NYCHA chair takes aim at Trump’s funding cuts

Shola Olatoye said the proposed $75M-plus in budget cuts jeopardizes the agency's progress

Ritchie Torres and Shola Olatoye
Ritchie Torres and Shola Olatoye

The New York City Housing Authority will lose at minimum $75 million from its operational budget this year as a result of Trump administration funding cuts, agency chair Shola Olatoye testified Monday. The loss in federal funds means the beleaguered agency expects to run a $14 million operational deficit, instead of a surplus this year.

“The hard-fought gains to improve service levels may slip backwards at one of the first casualties of cuts,” Olatoye said at a City Council budget hearing yesterday, according to the Daily News. “I fear all that progress may be in jeopardy as we face the most uncertain times in public housing history.”

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The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, led by Secretary Ben Carson, informed the city there will be a new $40.5 million cut to Section 8, in addition to more than $35 million in cuts that were estimated last week, according to the New York Daily News. NYCHA is already struggling to reduce a $17 billion backlog in capital repairs.

The agency will be forced to consider stopping repair work after 4:30 p.m., because of high costs, as well as cutting the number of Section 8 vouchers, according to Olatoye. She added that there is a “very real concern and threat” that residents will see rent hikes if a Republican-controlled Congress alters the rules setting rent at 30 percent of a tenant’s income.

Bronx council member Ritchie Torres, who is chair of the public housing committee, said the Trump presidency “poses the gravest threat to public housing in the 82 year history of the New York City Housing Authority.” [NYDN] — Miriam Hall