Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/nycha 2019-06-16T16:56:18+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Interim NYCHA CEO Kathryn Garcia on the Federal Monitor and Future of Public Housing in New York 2019-06-03T04:00:00+00:00 2019-06-03T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8562-interim-nycha-ceo-on-the-federal-monitor-and-future-of-public-housing-in-new-york Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/46892752724_00ce370339_z.jpg" alt="de Blasio NYCHA lead" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>Mayor de Blasio &amp; Kathryn Garcia, right (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Four months on the job, NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia remains optimistic and determined about the future of the New York City public housing authority, home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers and several major crises. Garcia, who was the city’s sanitation commissioner for about five years until taking leave to fill in as the head of NYCHA, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">appeared on WBAI’s Max &amp; Murphy show</a>, where she discussed the de Blasio administration’s plans and programs to address problems at the housing authority, which is now under federal monitorship.</p> <p>“NYCHA is huge organization and in many ways you can think of it as a small city, the size of Miami,” Garcia said. “One of the things I wanted to put in place while I was here is the on-boarding of the federal monitor, which started a few weeks after the agreement was signed to make sure we were setting up systems to come into compliance and have a successful monitorship.”</p> <p>Garcia discussed working with the monitor, Bart Schwartz, and said she does not believe she is in the running to be named as the permanent NYCHA chair and CEO -- Mayor de Blasio and federal authorities have extended their own deadline to name a new NYCHA leader until the end of June. She also detailed some of what NYCHA is doing to address its long-term financial troubles, including the controversial plan to allow developers to build new private apartment buildings, with a mix of “affordable” and market-rate housing, on under-utilized NYCHA land.</p> <p>In terms of getting Schwartz integrated and beginning their working relationship, Garcia said they were doing “big-picture planning on issues of compliance” and “setting up the three departments -- compliance, safety, and quality assurance,” and addressing lead paint, “hopefully eventually coming off having a monitor.”</p> <p>“But there’s also a longer-term goal,” Garica said, of “how do we drive investment into these buildings. Because they are assets of the city and critical homes for all of the residents.” It’s important, she said, to consider a variety of newer options, including the “Obama-era RAD program, or what we call the Build to Preserve program to ensure residents are seeing impact as quickly as possible,” referring to the Rental Administration Demonstration program that allows for private management of NYCHA buildings and added federal dollars, as well as the “infill” private development on NYCHA land.</p> <p>For Garcia, and whomever replaces her, the challenges are immense -- not only has the public housing authority had a lead paint scandal that it is now aggressively attempting to mitigate, but overall NYCHA has a $30-plus billion needs assessment for the housing stock to be brought to a state of good repair over the next five or so years. That need includes things like roofs, boilers, elevators, and more.</p> <p>On the show, Garcia noted that “one role NYCHA is serving is it’s the only bastion of affordable housing left in some of these neighborhoods, so it’s doubly important for us to make a commitment to it.”</p> <p>“[W]e don’t have a lot of options at this point in terms of the incredible need,” she said at one point, pointing to the administration’s plan to lease NYCHA land to developers who will fund millions of dollars in repairs at the NYCHA properties where they build.</p> <p>NYCHA is operating under Schwartz’s eye after the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) threatened receivership and federal prosecutors turned up major safety issues. At the end of January, Mayor de Blasio and HUD Secretary Ben Carson came to a deal, approved by a judge and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, that included the monitor.</p> <p>The month before, in December 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled “NYCHA 2.0,” a ten-year plan to repair public housing in the city by bringing in $24 billion. The plan includes funding for capital repairs across the NYCHA system and tackling problems such as lead paint, mold, elevator malfunctions, heat outages, and vermin infestations, which have increasingly plagued the city’s public housing in recent years. The plan represents three-quarters of NYCHA’s $31.8 billion overall capital needs.</p> <p>Garcia acknowledged that it has been “somewhat more complicated” to run an agency under federal monitorship, but also said that “outside eyes” can often be helpful in tackling a complex issue such as NYCHA.</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: NYCHA Interim CEO Kathryn Garcia</a>]</p> <p>Garcia remains “hopeful” that the state and federal governments will increase their funding for NYCHA, but she, like de Blasio, appears realistic that major help is unlikely any time soon. She did note, though, that an allocated $450 million in state money is on the verge of finally being spent on NYCHA repairs, and she explained that “one of the reasons we’re looking to these programs that convert from traditional public housing funding to section 8 is it’s been historically more fully funded than traditional public housing.”</p> <p>On the RAD program and whether it should raise concerns of NYCHA “privatization” as some have claimed, Garcia said, “we are leveraging the private market to bring additional funding into NYCHA.” She emphasized that NYCHA will still own the land and will ensure that residents are protected in development.</p> <p>Despite some initial pushback to the “NYCHA 2.0” plan, Garcia called the Build to Preserve program, which would see private development on NYCHA-owned land, “another tool in our toolbox to drive funding into NYCHA’s buildings” and “one of three legs” along with RAD and selling air rights. She also said the program would not work or be appropriate everywhere.</p> <p>“I completely understand why NYCHA residents would be anxious about it because historically people got moved out of their homes and they never came back,” Garcia said, but then also promised, “we are taking a completely different approach to this,” pledging a lot of communication, no residential displacement, and investment of revenue directly into the home campus.</p> <p>Saying there aren’t other options to address NYCHA’s needs, Garcia added, “This is a way to take...value from the campuses and do two things really: make sure residents do well and also increase the supply of housing and affordable housing in the City of New York, which is of course always in dire need.”</p> <p>On the lead crisis at NYCHA, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Garcia said</a>, “We stabilized thousands of apartments that had presumed or lead-based paint with children under six. We still have a lot more to do...We don’t know where all the lead paint is, and that is why we kicked off what is called the XRF initiative, which is X-raying the paint and being able to tell whether it has any lead. We started that on April 15...It will take us till end of 2020 to get that done because we are planning to test 134,000 apartments.”</p> <p>Some issues present “relatively straightforward fixes, like baseboards were painted lead, but nothing else in the apartment, while there will probably also be apartments where lead paint was used on every wall and those will obviously be much more significant jobs,” she said. X-raying all the paint is the “critical first step,” she said.</p> <p>Asked her assessment as to what really went wrong around lead paint inspections, Garcia said, “I obviously wasn’t here to assess exactly what all the steps were...One of the things that I think is true is a basic failure to understand what the requirements were and how much work it was going to take under HUD regulations and getting systems in place to really ensure that that happened,” later adding that it was also about complying with “local law.”</p> <p>“This an easy place to get trapped in putting out the fire of the day,” she continued, “and not stepping back and saying are we hitting all the milestones we need to hit to ensure that we are coming into compliance and to ensure that we are building a future here.”</p> <p>She also said “lead-based paint is...inherently a maintenance issue,” because “it’s not dangerous if it’s not peeling and chipping off the walls,” but when leaks are allowed to fester and apartments are not regularly painted, problems arise.</p> <p>Another big part of NYCHA 2.0 is the plan to convert 62,000 of its 176,000 public housing units to Section 8, through programs such as RAD. Sarah Watson, the deputy director of the Citizen Housing and Planning Council, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8560-max-murphy-podcast-lessons-from-london-for-how-to-fix-nycha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">appearing on Max &amp; Murphy just after Garcia</a>, compared this to a similar strategy that was used to fix London’s public housing in the 1980s.</p> <p>“The UK did hit a similar sort of crisis around public housing around 40 years ago, so has spent 40 years trying to deal with a very similar issue, which is it’s somewhat easy for government to build housing but it’s difficult for them to figure out how to keep that going” without dramatically increasing subsidies, she said.</p> <p>About a third of London residents were living in 770,000 public housing units in 1980. This is compared to the 400,000-plus New Yorkers living in 176,000 units today. The UK’s solution had two parts. First was allowing public housing residents to buy their homes and second was repairing the remaining public housing stock. “One of the most radical acts of housing policy ever seen was giving families the right overnight to buy their house or apartment,” according to Watson.</p> <p>She also said that the first phase then saw “a downside effect of being left with the worst quality housing stock with the most troubled and low-income residents.”</p> <p>While she acknowledges that replicating London’s plan may not be a complete fix, Watson said that fixing NYCHA “will take some radical new approaches and certainly some bold leadership,” like what happened in the United Kingdom. London’s public housing included a substantial number of homes in addition to apartments and “it was a little harder to get apartments to sell.”</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: NYCHA Interim CEO Kathryn Garcia</a>]</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8560-max-murphy-podcast-lessons-from-london-for-how-to-fix-nycha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: Lessons from London for How to Fix NYCHA</a>]</p> <p>

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by Andrew Millman, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max contributed to this story.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/46892752724_00ce370339_z.jpg" alt="de Blasio NYCHA lead" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>Mayor de Blasio &amp; Kathryn Garcia, right (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Four months on the job, NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia remains optimistic and determined about the future of the New York City public housing authority, home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers and several major crises. Garcia, who was the city’s sanitation commissioner for about five years until taking leave to fill in as the head of NYCHA, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">appeared on WBAI’s Max &amp; Murphy show</a>, where she discussed the de Blasio administration’s plans and programs to address problems at the housing authority, which is now under federal monitorship.</p> <p>“NYCHA is huge organization and in many ways you can think of it as a small city, the size of Miami,” Garcia said. “One of the things I wanted to put in place while I was here is the on-boarding of the federal monitor, which started a few weeks after the agreement was signed to make sure we were setting up systems to come into compliance and have a successful monitorship.”</p> <p>Garcia discussed working with the monitor, Bart Schwartz, and said she does not believe she is in the running to be named as the permanent NYCHA chair and CEO -- Mayor de Blasio and federal authorities have extended their own deadline to name a new NYCHA leader until the end of June. She also detailed some of what NYCHA is doing to address its long-term financial troubles, including the controversial plan to allow developers to build new private apartment buildings, with a mix of “affordable” and market-rate housing, on under-utilized NYCHA land.</p> <p>In terms of getting Schwartz integrated and beginning their working relationship, Garcia said they were doing “big-picture planning on issues of compliance” and “setting up the three departments -- compliance, safety, and quality assurance,” and addressing lead paint, “hopefully eventually coming off having a monitor.”</p> <p>“But there’s also a longer-term goal,” Garica said, of “how do we drive investment into these buildings. Because they are assets of the city and critical homes for all of the residents.” It’s important, she said, to consider a variety of newer options, including the “Obama-era RAD program, or what we call the Build to Preserve program to ensure residents are seeing impact as quickly as possible,” referring to the Rental Administration Demonstration program that allows for private management of NYCHA buildings and added federal dollars, as well as the “infill” private development on NYCHA land.</p> <p>For Garcia, and whomever replaces her, the challenges are immense -- not only has the public housing authority had a lead paint scandal that it is now aggressively attempting to mitigate, but overall NYCHA has a $30-plus billion needs assessment for the housing stock to be brought to a state of good repair over the next five or so years. That need includes things like roofs, boilers, elevators, and more.</p> <p>On the show, Garcia noted that “one role NYCHA is serving is it’s the only bastion of affordable housing left in some of these neighborhoods, so it’s doubly important for us to make a commitment to it.”</p> <p>“[W]e don’t have a lot of options at this point in terms of the incredible need,” she said at one point, pointing to the administration’s plan to lease NYCHA land to developers who will fund millions of dollars in repairs at the NYCHA properties where they build.</p> <p>NYCHA is operating under Schwartz’s eye after the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) threatened receivership and federal prosecutors turned up major safety issues. At the end of January, Mayor de Blasio and HUD Secretary Ben Carson came to a deal, approved by a judge and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, that included the monitor.</p> <p>The month before, in December 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled “NYCHA 2.0,” a ten-year plan to repair public housing in the city by bringing in $24 billion. The plan includes funding for capital repairs across the NYCHA system and tackling problems such as lead paint, mold, elevator malfunctions, heat outages, and vermin infestations, which have increasingly plagued the city’s public housing in recent years. The plan represents three-quarters of NYCHA’s $31.8 billion overall capital needs.</p> <p>Garcia acknowledged that it has been “somewhat more complicated” to run an agency under federal monitorship, but also said that “outside eyes” can often be helpful in tackling a complex issue such as NYCHA.</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: NYCHA Interim CEO Kathryn Garcia</a>]</p> <p>Garcia remains “hopeful” that the state and federal governments will increase their funding for NYCHA, but she, like de Blasio, appears realistic that major help is unlikely any time soon. She did note, though, that an allocated $450 million in state money is on the verge of finally being spent on NYCHA repairs, and she explained that “one of the reasons we’re looking to these programs that convert from traditional public housing funding to section 8 is it’s been historically more fully funded than traditional public housing.”</p> <p>On the RAD program and whether it should raise concerns of NYCHA “privatization” as some have claimed, Garcia said, “we are leveraging the private market to bring additional funding into NYCHA.” She emphasized that NYCHA will still own the land and will ensure that residents are protected in development.</p> <p>Despite some initial pushback to the “NYCHA 2.0” plan, Garcia called the Build to Preserve program, which would see private development on NYCHA-owned land, “another tool in our toolbox to drive funding into NYCHA’s buildings” and “one of three legs” along with RAD and selling air rights. She also said the program would not work or be appropriate everywhere.</p> <p>“I completely understand why NYCHA residents would be anxious about it because historically people got moved out of their homes and they never came back,” Garcia said, but then also promised, “we are taking a completely different approach to this,” pledging a lot of communication, no residential displacement, and investment of revenue directly into the home campus.</p> <p>Saying there aren’t other options to address NYCHA’s needs, Garcia added, “This is a way to take...value from the campuses and do two things really: make sure residents do well and also increase the supply of housing and affordable housing in the City of New York, which is of course always in dire need.”</p> <p>On the lead crisis at NYCHA, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Garcia said</a>, “We stabilized thousands of apartments that had presumed or lead-based paint with children under six. We still have a lot more to do...We don’t know where all the lead paint is, and that is why we kicked off what is called the XRF initiative, which is X-raying the paint and being able to tell whether it has any lead. We started that on April 15...It will take us till end of 2020 to get that done because we are planning to test 134,000 apartments.”</p> <p>Some issues present “relatively straightforward fixes, like baseboards were painted lead, but nothing else in the apartment, while there will probably also be apartments where lead paint was used on every wall and those will obviously be much more significant jobs,” she said. X-raying all the paint is the “critical first step,” she said.</p> <p>Asked her assessment as to what really went wrong around lead paint inspections, Garcia said, “I obviously wasn’t here to assess exactly what all the steps were...One of the things that I think is true is a basic failure to understand what the requirements were and how much work it was going to take under HUD regulations and getting systems in place to really ensure that that happened,” later adding that it was also about complying with “local law.”</p> <p>“This an easy place to get trapped in putting out the fire of the day,” she continued, “and not stepping back and saying are we hitting all the milestones we need to hit to ensure that we are coming into compliance and to ensure that we are building a future here.”</p> <p>She also said “lead-based paint is...inherently a maintenance issue,” because “it’s not dangerous if it’s not peeling and chipping off the walls,” but when leaks are allowed to fester and apartments are not regularly painted, problems arise.</p> <p>Another big part of NYCHA 2.0 is the plan to convert 62,000 of its 176,000 public housing units to Section 8, through programs such as RAD. Sarah Watson, the deputy director of the Citizen Housing and Planning Council, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8560-max-murphy-podcast-lessons-from-london-for-how-to-fix-nycha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">appearing on Max &amp; Murphy just after Garcia</a>, compared this to a similar strategy that was used to fix London’s public housing in the 1980s.</p> <p>“The UK did hit a similar sort of crisis around public housing around 40 years ago, so has spent 40 years trying to deal with a very similar issue, which is it’s somewhat easy for government to build housing but it’s difficult for them to figure out how to keep that going” without dramatically increasing subsidies, she said.</p> <p>About a third of London residents were living in 770,000 public housing units in 1980. This is compared to the 400,000-plus New Yorkers living in 176,000 units today. The UK’s solution had two parts. First was allowing public housing residents to buy their homes and second was repairing the remaining public housing stock. “One of the most radical acts of housing policy ever seen was giving families the right overnight to buy their house or apartment,” according to Watson.</p> <p>She also said that the first phase then saw “a downside effect of being left with the worst quality housing stock with the most troubled and low-income residents.”</p> <p>While she acknowledges that replicating London’s plan may not be a complete fix, Watson said that fixing NYCHA “will take some radical new approaches and certainly some bold leadership,” like what happened in the United Kingdom. London’s public housing included a substantial number of homes in addition to apartments and “it was a little harder to get apartments to sell.”</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: NYCHA Interim CEO Kathryn Garcia</a>]</p> <p>[LISTEN: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8560-max-murphy-podcast-lessons-from-london-for-how-to-fix-nycha" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: Lessons from London for How to Fix NYCHA</a>]</p> <p>

***
by Andrew Millman, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Ben Max contributed to this story.</p>
Max & Murphy Podcast: NYCHA Interim CEO Kathryn Garcia 2019-05-29T04:00:00+00:00 2019-05-29T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8559-max-murphy-podcast-nycha-s-future-with-interim-ceo-kathryn-garcia Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/kathryn-garcia-wbai-600.jpg" alt="kathryn garcia wbai 600" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>May 29, 2019 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: NYCHA's Future, with Interim CEO Kathryn Garcia<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/kathryn-garcia-wbai.jpg" alt="kathryn garcia wbai" width="155" height="233" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Kathryn Garcia, the city's sanitation commissioner for most of Mayor Bill de Blasio's tenure, was recently named interim chair and CEO of NYCHA, tasked with steering the public housing authority through tumultuous times, including the beginning of a federal monitorship. Garcia joined the show to give her perspective on NYCHA, how the monitor is working so far, how she's appoached the job, lead paint remediation, the "NYCHA 2.0" plan that the mayor announced in December, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/628644546&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/kathryn-garcia-wbai-600.jpg" alt="kathryn garcia wbai 600" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>May 29, 2019 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: NYCHA's Future, with Interim CEO Kathryn Garcia<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/kathryn-garcia-wbai.jpg" alt="kathryn garcia wbai" width="155" height="233" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Kathryn Garcia, the city's sanitation commissioner for most of Mayor Bill de Blasio's tenure, was recently named interim chair and CEO of NYCHA, tasked with steering the public housing authority through tumultuous times, including the beginning of a federal monitorship. Garcia joined the show to give her perspective on NYCHA, how the monitor is working so far, how she's appoached the job, lead paint remediation, the "NYCHA 2.0" plan that the mayor announced in December, and more.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/628644546&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Max & Murphy Podcast: Lessons from London for How to Fix NYCHA 2019-05-29T04:00:00+00:00 2019-05-29T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8560-max-murphy-podcast-lessons-from-london-for-how-to-fix-nycha Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/sarah-watson-wbai-600.jpg" alt="sarah watson wbai 600" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>May 29, 2019 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: Lessons from London for How to Fix NYCHA<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/sarah-watson-wbai.jpg" alt="sarah watson wbai" width="155" height="155" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Sarah Watson of Citizens Housing &amp; Planning Council joined the show to discuss how London dealt with its crumbling public housing decades ago and what lessons may be informative as New York City tries to chart its path ahead in saving and fixing NYCHA.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/628649313&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/sarah-watson-wbai-600.jpg" alt="sarah watson wbai 600" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><strong>May 29, 2019 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: Lessons from London for How to Fix NYCHA<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/sarah-watson-wbai.jpg" alt="sarah watson wbai" width="155" height="155" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Sarah Watson of Citizens Housing &amp; Planning Council joined the show to discuss how London dealt with its crumbling public housing decades ago and what lessons may be informative as New York City tries to chart its path ahead in saving and fixing NYCHA.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/628649313&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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What's The [Data] Point? 5, with former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen 2019-03-26T04:00:00+00:00 2019-03-26T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8386-what-s-the-data-point-5-with-former-deputy-mayor-alicia-glen Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 69</strong><strong> -- 5, with former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen </strong><em>[You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/wtdp-alica-glen-deputy-mayor.jpg" alt="wtdp alica glen deputy mayor" width="185" height="123" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Alicia Glen was Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development under Mayor Bill de Blasio for more than five years, until she recently left the administration after being the chief architect of its signature affordable housing plan, a broad variety of economic development initiatives, and more. Glen joined the podcast (for the second time) for an "exit interview" on her legacy as deputy mayor, key issues facing the city and where the city is headed, the city's overall economic competitiveness, the Amazon deal that was undone, NYCHA, whether she would ever run for elected office herself, and other topics.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/595635858%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-Nbc80&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 69</strong><strong> -- 5, with former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen </strong><em>[You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/wtdp-alica-glen-deputy-mayor.jpg" alt="wtdp alica glen deputy mayor" width="185" height="123" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" />Alicia Glen was Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development under Mayor Bill de Blasio for more than five years, until she recently left the administration after being the chief architect of its signature affordable housing plan, a broad variety of economic development initiatives, and more. Glen joined the podcast (for the second time) for an "exit interview" on her legacy as deputy mayor, key issues facing the city and where the city is headed, the city's overall economic competitiveness, the Amazon deal that was undone, NYCHA, whether she would ever run for elected office herself, and other topics.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/595635858%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-Nbc80&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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City Council Public Housing Chair Weighs in on HUD Deal, NYCHA’s Future 2019-02-14T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-14T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8287-city-council-public-housing-chair-weighs-in-on-hud-deal-nycha-s-future Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/42887679041_a32a70a64f_z.jpg" alt="Ampry-Samuel NYCHA" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>Alicka Ampry-Samuel (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>As Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced his “NYCHA 2.0” plan to secure the future of the city’s public housing authority, an agreement with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that includes a new federal monitor of NYCHA, and a new interim chair to lead the authority, the City Council member charged with oversight of NYCHA has some questions.</p> <p>Alicka Ampry-Samuel is the chair of the City Council’s public housing committee and represents parts of central Brooklyn, home to many NYCHA residences. During <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8262-max-murphy-podcast-the-future-of-nycha-with-city-council-member-alicka-ampry-samuel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a recent appearance on the Max &amp; Murphy show on WBAI radio</a>, Ampry-Samuel explained some of her concerns about the latest NYCHA-related developments, said that de Blasio had not reached out to her ahead of announcing that Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia would be named interim NYCHA chair, and promised a public hearing on the city’s deal with HUD in the coming months.</p> <p>Ampry-Samuel had measured praise for de Blasio’s NYCHA 2.0 plan, which includes fairly aggressive measures to bring in new revenue to address the housing authority’s $30 billion-plus in physical needs, but she joined the chorus of critics who have questioned the mayor’s deal with HUD that includes no new federal money for NYCHA.</p> <p>“We are seeing better things, but tell that to the person who’s suffering right now,” Ampry-Samuels said of the general situation across NYCHA, particularly relative to last winter, when there were widespread heat and hot water outages. “It’s hard for them to receive that response because they’re thinking, ‘What about me?’ That’s not the case in my home.”</p> <p>On January 31, de Blasio announced at a press conference with Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson a deal that includes the federal government taking more direct oversight of NYCHA in response to years of crisis, criticism, management turmoil, and federal law enforcement inquiry.<br /> <br />Opponents have criticized the deal as giving too much power to a federal government that has often been at odds with the de Blasio administration and not supportive enough of public housing. The deal includes no new federal funding but a federal monitor who will be tasked with tracking NYCHA’s actions.<br /> <br />“Who is this person?” Ampry-Samuel said of the impending monitor. “Do they care about public housing, or is just a business-minded person who’s coming in to change and reform management, coming in to change the operational structure? Or is this someone who’s going to come in and look at NYCHA 2.0 and raising revenue to deal with the $32 million capital repairs it needs.”<br /> <br />Ampry-Samuel took a measured, pragmatic approach throughout the discussion. “With there now being federal monitor, this is opportunity to have an independent voice and be able to sit down with residents and the City of New York and say, ‘These are the things you have in place’ and review it. Go line by line and say, ‘You have not been able to do what you needed to do in the past and this is a way forward.’”<br /> <br />In December, de Blasio announced NYCHA 2.0, a revamped comprehensive plan to reform NYCHA and bring in more than $20 billion in revenue to repair the crumbling and dangerous public housing home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers. Some of the measures de Blasio had either rejected in the past or supported in far more limited fashion, but he said that without large-scale federal help, the city had no other viable options.</p> <p>According to a de Blasio press release, the plan will resolve $24 billion in repairs, including renovations for 175,000 residents. Some of that will depend on new development on underused NYCHA land, such as parking lots, where a mix of market-rate and affordable housing will be erected. Ampry-Samuel appeared to acknowledge the elements of the plan as necessities, despite the fact that many have expressed grave concerns about such “infill” housing. The development process must be community-led, she said, and the money from development must be reinvested in the particular NYCHA projects where the new housing is built.<br /> <br />“We have to figure out ways to bring money in, but we have to make sure that the residents who are already part of the fabric of that development benefit from all the deals,” she said. “And we have to make sure it doesn’t happen to them -- it happens with them.”<br /> <br />Just last week de Blasio announced his next choice for interim chair of NYCHA: Kathryn Garcia, commissioner of the city’s Department of Sanitation, whom de Blasio had also recently put in charge of lead remediation efforts, which came out of the NYCHA lead paint scandal. Garcia replaces outgoing interim chair Stanley Brezenoff who <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/11/nyregion/brezenoff-nycha-hud.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently criticized</a> the city’s deal with HUD.</p> <p>“I can’t figure why [the next NYCHA chair] is someone who has no housing background, no one with experience to that level,” said Ampry-Samuel. “She’s a great woman, with a great career, she rose through the ranks at Sanitation, but we can’t play musical chairs with this type of situation.”</p> <p>A permanent chair, perhaps Garcia, is expected to be named after the federal monitor is in place, given that the monitor will have a say in approving de Blasio’s choice to head the authority.<br /> <br />The City Council Committee on Public Housing plans to hold an oversight hearing with Garcia, the administration, and a HUD representative on the deal between HUD and the city and NYCHA in the next several weeks, Ampry-Samuel said. She called for the creation of a chief resident officer as an advisor to the chair of NYCHA. The position, she hopes, could spur a greater relationship between NYCHA and NYCHA residents, though there are also tenant councils.</p> <p>Asked about a time frame for the hearing she promised, Ampry-Samuel was hesitant to provide specifics, given how unsettled things are and how fresh the deal with HUD was, but she said she looked forward to a public discussion of all the recent changes and those to come.</p> <p>[Listen: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8262-max-murphy-podcast-the-future-of-nycha-with-city-council-member-alicka-ampry-samuel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: The Future of NYCHA with City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel</a>]</p> <p>

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by Truman Stephens, Gotham Gazette

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/42887679041_a32a70a64f_z.jpg" alt="Ampry-Samuel NYCHA" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>Alicka Ampry-Samuel (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>As Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced his “NYCHA 2.0” plan to secure the future of the city’s public housing authority, an agreement with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that includes a new federal monitor of NYCHA, and a new interim chair to lead the authority, the City Council member charged with oversight of NYCHA has some questions.</p> <p>Alicka Ampry-Samuel is the chair of the City Council’s public housing committee and represents parts of central Brooklyn, home to many NYCHA residences. During <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8262-max-murphy-podcast-the-future-of-nycha-with-city-council-member-alicka-ampry-samuel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a recent appearance on the Max &amp; Murphy show on WBAI radio</a>, Ampry-Samuel explained some of her concerns about the latest NYCHA-related developments, said that de Blasio had not reached out to her ahead of announcing that Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia would be named interim NYCHA chair, and promised a public hearing on the city’s deal with HUD in the coming months.</p> <p>Ampry-Samuel had measured praise for de Blasio’s NYCHA 2.0 plan, which includes fairly aggressive measures to bring in new revenue to address the housing authority’s $30 billion-plus in physical needs, but she joined the chorus of critics who have questioned the mayor’s deal with HUD that includes no new federal money for NYCHA.</p> <p>“We are seeing better things, but tell that to the person who’s suffering right now,” Ampry-Samuels said of the general situation across NYCHA, particularly relative to last winter, when there were widespread heat and hot water outages. “It’s hard for them to receive that response because they’re thinking, ‘What about me?’ That’s not the case in my home.”</p> <p>On January 31, de Blasio announced at a press conference with Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson a deal that includes the federal government taking more direct oversight of NYCHA in response to years of crisis, criticism, management turmoil, and federal law enforcement inquiry.<br /> <br />Opponents have criticized the deal as giving too much power to a federal government that has often been at odds with the de Blasio administration and not supportive enough of public housing. The deal includes no new federal funding but a federal monitor who will be tasked with tracking NYCHA’s actions.<br /> <br />“Who is this person?” Ampry-Samuel said of the impending monitor. “Do they care about public housing, or is just a business-minded person who’s coming in to change and reform management, coming in to change the operational structure? Or is this someone who’s going to come in and look at NYCHA 2.0 and raising revenue to deal with the $32 million capital repairs it needs.”<br /> <br />Ampry-Samuel took a measured, pragmatic approach throughout the discussion. “With there now being federal monitor, this is opportunity to have an independent voice and be able to sit down with residents and the City of New York and say, ‘These are the things you have in place’ and review it. Go line by line and say, ‘You have not been able to do what you needed to do in the past and this is a way forward.’”<br /> <br />In December, de Blasio announced NYCHA 2.0, a revamped comprehensive plan to reform NYCHA and bring in more than $20 billion in revenue to repair the crumbling and dangerous public housing home to more than 400,000 New Yorkers. Some of the measures de Blasio had either rejected in the past or supported in far more limited fashion, but he said that without large-scale federal help, the city had no other viable options.</p> <p>According to a de Blasio press release, the plan will resolve $24 billion in repairs, including renovations for 175,000 residents. Some of that will depend on new development on underused NYCHA land, such as parking lots, where a mix of market-rate and affordable housing will be erected. Ampry-Samuel appeared to acknowledge the elements of the plan as necessities, despite the fact that many have expressed grave concerns about such “infill” housing. The development process must be community-led, she said, and the money from development must be reinvested in the particular NYCHA projects where the new housing is built.<br /> <br />“We have to figure out ways to bring money in, but we have to make sure that the residents who are already part of the fabric of that development benefit from all the deals,” she said. “And we have to make sure it doesn’t happen to them -- it happens with them.”<br /> <br />Just last week de Blasio announced his next choice for interim chair of NYCHA: Kathryn Garcia, commissioner of the city’s Department of Sanitation, whom de Blasio had also recently put in charge of lead remediation efforts, which came out of the NYCHA lead paint scandal. Garcia replaces outgoing interim chair Stanley Brezenoff who <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/11/nyregion/brezenoff-nycha-hud.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently criticized</a> the city’s deal with HUD.</p> <p>“I can’t figure why [the next NYCHA chair] is someone who has no housing background, no one with experience to that level,” said Ampry-Samuel. “She’s a great woman, with a great career, she rose through the ranks at Sanitation, but we can’t play musical chairs with this type of situation.”</p> <p>A permanent chair, perhaps Garcia, is expected to be named after the federal monitor is in place, given that the monitor will have a say in approving de Blasio’s choice to head the authority.<br /> <br />The City Council Committee on Public Housing plans to hold an oversight hearing with Garcia, the administration, and a HUD representative on the deal between HUD and the city and NYCHA in the next several weeks, Ampry-Samuel said. She called for the creation of a chief resident officer as an advisor to the chair of NYCHA. The position, she hopes, could spur a greater relationship between NYCHA and NYCHA residents, though there are also tenant councils.</p> <p>Asked about a time frame for the hearing she promised, Ampry-Samuel was hesitant to provide specifics, given how unsettled things are and how fresh the deal with HUD was, but she said she looked forward to a public discussion of all the recent changes and those to come.</p> <p>[Listen: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8262-max-murphy-podcast-the-future-of-nycha-with-city-council-member-alicka-ampry-samuel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: The Future of NYCHA with City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel</a>]</p> <p>

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by Truman Stephens, Gotham Gazette

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</p>
Max & Murphy Podcast: The Future of NYCHA with City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel 2019-02-06T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-06T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8262-max-murphy-podcast-the-future-of-nycha-with-city-council-member-alicka-ampry-samuel Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="600" height="239" /></p> <p>Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette,&nbsp;and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits</p> <hr /> <p><strong>February 7, 2019 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/alicka-ampry-samuel-150.jpg" alt="alicka ampry samuel 150" width="118" height="123" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" /></p> <p>City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel chairs the Council's public housing committee and represents a Brooklyn district with a large NYCHA presence. She joined the show to discuss NYCHA's future, including the recent agreement between Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the mayor's previously-announced plans to raise revenue to fund more than $30 billion in needed repairs and upgrades, as well as de Blasio's announcement of a new interim NYCHA chair.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/571265430&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="600" height="239" /></p> <p>Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette,&nbsp;and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits</p> <hr /> <p><strong>February 7, 2019 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel<br /></strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/podcast19/alicka-ampry-samuel-150.jpg" alt="alicka ampry samuel 150" width="118" height="123" style="margin: 10px; float: left;" /></p> <p>City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel chairs the Council's public housing committee and represents a Brooklyn district with a large NYCHA presence. She joined the show to discuss NYCHA's future, including the recent agreement between Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the mayor's previously-announced plans to raise revenue to fund more than $30 billion in needed repairs and upgrades, as well as de Blasio's announcement of a new interim NYCHA chair.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/571265430&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p>
Private Sector Failure Requires NYCHA’s Preservation 2019-01-23T05:00:00+00:00 2019-01-23T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8216-private-sector-failure-requires-nycha-s-preservation Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/mayor-private.jpg" alt="mayor private" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo: Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Many New Yorkers likely wonder why Mayor de Blasio wants to spend $24 billion on saving the aging towers of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Much of this public housing consists of plain brick towers, which the city built rapidly from the 1930s to the 1960s, in a dated “towers in the park” design, now worn down from decades of hard use. In Singapore and much of Europe, government policy has targeted public housing of this age and type for billions in spending to remake projects to match changing urban tastes, family size, and rising densities.</p> <p>But in the United States and New York there is no equivalent housing program with the funds to replace NYCHA’s 175,000 apartments (400,000 registered tenants), which rent on average at just $550 per month. The mayor, in the unprecedented $24 billion NYCHA 2.0 plan he released in December, is forced to rely on a complicated and potentially uncertain financing plan integrating city, state, federal, and private funds; private sector management of fully one-third of NYCHA’s portfolio; and hoped for revenues from “infill” ground leases and sales of air rights.</p> <p>Added together the plan’s various elements will still barely provide for basic renovation when spread across a massive system that has a minimum of $31 billion in capital needs; NYCHA 2.0 certainly won’t cover redevelopment to a twenty-first century standard. Even if New York had the funds for massive redevelopment, it would still be a risky proposition to take NYCHA projects offline (many of which have 1,000 units or more each). NYCHA is already full to overflowing and the private market lacks sufficient low-cost units to accommodate relocation needs.</p> <p>The risk is high in losing any of NYCHA’s units because the most endangered commodity in New York City is the privately-operated apartment that rents for less than $1,000 -- with rent-regulated units in <a href="http://www.cssny.org/news/entry/the-geography-of-rent-regulation-in-new-york-city" target="_blank" rel="noopener">particularly perilous straits</a>. Public housing is now such a crucial part of that low-cost market that to lose the system, or even part of it, would, <a href="http://library.rpa.org/pdf/RPA-NYCHAs_Crisis_2018_12_18_.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to the respected Regional Plan Association</a>, drive up homelessness, take housing from working-class people, and worsen conditions citywide because the market cannot replace the units.</p> <p><strong>A Brief History of Massive Failure</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/private-building.jpg" alt="private building" width="500" height="349" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" />(Lewis Hine, Elizabeth Street, 1912. Library of Congress)</p> <p>Today’s private sector housing failure is nothing new; instead, lousy and expensive housing has been a persistent dimension of New York City life for over a century. The city was once dominated by thousands of privately owned tenement buildings that crowded land and people together at density levels the world had never seen before. The creation of the subway in 1904 relieved that pressure for a time, allowing for a mass exodus to newer tenements, apartment buildings, or small homes in the outer boroughs. NYCHA also launched in the 1930s as an all-out attack on these tenements.</p> <p>Tougher housing regulations and the suburban boom accelerated the tenement exodus from the 1930s onward, but many tenements in areas such as East Harlem and the Lower East Side backfilled with migrants from the south and Puerto Rico in the mid-twentieth century. Owners of many vestigial tenements abandoned or burned many of them from the ‘60s to the ‘80s.</p> <p>Gentrification since the 1970s in New York City generated a new twist on private sector failure. Landlords of surviving apartment buildings good and bad won revisions in rent control and stabilization since the 1970s. They have used these lenient rules ever since to raise rents or drive out long-time tenants. Many private landlords haven’t cared if a tenant family must pay 50 percent or more of their income on rent. Dangerous conditions in many of these lower-rent buildings, which are not as widely publicized as those at NYCHA, are a mixed bag with irregular heat, lead exposure, and mold common.</p> <p><strong>Private Sector Saviors?</strong><br /> Many private real estate companies have, in fairness, played a crucial role in affordable housing management and development since the 1960s. Indeed, the various tax credits and breaks, and zoning bonuses, have created new “affordable” units that are modern and comfortable. Yet the supply of these units is relatively small (as they are often a minority percentage of a building); apartments time out of affordability after a specified period (requiring new public financing); and most apartments are targeted for income levels higher than public housing.</p> <p>The result is scarcity and insufficient affordable housing production: the odds of landing one of the new privately developed and managed affordable units produced in 2018 was just 1 in 592. At the current rate of new private construction in Mayor de Blasio’s broader housing plan, which produced a record 7,857 affordable units in 2018, it would still take two decades or more just to replace NYCHA’s 175,000 units.</p> <p>The real estate industry has also stepped up to play a central role in the conversion of public housing to private sector management and may end up running about 66,000 units of NYCHA housing under what NYCHA calls PACT (nationally it is RAD). Builders also hope to ground-lease NYCHA sites that could provide funding for renovation of surrounding buildings and additional affordable and market-rate units.</p> <p>Private companies aren’t taking on these NYCHA projects or infill projects for entirely altruistic reasons, of course. Infill projects, even with affordable components, can be profitable. Private managers who take over existing NYCHA projects are being handed thousands of well-located, structurally-sound, mostly debt-free, fully-tenanted, property tax-free, federally-subsidized (Section 8) apartments they can borrow money from banks to renovate. Managing and renovating these buildings is a heavy lift, but there is a significant upside if done right.</p> <p><strong>Time to Step Up!</strong><br /> The private sector, even given these good steps, is still not doing enough for either NYCHA or the average low-income renter. Without a large-scale program of new production, the region will continue to be uncompetitive as business shifts to places where lower and even middle-income people can afford to live decently. The city’s private sector is booming today, for sure, but so is the national economy. When times get tight, New York City may seem much less attractive. A desperate population is also likely to be drawn to draconian rent regulations, higher taxes, and more “socialistic” policies to try and level the playing field. It isn’t pretty when recessions hit New York.</p> <p>Both real estate interests and large employers should be putting more of their energy and funds into expanding affordable housing programs at the state and federal levels. Only when the real estate industry starts producing tens of thousands of affordable units per year do they earn a right to speak about NYCHA’s future and/or redevelopment. It also wouldn’t hurt if a business titan or two stood up for public housing funding and improvements.</p> <p>Instead of putting so much of its energy into fighting rent stabilization or marketing overpriced apartments to foreign investors, business leaders could take a cue from their wealthy predecessors. Governors Roosevelt, Lehman, and Rockefeller developed and fought hard for creative programs to boost low-cost housing production. Or they can look west. Microsoft’s new commitment of $500 million to affordable housing in Seattle reflects, hopefully, a new era of commitment from employers to making more equitable housing market.</p> <p>Where is New York City’s Microsoft of affordable housing?</p> <p>***<br /> Nicholas Dagen Bloom is a professor at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and a NYCHA scholar, and has a new book on state/urban policies: <a href="https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo26949927.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How States Shaped Postwar America</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/mayor-private.jpg" alt="mayor private" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo: Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Many New Yorkers likely wonder why Mayor de Blasio wants to spend $24 billion on saving the aging towers of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Much of this public housing consists of plain brick towers, which the city built rapidly from the 1930s to the 1960s, in a dated “towers in the park” design, now worn down from decades of hard use. In Singapore and much of Europe, government policy has targeted public housing of this age and type for billions in spending to remake projects to match changing urban tastes, family size, and rising densities.</p> <p>But in the United States and New York there is no equivalent housing program with the funds to replace NYCHA’s 175,000 apartments (400,000 registered tenants), which rent on average at just $550 per month. The mayor, in the unprecedented $24 billion NYCHA 2.0 plan he released in December, is forced to rely on a complicated and potentially uncertain financing plan integrating city, state, federal, and private funds; private sector management of fully one-third of NYCHA’s portfolio; and hoped for revenues from “infill” ground leases and sales of air rights.</p> <p>Added together the plan’s various elements will still barely provide for basic renovation when spread across a massive system that has a minimum of $31 billion in capital needs; NYCHA 2.0 certainly won’t cover redevelopment to a twenty-first century standard. Even if New York had the funds for massive redevelopment, it would still be a risky proposition to take NYCHA projects offline (many of which have 1,000 units or more each). NYCHA is already full to overflowing and the private market lacks sufficient low-cost units to accommodate relocation needs.</p> <p>The risk is high in losing any of NYCHA’s units because the most endangered commodity in New York City is the privately-operated apartment that rents for less than $1,000 -- with rent-regulated units in <a href="http://www.cssny.org/news/entry/the-geography-of-rent-regulation-in-new-york-city" target="_blank" rel="noopener">particularly perilous straits</a>. Public housing is now such a crucial part of that low-cost market that to lose the system, or even part of it, would, <a href="http://library.rpa.org/pdf/RPA-NYCHAs_Crisis_2018_12_18_.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">according to the respected Regional Plan Association</a>, drive up homelessness, take housing from working-class people, and worsen conditions citywide because the market cannot replace the units.</p> <p><strong>A Brief History of Massive Failure</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/private-building.jpg" alt="private building" width="500" height="349" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" />(Lewis Hine, Elizabeth Street, 1912. Library of Congress)</p> <p>Today’s private sector housing failure is nothing new; instead, lousy and expensive housing has been a persistent dimension of New York City life for over a century. The city was once dominated by thousands of privately owned tenement buildings that crowded land and people together at density levels the world had never seen before. The creation of the subway in 1904 relieved that pressure for a time, allowing for a mass exodus to newer tenements, apartment buildings, or small homes in the outer boroughs. NYCHA also launched in the 1930s as an all-out attack on these tenements.</p> <p>Tougher housing regulations and the suburban boom accelerated the tenement exodus from the 1930s onward, but many tenements in areas such as East Harlem and the Lower East Side backfilled with migrants from the south and Puerto Rico in the mid-twentieth century. Owners of many vestigial tenements abandoned or burned many of them from the ‘60s to the ‘80s.</p> <p>Gentrification since the 1970s in New York City generated a new twist on private sector failure. Landlords of surviving apartment buildings good and bad won revisions in rent control and stabilization since the 1970s. They have used these lenient rules ever since to raise rents or drive out long-time tenants. Many private landlords haven’t cared if a tenant family must pay 50 percent or more of their income on rent. Dangerous conditions in many of these lower-rent buildings, which are not as widely publicized as those at NYCHA, are a mixed bag with irregular heat, lead exposure, and mold common.</p> <p><strong>Private Sector Saviors?</strong><br /> Many private real estate companies have, in fairness, played a crucial role in affordable housing management and development since the 1960s. Indeed, the various tax credits and breaks, and zoning bonuses, have created new “affordable” units that are modern and comfortable. Yet the supply of these units is relatively small (as they are often a minority percentage of a building); apartments time out of affordability after a specified period (requiring new public financing); and most apartments are targeted for income levels higher than public housing.</p> <p>The result is scarcity and insufficient affordable housing production: the odds of landing one of the new privately developed and managed affordable units produced in 2018 was just 1 in 592. At the current rate of new private construction in Mayor de Blasio’s broader housing plan, which produced a record 7,857 affordable units in 2018, it would still take two decades or more just to replace NYCHA’s 175,000 units.</p> <p>The real estate industry has also stepped up to play a central role in the conversion of public housing to private sector management and may end up running about 66,000 units of NYCHA housing under what NYCHA calls PACT (nationally it is RAD). Builders also hope to ground-lease NYCHA sites that could provide funding for renovation of surrounding buildings and additional affordable and market-rate units.</p> <p>Private companies aren’t taking on these NYCHA projects or infill projects for entirely altruistic reasons, of course. Infill projects, even with affordable components, can be profitable. Private managers who take over existing NYCHA projects are being handed thousands of well-located, structurally-sound, mostly debt-free, fully-tenanted, property tax-free, federally-subsidized (Section 8) apartments they can borrow money from banks to renovate. Managing and renovating these buildings is a heavy lift, but there is a significant upside if done right.</p> <p><strong>Time to Step Up!</strong><br /> The private sector, even given these good steps, is still not doing enough for either NYCHA or the average low-income renter. Without a large-scale program of new production, the region will continue to be uncompetitive as business shifts to places where lower and even middle-income people can afford to live decently. The city’s private sector is booming today, for sure, but so is the national economy. When times get tight, New York City may seem much less attractive. A desperate population is also likely to be drawn to draconian rent regulations, higher taxes, and more “socialistic” policies to try and level the playing field. It isn’t pretty when recessions hit New York.</p> <p>Both real estate interests and large employers should be putting more of their energy and funds into expanding affordable housing programs at the state and federal levels. Only when the real estate industry starts producing tens of thousands of affordable units per year do they earn a right to speak about NYCHA’s future and/or redevelopment. It also wouldn’t hurt if a business titan or two stood up for public housing funding and improvements.</p> <p>Instead of putting so much of its energy into fighting rent stabilization or marketing overpriced apartments to foreign investors, business leaders could take a cue from their wealthy predecessors. Governors Roosevelt, Lehman, and Rockefeller developed and fought hard for creative programs to boost low-cost housing production. Or they can look west. Microsoft’s new commitment of $500 million to affordable housing in Seattle reflects, hopefully, a new era of commitment from employers to making more equitable housing market.</p> <p>Where is New York City’s Microsoft of affordable housing?</p> <p>***<br /> Nicholas Dagen Bloom is a professor at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and a NYCHA scholar, and has a new book on state/urban policies: <a href="https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo26949927.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">How States Shaped Postwar America</a>.</p> <p>

***
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</p>
Max & Murphy Podcast: Top Stories of 2018 & What to Watch in 2019 2018-12-27T05:00:00+00:00 2018-12-27T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8162-max-murphy-podcast-top-stories-of-2018-what-to-watch-in-2019 Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="600" height="239" /></p> <p>Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette,&nbsp;and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits</p> <hr /> <p><strong>December 26, 2018 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: Top Stories of 2018 &amp; What to Watch in 2019<br /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project<br /><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1542727012992000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFY2bJ6BA6AesUwakCrfkUOqoU35A">Find the rest of the series here</a></em></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="177" height="70" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" />For our year-end show we look back at the top storylines of 2018 in New York politics and preview our top storylines to watch for 2019!</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/550537143&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/agenda19v2-a.jpg" alt="agenda19v2 a" width="250" height="127" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></a></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project<br /><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1542727012992000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFY2bJ6BA6AesUwakCrfkUOqoU35A">Find the rest of the series here</a></em></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="600" height="239" /></p> <p>Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette,&nbsp;and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits</p> <hr /> <p><strong>December 26, 2018 - Max &amp; Murphy Podcast: Top Stories of 2018 &amp; What to Watch in 2019<br /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project<br /><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1542727012992000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFY2bJ6BA6AesUwakCrfkUOqoU35A">Find the rest of the series here</a></em></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/mxm-logo.jpg" alt="mxm logo" width="177" height="70" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" />For our year-end show we look back at the top storylines of 2018 in New York politics and preview our top storylines to watch for 2019!</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax </a>and <a href="https://twitter.com/jarrettmurphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@JarrettMurphy</a>. You can listen to the show through the embedded audio below or download the episode wherever you get your podcasts, under "Max &amp; Murphy," and listen to Max &amp; Murphy live on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WBAI radio, 99.5FM or wbai.org</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/550537143&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="185" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/agenda19v2-a.jpg" alt="agenda19v2 a" width="250" height="127" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" /></a></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project<br /><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.gothamgazette.com/state/8029-agenda-2019&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1542727012992000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFY2bJ6BA6AesUwakCrfkUOqoU35A">Find the rest of the series here</a></em></p> <p>

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
NYCHA Follows the Money 2018-11-20T05:00:00+00:00 2018-11-20T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/130-opinion/8097-nycha-follows-the-money Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/45912361552_85db24e5f9_z.jpg" alt="de Blasio NYCHA RAD" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>NYCHA RAD announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Had the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Congress, and various Presidents funded public housing at a level equivalent to its needs for the past two decades, NYCHA would still have problems, but not at the scale it does today. Nor would a progressive Mayor be wholeheartedly embracing private management of about one-third (62,000) of the city’s precious, low-cost, public housing units. The only way to understand why the Mayor, NYCHA leadership, and many local politicians endorse increasing the use of public-private partnerships to run NYCHA is to step back and view NYCHA’s problems through the wider angle of changing federal policy.</p> <p>From the 1930s to the 1990s, NYCHA lobbied for and won federal subsidies that allowed it to build and manage public housing on a massive scale. Sadly, most other American cities used these same subsidies to create much smaller, lower-quality, worse managed, more isolated, and thus less popular systems. New Yorkers, by contrast, grew accustomed to the idea that a city would have 175,000 decent low-cost apartments thanks to Uncle Sam. NYCHA employees dutifully managed thousands of towers even under very trying conditions.</p> <p>By the 1990s, however, New York stood out like a sore thumb. The federal government, responding to public housing problems nationally (such as those in Chicago), was now paying to knock down towers and complexes, encouraging privatization, and pouring more money into voucher programs (i.e. Section 8) and low-income housing tax credits. The whole federal funding system for public housing was redesigned from the ground up to emphasize private sector leadership in low-cost housing.</p> <p>The towers in cities like Chicago and Baltimore, many of which were only partly occupied by this point, came down at amazing speed, replaced with vouchers and privately-run, mixed-income, medium- or low-rise neighborhoods. Few former public housing tenants were rehoused on former public housing sites; instead, they were mostly scattered into private housing thanks to voucher programs. New York, with full towers, a decent management reputation, tight housing market, and local political commitment to public housing, barely participated in these redevelopment programs.</p> <p>The demise of large, high-rise, elevator buildings (and public housing more generally) in the rest of the United States was, however, terrible news for NYCHA. The loss of a national program and the urban political allies dedicated to expensive and publicly-run urban public housing led to systemic disinvestment. Even “good” federal funding years did not provide anything close to the needed funds for reinvestments and operations in New York, especially given the advancing age of most buildings. The shift in federal housing policy meant the cuts were permanent features of public housing management.</p> <p>NYCHA officials were in denial for years. They thought they could "manage" their way out of the problems created by budget cuts until the federal picture improved -- as they had sometimes in the past. They were wrong. Looking back now we see that the dramatic declines in operating and capital funds led to the loss of thousands of experienced employees, deferred maintenance (i.e. mold, peeling paint, broken boilers), compliance failures, inexperienced hires, and more. NYCHA labor unions also successfully fought policy changes and efficiency measures that would have improved quality of life for residents.</p> <p>When it comes to a massive housing system -- in a very expensive city -- less money inevitably meant lower quality service.</p> <p>The Mayor's emerging plan for NYCHA 2.0 is an overdue acknowledgment that the federal funding landscape has permanently changed. There will never be a day or decade when NYCHA can from federal funds meet its $31.8 billion capital need, or even fully fund its operations. And while the City has made up for some shortfall over the past few years, to the tune of billions of dollars, it isn’t realistic to believe that the City will redirect tens of billions more of its own capital and operating funds (unless the courts force its hand) from other worthy causes.</p> <p>Shifting 62,000 NYCHA apartments to private-sector management, as planned in the initial portion of NYCHA 2.0 that we’ve now seen, through various voucher programs, allows private companies to combine rents, voucher reimbursement, and federal tax credits with the money they can borrow as mortgages, loans, etc. They will apply these funds to renovating tens of thousands of apartments in structurally sound NYCHA buildings. They can shave labor costs by hiring new workers and investing in technology. They can take a harder line on rent collection and resident behavior.</p> <p>NYCHA buildings clean up well under good private managers and new employees, as anyone who has visited the RAD Ocean Bay project can attest. By shifting so many apartments to the private section, moreover, private managers will relieve NYCHA of billions in unfunded capital needs, and of the management of most of its smaller developments, allowing remaining NYCHA staff to focus on the larger projects in its portfolio. The city, of course, will not face a massive bill for renovation. There is an undeniable political payoff as well: future problems at these complexes will no longer be a mayoral liability.</p> <p>Many residents, local politicians, employees, and activists are leery of NYCHA “privatization.” Indeed, the NYCHA 2.0 plan, promised by Mayor de Blasio by the end of the year, needs to build in solid protections for current NYCHA residents, encourage non-profit participation in private management, and spell out the long-term fate of these apartments as residents come and go. Given the dominance of the private sector in federal policy, and the current balance of power in Washington, those who believe in purely public housing -- the old NYCHA -- will have difficulty developing an alternative and equally beneficial plan. The ball is in their court as the NYCHA 2.0 plan develops.</p> <p>***<br />Nicholas Dagen Bloom, Ph.D. is a professor at New York Institute of Technology and the author of <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-Dagen-Bloom/e/B001H6NWDI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">many books</a>.</p> <p>

***
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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/45912361552_85db24e5f9_z.jpg" alt="de Blasio NYCHA RAD" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>NYCHA RAD announcement (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Had the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Congress, and various Presidents funded public housing at a level equivalent to its needs for the past two decades, NYCHA would still have problems, but not at the scale it does today. Nor would a progressive Mayor be wholeheartedly embracing private management of about one-third (62,000) of the city’s precious, low-cost, public housing units. The only way to understand why the Mayor, NYCHA leadership, and many local politicians endorse increasing the use of public-private partnerships to run NYCHA is to step back and view NYCHA’s problems through the wider angle of changing federal policy.</p> <p>From the 1930s to the 1990s, NYCHA lobbied for and won federal subsidies that allowed it to build and manage public housing on a massive scale. Sadly, most other American cities used these same subsidies to create much smaller, lower-quality, worse managed, more isolated, and thus less popular systems. New Yorkers, by contrast, grew accustomed to the idea that a city would have 175,000 decent low-cost apartments thanks to Uncle Sam. NYCHA employees dutifully managed thousands of towers even under very trying conditions.</p> <p>By the 1990s, however, New York stood out like a sore thumb. The federal government, responding to public housing problems nationally (such as those in Chicago), was now paying to knock down towers and complexes, encouraging privatization, and pouring more money into voucher programs (i.e. Section 8) and low-income housing tax credits. The whole federal funding system for public housing was redesigned from the ground up to emphasize private sector leadership in low-cost housing.</p> <p>The towers in cities like Chicago and Baltimore, many of which were only partly occupied by this point, came down at amazing speed, replaced with vouchers and privately-run, mixed-income, medium- or low-rise neighborhoods. Few former public housing tenants were rehoused on former public housing sites; instead, they were mostly scattered into private housing thanks to voucher programs. New York, with full towers, a decent management reputation, tight housing market, and local political commitment to public housing, barely participated in these redevelopment programs.</p> <p>The demise of large, high-rise, elevator buildings (and public housing more generally) in the rest of the United States was, however, terrible news for NYCHA. The loss of a national program and the urban political allies dedicated to expensive and publicly-run urban public housing led to systemic disinvestment. Even “good” federal funding years did not provide anything close to the needed funds for reinvestments and operations in New York, especially given the advancing age of most buildings. The shift in federal housing policy meant the cuts were permanent features of public housing management.</p> <p>NYCHA officials were in denial for years. They thought they could "manage" their way out of the problems created by budget cuts until the federal picture improved -- as they had sometimes in the past. They were wrong. Looking back now we see that the dramatic declines in operating and capital funds led to the loss of thousands of experienced employees, deferred maintenance (i.e. mold, peeling paint, broken boilers), compliance failures, inexperienced hires, and more. NYCHA labor unions also successfully fought policy changes and efficiency measures that would have improved quality of life for residents.</p> <p>When it comes to a massive housing system -- in a very expensive city -- less money inevitably meant lower quality service.</p> <p>The Mayor's emerging plan for NYCHA 2.0 is an overdue acknowledgment that the federal funding landscape has permanently changed. There will never be a day or decade when NYCHA can from federal funds meet its $31.8 billion capital need, or even fully fund its operations. And while the City has made up for some shortfall over the past few years, to the tune of billions of dollars, it isn’t realistic to believe that the City will redirect tens of billions more of its own capital and operating funds (unless the courts force its hand) from other worthy causes.</p> <p>Shifting 62,000 NYCHA apartments to private-sector management, as planned in the initial portion of NYCHA 2.0 that we’ve now seen, through various voucher programs, allows private companies to combine rents, voucher reimbursement, and federal tax credits with the money they can borrow as mortgages, loans, etc. They will apply these funds to renovating tens of thousands of apartments in structurally sound NYCHA buildings. They can shave labor costs by hiring new workers and investing in technology. They can take a harder line on rent collection and resident behavior.</p> <p>NYCHA buildings clean up well under good private managers and new employees, as anyone who has visited the RAD Ocean Bay project can attest. By shifting so many apartments to the private section, moreover, private managers will relieve NYCHA of billions in unfunded capital needs, and of the management of most of its smaller developments, allowing remaining NYCHA staff to focus on the larger projects in its portfolio. The city, of course, will not face a massive bill for renovation. There is an undeniable political payoff as well: future problems at these complexes will no longer be a mayoral liability.</p> <p>Many residents, local politicians, employees, and activists are leery of NYCHA “privatization.” Indeed, the NYCHA 2.0 plan, promised by Mayor de Blasio by the end of the year, needs to build in solid protections for current NYCHA residents, encourage non-profit participation in private management, and spell out the long-term fate of these apartments as residents come and go. Given the dominance of the private sector in federal policy, and the current balance of power in Washington, those who believe in purely public housing -- the old NYCHA -- will have difficulty developing an alternative and equally beneficial plan. The ball is in their court as the NYCHA 2.0 plan develops.</p> <p>***<br />Nicholas Dagen Bloom, Ph.D. is a professor at New York Institute of Technology and the author of <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Nicholas-Dagen-Bloom/e/B001H6NWDI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">many books</a>.</p> <p>

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What's The [Data] Point? 90%, with NYCHA Interim Chair Stan Brezenoff 2018-10-19T04:00:00+00:00 2018-10-19T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/city/8005-what-s-the-data-point-90-with-nycha-interim-chair-stan-brezenoff Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 56</strong><strong> -- 90%, with NYCHA Interim Chair Stan Brezenoff [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/sb_headshot.png" alt="Stan Brezenoff" width="160" height="162" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" /></p> <p>90% is the share of NYCHA units CBC estimates may not be cost effect to repair by 2027 under the current trajectory of deterioration. NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Stan Brezenoff joined CBC to discuss the policy and funding challenges facing NYCHA, and how he plans to tackle key areas in desperate need of improvement.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/516735492&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="170" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/whats-the-data-point.jpg" alt="whats the data point" width="600" height="600" /></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What's The [Data] Point? Episode 56</strong><strong> -- 90%, with NYCHA Interim Chair Stan Brezenoff [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/sb_headshot.png" alt="Stan Brezenoff" width="160" height="162" style="margin-right: 10px; float: left;" /></p> <p>90% is the share of NYCHA units CBC estimates may not be cost effect to repair by 2027 under the current trajectory of deterioration. NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Stan Brezenoff joined CBC to discuss the policy and funding challenges facing NYCHA, and how he plans to tackle key areas in desperate need of improvement.</p> <p>Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think: Ben Max of GG (<a href="https://twitter.com/TweetBenMax" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">@TweetBenMax</a>), Maria Doulis of CBC (<a href="https://twitter.com/MariaDoulis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@MariaDoulis</a>). Listen below or download wherever you get your podcasts!</p> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/516735492&amp;color=%23ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="170" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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