Yesterday, the New School held a forum to discuss how New York City will save its public housing. The New York City Housing Authority, which is the city's primary sources of affordable housing to 400,000 residents, has an annual shortfall of $225 million.
The Daily News reports that Sean Moss, the Regional Director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the NY/NJ region, offered a suggestion that "prompted shocked murmurs." His idea: Sell some of the Housing Authority's buildings in expensive neighborhoods. "It may displace some people, and that is a concern...That is not necessarily a bad thing if you can create more housing with that. Instead of having 300 units [in a project], maybe there is a way to increase that if they are able to...sell those assets so that you can create more housing." There are some NYCHA developments in neighborhoods full of new, luxury development, but would that mean lower-income families would be shifted more remote places?
Some others on the panel were more cautious. Teamsters Local 237 president Gregory Floyd said, "We have something that's working. We would like this to be improved." And City Council member Rosie Mendez suggested the city help out by not charging the NYCHA for "police services, water, trash pickup and senior programs."
Last year, NYCHA chairman Tino Hernandez proposed a seven-point "Plan to Preserver Public Housing," which included a limited rent increase and use of Section 8 funding to support operations in 8,400 units. You can read it here (PDF).