Municipal Government

Chronic Federal Funding Gap Hinders NYC Public Housing

August 28, 2014
By Marc Bussanich

Harlem, NY—Assemblyman Keith Wright was here on Wednesday with Mayor Bill de Blasio at the Lincoln Houses public housing complex where the Mayor announced the removal of 30,000 feet of unused scaffolding in order to reduce crime. The assemblyman said the city needs about $1 billion to bolster the city housing authority’s capital and operating needs.

The New York City Housing Authority adopted its 2014-2018 operating and capital plan in December 2013 where it notes that over the long term federal appropriations have been falling. 

According to the authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $3.96 billion national appropriation in 2012 was nearly $1 billion short of eligibility, thereby limiting the amount of federal dollars going to NYCHA and consequently precluding the authority from multi-year expenditure planning.

In the accompanying video interview, Assemblyman Wright said public housing in New York City needs approximately $1 billion to fund ongoing capital and operating needs.

“I would venture to say it’s close to a $1 billion, if not more. When it [public housing] was built, it was some of our best housing stock and certainly needs to be preserved. That’s something that I’m committed to doing and I think if we can get a big infusion of capital it would do nothing but help,” said Assemblyman Wright.

He noted that the federal government has to recommit to funding public housing to avoid further neglect.

“The neglect has been over a generation. Public housing hasn’t received the money that it is due because of the various lack of commitment that we have especially in the federal government toward residents of public housing throughout this nation,” Wright said.    

Indeed, the National Council of State Housing Agencies, an affordable housing advocacy group, wrote back in June that the House of Representatives passed its FY 2015 $52.03 billion HUD bill with significant cuts to federal housing programs and initiatives.

According to NCSHA, the House’s bill is $7.8 billion less than President Barak Obama’s Budget request, and that “program funding is effectively $1.8 billion less than the FY 2014 enacted level due to a decrease in receipts available from the FHA [Federal Housing Administration] to offset spending in the bill.”

@marcbuss marc@laborpress.org

August 28, 2014

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