How to solve New York’s “dire” public housing system

NYCHA's chairwoman is calling for private management

From left: Queensbridge Houses, NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye. (Credit: City of New York)
From left: Queensbridge Houses, NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye. (Credit: City of New York)

Up for a DIY project or two? New York has 176,000 units of public housing that need repairs to the tune of an estimated $25 billion and tenants and NYCHA feel they may have a solution: privatization.

As the blame-game continues between the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the city over who will pay for the repairs and maintenance, many tenants, advocates and Obama-era officials are in favor of NYCHA handing over the reins to private companies and real estate developers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

It’s been done in several other major cities already and NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye has been taking notes.

“My colleagues around the country have in some ways outpaced NYCHA in reimagining a new model,” she told the Journal. “I just hope that it’s not too late.”

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One public-housing complex has been transferred into private management so far, though Olatoye intends on transferring an additional 15,000 units over the next 10 years.

Dereese Huff, a tenant organizer who originally opposed private management, lives at Campos Plaza I, which was turned over to BFC Partners and L+M Development Partners in 2015.

The developers spent $26 million renovating the building and Huff saw the changes first-hand.

“It went from a dark, dreary place to a wonderful, light place. I think NYCHA should go ahead and start privatizing all these buildings,” she told the Journal. [WSJ]Erin Hudson