Community Voices Heard Statement on the Mayor’s Proposed FY 2023 Executive Budget and Public Housing
Updated: Jan 9
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2022
NEW YORK, NY – Mayor Adams’ proposed executive fiscal year 2023 budget for New York City has abandoned the city’s responsibility for the lives of 400,000 public housing residents by investing in privatization. Rather than investing resources to make capital improvements to public housing developments most in need, the City has signaled its commitment to increased privatization, turning over public housing to profit-motivated developers. This comes during a housing crisis when the city needs public, affordable housing more than ever.
For years, CVH’s members living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public housing have raised alarms about the dire conditions and negligence of public housing by local, state, and federal elected officials. NYCHA is the largest source of affordable housing in New York City, providing housing to nearly 400,000 low-and moderate-income city residents in 302 public housing developments. Yet, most NYCHA residents continue to live in unacceptable and unsafe conditions while elected officials do nothing.
The Mayor’s proposed FY2023 budget continues years of disinvestment, investing little beyond capital money already committed, and instead investing $1.2 Billion dollars toward more privatization through the PACT program. Instead of devoting these billions toward urgently needed repairs, Mayor Adams is subsidizing private takeover of public housing.
Stop the Privatization of Public Housing
The New York City Housing Authority has already committed to converting 62,000 units to private management through the PACT program. Reports from residents in development that have or are currently being converted through PACT reveal insufficient engagement of residents, confusion, and a loss of resident rights.
CVH Member Maria Pacheco recently testified to the City Council that:
“[R]esidents [are] feeling confused and scared. I am hearing a lot of negative comments from residents in my building. Some people say that they are going to be pushed out, others think the rents are going to go up. They put materials on our door but that is it. Residents don’t read this, and the materials are not easy to understand so tenants are still confused.”
As the president of her resident’s association, Maria said that, “NYCHA also puts all of the burden of sharing information on the tenant association. I have been asked to tell each resident about the plans for RAD and this is too much for me to do.”
She urged the City Council to “[M]ake sure that you protect residents. Residents need all the information and support they can have. And they need to have decision making power about RAD/PACT.”
Poor Living Conditions Impact NYCHA Residents’ Health and Mental Health
The impact of poor housing conditions reverberate far beyond the walls of public housing. In a study released in 2020, CVH and the Regional Plan Association found that eighty-one percent of residents living in five public housing complexes across the Rockaway peninsula are in desperate need of immediate repairs to their apartments. Our analysis found:
Eighty one percent of residents living in five public housing complexes across the Rockaway peninsula are in desperate need of immediate repairs to their apartments.
More than half of the 700-plus people surveyed need bathroom repairs and 45 percent need kitchen repairs.
One third of those surveyed say their living conditions are directly affecting their mental health — intensifying problems like stress and depression.
A quarter of respondents say issues like mold affect their physical health — triggering ailments like asthma, and chronic fatigue.
These findings underscore the lived experience of CVH members: the physical and mental health consequences of poor housing conditions impact residents’ employment, children’s schooling, and increase healthcare needs. According to the Regional Plan Association, NYCHA residents hold more than 137,000 jobs, including more than 30,000 in the Health Care sector alone. Residents spend more than $2 billion dollars a year, much of it supporting local businesses, and own hundreds of local businesses themselves. The abhorrent conditions affect dozens of neighborhoods and the economy of our entire city.
Prioritizing Resident Input and Control will Increase Accountability
Residents have a right to management that is punctual, respectful, and responsive. Increasing resident input and control would increase accountability for quality and timely completion of repairs and prioritization of need.
CVH’s joint report with the Regional Planning Association found that 39 percent of residents reported that management had closed out a ticket due to a resident not being home, when they were in fact home. Furthermore, due to constrained windows of availability, residents often have to take off work or cancel other obligations in order to be home and give access for repairs. NYCHA must institute a process of independently verifying with the resident when a ticket is closed.
The Mayor and City Council Must Preserve Public Housing with Increase Funding for Capital Repairs
CVH calls upon the Mayor and City Council to increase funding for capital repairs in NYCHA by $2.5 billion in the FY2023 budget. Without investment in capital repairs, conditions at NYCHA will continue to deteriorate, impacting the health, safety, and welfare of hundreds of thousands New York City families, and we will lose public housing to profit-driven, private companies. The crisis in NYCHA is a crisis for New York City. Privatization is not the solution.
Community Voices Heard (CVH) is a member-led, multi-racial organization principally composed of women of color and low-income families in New York State. CVH tackles tough issues and builds power to secure racial, social and economic justice for all New Yorkers. Through grassroots organizing, leadership development, policy changes, and creating new models of direct democracy CVH is creating a truly equitable New York State. We are the largest Black-led organizing institution in New York State.