NYCHA’s Fed Monitor issued $32 million in cash, reforms were not implemented

The federal monitor, installed to overhaul the city’s embattled housing agency, has spent at least $32 million so far — and still hasn’t ordered labor contract overhauls and other key reforms that could stabilize the cash-strapped agency, like a new report revealed.

The federal government selected Bart Schwartz and his company Guidepost Solutions to lead the oversight effort three years ago, as part of a settlement with City Hall that put the Big Apple in charge of the watchdog’s tab.

“[T]The Monitor missed an opportunity to identify and advocate for regulatory or labor practice changes that would allow NYCHA to make its operations more efficient,” the Citizens Budget Commission wrote in an analysis released this week.

Cost cutting and efficiency gains are key elements for the agency, the CBC said, because it has run out of money after decades of state and federal budget cuts.

For example, the federal government allocates about $1,000 more per month to private landlords to operate an apartment than public housing companies like NYCHA. Officials estimate that New York’s public housing needs at least $40 billion to restore its nearly 170,000 homes to good condition.

NYCHA complex called Whitman Houses
Private landlords are paid around $1,000 more per month to operate an apartment than public housing companies.
Gregory P. Mango

In recent days, City Hall launched a last-minute bid to get Albany state lawmakers to approve plans that would reorganize NYCHA into two separate entities, a transition that has left the Private Landlord Funds Agency in question would ask.

Inadequate funding coupled with scandalous mismanagement in recent years — including child lead poisoning, toadstool and vermin infestations, and cost overruns — created such poor living conditions that federal prosecutors sued City Hall.

This prompted a 2019 settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which installed the monitor.

Schwartz makes up to $600 an hour under Guidepost’s contract with the city, according to a copy of his contract previously obtained by The Post.

That contract also requires Schwartz to publicly release a detailed copy of his budget, which CBC says he hasn’t done.

The CBC report found that Monitor’s efforts at NYCHA to date have made the agency slightly more responsive, but that renters of public housing are three times more likely to have serious problems with their apartments than New Yorkers who live in privately owned buildings.

It warns that unless NYCHA receives new funding while improving its management and efficiency, these conditions are likely to remain in place.

Guidepost and Schwartz did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/27/nychas-fed-monitor-spent-32m-in-city-cash-reforms-not-done/ NYCHA’s Fed Monitor issued $32 million in cash, reforms were not implemented

JACLYN DIAZ

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