Environment and Energy, Features, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, New York

NYS Governor Signs NYCHA Emergency Order

April 3, 2018

By Stephanie West

Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced an additional $250 million in emergency state resources to address the ongoing health and public safety crises faced by 400,000 New York City Housing Authority tenants. 
In total, the state’s commitment over the past several years is now $550 million. The

Governor signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for NYCHA complexes in all five boroughs. The Governor believes this action is necessary in order to expedite necessary repairs, upgrades, and construction, as well as address lead paint, mold, and other harmful environmental and safety hazards.

“At its inception, NYCHA addressed a dire public housing crisis by offering shelter and stability to New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs, but years of mismanagement and neglect have left NYCHA residents with some of the worst living conditions I have ever witnessed,” Governor Cuomo said. “After seeing how these families are forced to live their lives every single day, I made a pledge to the people of New York that

I would not sign the budget unless funding was dedicated to address the human tragedy that is NYCHA housing. We are delivering on that promise by providing the funding necessary to get the work done that will allow these families the opportunity to lead healthier lives and once again be proud of the place they call home.”
In accordance with the executive order, an independent emergency manager is to be selected within 60 days to oversee the development and completion of a comprehensive emergency remediation plan. Due to the inability of NYCHA and New York City to make the required updates and repairs to Authority properties in a timely manner, the Governor has called for the New York City Mayor, the Speaker of the

New York City Council, on behalf of the council, and the president of the NYCHA Citywide Council of Presidents to unanimously select an independent manager to oversee the necessary remediation within 60 days of the executive order. In the event that the Mayor, Speaker and CCOP president are unable to make a selection within 60 days, the Comptroller of New York City shall consult with the parties to make a selection within 14 days. Once selected, the manager must select an independent contractor within 30 days.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said, “The current conditions at NYCHA buildings are nothing short of deplorable. This $250 million investment is exactly the support the families in NYCHA buildings need to secure the heat and hot water that they have gone weeks without and to remove the decades-old mold and lead paint that they have suffered with for far too long. No one deserves to live like this.”

The construction projects will be expedited and cost less through design/build authorization. The design/build authorization for projects required to repair and upgrade NYCHA units will comply with State Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises measures and will include employment opportunities for NYCHA tenants consistent with Federal Section 3 requirements.

Although the state has no legal obligation to fund NYCHA, it has already committed a record $300 million to the Authority. This additional state commitment of $250 million comes after tenants, state and local legislators, as well as health and safety experts raised grave concerns regarding the inhumane and unlivable conditions at NYCHA buildings. In recent weeks, the Governor has toured several NYCHA units, experiencing first-hand and working to expose these deplorable conditions to the people of New York.

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said, “We have heard horror story after horror story from New York City residents living in poor conditions at NYCHA housing. The $250 million dollars approved in the State budget will go a long way to remedy some of these conditions.”

Chronic mismanagement and neglect has led to widespread disrepair in NYCHA buildings, including unabated lead paint, mold, and lack of heat and hot water throughout the winter months. City officials determined that it would take four years to replace the failing boilers, leaving tenants without heat and hot water for an unreasonable amount of time. In addition, under the Governor’s direction, the Department of

Health conducted a formal investigation into NYCHA for health and safety hazards, which uncovered the gravity of the public health risks. The determinations of the Department’s findings, summarized in a report to the Governor, indicate that NYCHA-owned properties may present an imminent threat to the health and safety of over 400,000 residents living in these properties, especially children.

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said, “The conditions plaguing NYCHA developments are horrific — and our audits over the last four years have told the story of the challenges New Yorkers face in their own homes. I applaud the Governor for providing record funding for repairs that will help alleviate problems caused by a generation of mismanagement. Residents deserve better, and this investment will support critical improvements to raise quality of life for those living in NYCHA apartments.”

April 3, 2018

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