The latest resident in New York City’s public housing system is the federal government’s top housing official in the region.
Lynne Patton, the regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, arrived at the Patterson Houses in Mott Haven, the New York Daily News reported. Patton, who makes an annual government salary of $161,000, said the stint is aimed at getting a firsthand look at conditions in the nation’s largest public housing system.
Patton’s host for the first week is Glady Sanchez, who lives with her disabled aunt and three children in a three-bedroom apartment. During her time in NYCHA housing, Patton said she wants to hear from residents about problems like broken boilers, leaky pipes and moldy walls. Her stay was previously delayed by the 35-day federal government shutdown.
Her move follows Housing Secretary Ben Carson appointing a new federal monitor for NYCHA, which has settled federal litigation over mismanagement of tens of thousands of subsidized apartments. 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. NYCHA says its needed capital repairs total about $32 billion.
“The goal of this move-in is to make NYCHA very aware of what is happening,” Patton said. “To make the monitor very aware of what is happening. To make my boss, the secretary, very aware of what is happening. To make the President of the United States very aware of what is happening here in his own hometown. He might be President, but he’s a New Yorker first.”
The federal government has been criticized for its gradual disinvestment in NYCHA. The Trump administration has proposed cutting HUD’s budget by more than 18%.
Patton suggested that NYCHA had started cleaning up the complex before she arrived. A representative for the authority said staff had not been instructed to change their routine. Patton is sharing parts of her stay on Facebook. [NYDN] — Meenal Vamburkar