Housing Secretary Ben Carson visited New York Thursday to announce a new federal monitor for NYCHA, the city’s public housing authority that has settled federal litigation over mismanagement of tens of thousands of subsidized apartments.
Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the settlement agreement at a press conference with Carson at the Jacob Javits Federal Building in Manhattan. The agreement allows HUD to install a monitor overseeing NYCHA’s management and requires the city to make an additional investment of $2 billion over the next five years, the New York Times reported. NYCHA says its needed capital repairs total about $32 billion.
Under new federal oversight, NYCHA will have to meet deadlines for its clean-up of identified hazards at its 334 developments across the city. According to the Times, the new monitorship will also lead to the replacement of NYCHA’s current interim chairman, Stanley Brezenoff.
Mishandling of lead paint inspections led to an investigation by U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York. Prosecutors accused NYCHA of repeatedly covering up its mismanagement problems over a period of years. A full federal takeover of NYCHA was one possible outcome, but Thursday’s agreement doesn’t quite go that far.
NYCHA, which houses 1 in 14 New York City residents, is the country’s largest public housing authority. Citing inadequate funding, the agency has recently moved to sell some of its land and air rights to real estate developers. It is also looking to have private landlords manage 62,000 units, which would be converted to Section 8 housing.
Last year, the Trump administration proposed an 18 percent cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which would have included the elimination of federal funding to NYCHA for capital repairs.
“I’m very excited about what we have agreed to here,” Carson said Thursday, “because I think it sets a great precedent for what could be done around the country.” [NYT] — Will Parker