Adams makes a last-minute push to clear Albany for NYCHA overhaul

Mayor Eric Adams is making a last-minute push to persuade Albany state lawmakers to back plans to restructure the Big Apple’s scandal-ridden public housing agency — changes officials say are needed to save billions Free up federal funds for necessary repairs.

The agency needs an estimated $40 billion to restore its homes to good condition as a toxic combination of aging complexes, decades of state and federal funding cuts, and rampant mismanagement in the city has brought New York’s biggest landlord to the brink .

“Let’s get it across the finish line so we can end years of neglect with NYCHA and continue kicking the can on the street,” Hizzoner said during a rally outside of the Polo Grounds Towers in Harlem.

“If you lived in a luxury condominium somewhere, you wouldn’t have these conditions,” he added.

The agency has been operating since 2019 under a partial federal takeover after years of damning news reports revealed officials had left lead-poisoned children in toxic homes, failed to treat mold and bug infestations, or completed basic repairs.

Mayor Eric Adams called on Albany state lawmakers at a rally in Harlem on May 23, 2022 to restructure the New York City Housing Authority.
Mayor Eric Adams called on Albany state lawmakers at a rally in Harlem on May 23, 2022 to restructure the New York City Housing Authority.
Jacob Messerschmidt
Adams urged Albany to stop that "years of neglect" in NYCHA buildings.
Adams urged Albany to end the “years of neglect” in NYCHA buildings.
Jacob Messerschmidt

NYCHA’s plan would essentially split the agency into two entities: a city agency providing rental services and repairs to the estimated half million New Yorkers who call public housing home; and a city-owned corporation dubbed the “Trust” that would own the Big Apple’s 300+ public housing projects and the land beneath them.

The reorganization would allow NYCHA to qualify for federal funds currently reserved for businesses and other landlords, known as Section 8, and potentially provide an additional $1,000 per unit for much-needed repairs and upgrades, experts say.

NYCHA needs an estimated $40 billion for repairs.
NYCHA needs an estimated $40 billion for repairs.
Jacob Messerschmidt

That’s because, for decades, Congress has allocated far more per-unit funds to provide vouchers for privately operated housing than for public housing.

The legislation, sponsored by State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) and Rep. Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), would allow NYCHA to initially place 25,000 homes in the new public trust.

NYCHA’s restructuring requires the approval of Albany state legislatures, who are currently scheduled to conclude their annual session on June 2.

Despite the urgency, Adams’ rally on Monday was the first to push ahead with NYCHA’s long-proposed overhaul since he took office in January.

The timing raised new questions about the dysfunctional operation of Albany City Hall and the larger lobbying strategy Adams fended off during the Harlem press conference.

“I have won. I know Albany,’ he replied. “Everything will be taken care of up there in the last week.”

Sources told the Post that Adams brought up the NYCHA overhaul during recent calls with state lawmakers and during his trip to Albany last week.

The trust is similar to another conversion program that then-Mayor Bill de Blasio decided on in 2018 after years of delay, in which NYCHA entered into public-private partnerships with developers to manage complexes as another way to access Section 8 access.

NYCHA's plan would split the agency into one city-run agency and one "trust."
NYCHA’s plan would split the agency into a city agency and a “trust.”
Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
The reorganization would allow NYCHA to qualify for Section 8 federal funding.
The reorganization would allow NYCHA to qualify for Section 8 federal funding.
Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

At the time, officials hoped those conversions would fund $13 billion in repairs over 10 years — enough to repair about 62,000 units, a third of NYCHA. So far, officials have converted about 15,000 units.

They also hoped to raise another $3 billion by selling unused development agencies — known as air rights — to private developers and facilitating the construction of new housing at market rates on empty or underutilized lots owned by NYCHA, such as parking lots and playgrounds.

City Hall’s first major attempt at a fill-in project at the Chelsea Houses on Manhattan’s West Side, however, met with significant opposition from tenants and was eventually abandoned.

Even if NYCHA’s projections come true, the agency would still need at least another $16 billion for its repairs, a gap officials hope the trust can fill.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/23/adams-makes-last-minute-push-to-get-albany-ok-for-nycha-overhaul/ Adams makes a last-minute push to clear Albany for NYCHA overhaul

JACLYN DIAZ

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