, affordable housing for low and middle-income families. Many were living in overcrowded tenements, making them ripe for disease. Housing reform was needed.

Many NYers don’t even know that NYCHA exists or that 15% of NYers live there, although the number is probably higher. There is public housing in every borough and rolled up; it is larger than the city of Boston.

Currently, there is a 7-person board that the NYC mayor chooses. After that bit of information, everything becomes muddled after eighty-plus years of NYCHAs existence. There are other public housing facilities across the country but nothing as big as New York City.

The biggest challenge NYCHA faces is that over $30B in repairs are needed for these buildings, and the number continues to grow. I sit on the Public Housing Community Fund, an organization that’s mission is to engage people and partners to invest in transformative programs that enhance the lives of over 500,000 residents across NYCHA communities by focusing on leadership development, financial empowerment, community health, and workforce training for the residents.

As I dig deeper, it has become clear that somebody needs to think out of the box. The ties to HUD make no sense considering that most Congresspeople could give a shit about NYC. They are trying to divert money to their home states, and quite frankly, many states can’t survive without that cash even though they won’t admit it.

Why doesn’t HUD give $40b to NY State over twenty years with a clear-cut plan of building new housing and destroying old deteriorating buildings? Break down the oversight by borough that would report to someone in the Mayor’s office and/or the Governor’s office. Let the facilities be managed by the people who care about them.

Something dramatic must happen, or this issue will continue to plague every administration. Who has the strength to break the mold (no pun intended) and recreate and repair NYCHA? It is time to embrace public housing, particularly as the city becomes more expensive daily.