Today Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce his plan to save the New York City Housing Authority from its financial problems and add to his goal of creating and preserving 120,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade. A former city official who oversaw NYCHA told the NY Times, "Some of the [initiatives[ are not going to be popular. But if they’re going to provide subsidized housing, these are the kinds of steps they need to take."
The plan includes selling off unused land on NYCHA property to developers, which is similar to a plan that de Blasio criticized when Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced it in 2013.
Notably, in early 2014, the NY Times editorial board suggested that de Blasio consider that idea, given the multi-billion dollar deficit (anywhere from $6-13 billion over the next five years) the agency faces.
Last December NYCHA announced that it would sell a stake of some of its buildings to developers in exchange for $250 million in revenue and $100 million in renovations.
The NY Times was given advance details about the new plan:
A proposal to lease land within a yet to be announced number of housing complexes to developers is expected to generate $500 million over 10 years, while also helping to create affordable housing...
[Bloomberg's] plan, though, required that only 20 percent of the units be affordable to lower-income households and raised fears among residents that it could lead to the eventual privatization of public housing buildings. In the proposal’s current iteration, half of the rental units in new buildings would charge market rates and the other half would charge rents affordable to low-income households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income, officials said.
Separately, the Housing Authority would give developers land, in exchange for $200 million in fees over 10 years, to build 10,000 low-rent apartments starting at three housing projects — Van Dyke and Ingersoll in Brooklyn and Mill Brook in the Bronx. The units will count toward the mayor’s goal of 80,000 new affordable units over a decade, officials said.
Other components of the plan:
- Increase the amount of rent collected from tenants (and using the proceeds to fix the notoriously crumbling buildings);
- Charging more for parking spaces (current parking is $300/year; tenants will get first crack at spaces for $150/month, and then parking spaces will be at market-rate to everyone else);
- "[M]oving 1,000 Nycha administrative and clerical employees — out of a total work force of 11,200 — to other city agencies that would absorb their cost of $90 million a year. Some employees would be offered incentives to retire," reports the Times; and
- Closing the NYCHA call center, and directing all complaints to 311.
NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye told the Daily News, "We project with the execution of this plan, by the end of 2017 NYCHA would be in the black." And Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said, "It's absolutely doable. I cannot stress enough that this administration sees the Housing Authority as integral to the affordable housing strategy."
De Blasio has a press conference "related to NYCHA" for 2 p.m. today.