NYC Mayor Announces 10-Year Plan to Stabilize City’s Public Housing

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is the largest public housing authority in North America. In spite of many problems, it is still considered to be the most successful big-city public housing authority in the country. Whereas most large public housing authorities in the United States have demolished their high-rise projects and in most cases replaced them with lower scale housing, New York's continue to be fully occupied.

Recently, Mayor de Blasio and NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye announced NextGeneration NYCHA (NextGen), a comprehensive 10-year plan to stabilize the financial crisis facing the PHA by changing the way NYCHA is funded, managed, and how it serves its residents. In its worst financial position in more than 80 years, NYCHA faces nearly $2.5 billion in a cumulative projected operating deficit over the next 10 years, and nearly $17 billion in unmet capital needs for major infrastructure repairs.

The plan includes a version of a stalled proposal to lease unused land in housing projects for private residential development. The city would also transfer hundreds of NYCHA employees to other city agencies, charge residents more for parking, and try to increase the rate of rent collection.

The plan will include a broader redeployment of staff and functions, moving 1,000 administrative and clerical employees to other city agencies that would absorb their cost of $90 million a year. Some employees would be offered incentives to retire.

To cut more costs, housing officials are also proposing to shed 14,000 apartments in severe disrepair from the authority’s rolls and transfer them to other federal housing programs that allow private companies to lend money for repairs.

The plan also focuses on increasing rent collections, from a current rate of 74 percent, at a gain of $30 million a year. About 54,000 households are delinquent for reasons that include inability to pay and withholding rent because of deficient conditions.

In addition, the agency will begin charging more for parking spaces, which currently go for about $300 a year — an amount that in some neighborhoods would be the cost for one month. Current tenants, who will be offered the spaces first, will be charged up to $150 a month. Any unclaimed spots will then be offered to the public at market rates.