City reaches $2B agreement with feds over NYCHA problems

Federal monitor will oversee the beleaguered public housing agency

Mayor Bill de Blasio, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman and Queensbridge Houses in Queens (Credit: Wikipedia)
Mayor Bill de Blasio, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman and Queensbridge Houses in Queens (Credit: Wikipedia)

New York City agreed to spend more than $2 billion over a decade to settle a federal investigation into health and safety issues at the New York City Housing Authority.

The city will spend an additional $1 billion over the first four years on top of what it’s already pledged to NYCHA, as well as $200 million annually for each of the following years over the 10-year term, the Wall Street Journal reported.

City officials have been in negotiations with federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, which several years ago began looking into lead paint and other issues at NYCHA, the country’s largest public-housing authority.

The city will also sign a consent decree, and during the terms of the agreement NYCHA will be overseen by a federal monitor.

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The public housing system oversees 176,000 apartment units across the five boroughs, but the agency has suffered over the years as federal dollars have failed to keep up with the pace of repairs and politicians have pushed back on opening the system to more private investment.

NYCHA needs an estimated $25 billion in repairs, up from $6 billion in 2005, according to the Journal.

A report from the city’s Department of Investigation late last year found that NYCHA had failed to lead-paint inspections for years that were required by federal rules and city laws.

The report said former NYCHA chief executive Shola Olatoye had submitted documents to federal officials showing the agency had complied with the federal rules for lead paint. That wasn’t the case – Olatoye said she verbally told officials about lead-paint lapses. She resigned in April. [WSJ] – Rich Bockmann


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