September 25, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Comptroller Scott M. Stringer called for the projected surpluses from the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to be directed specifically toward critically needed repairs at New York City Housing Authority properties, where conditions have deteriorated significantly in recent years.
“The to-do list at NYCHA is long and getting longer, from broken windows and peeling paint, to faulty heaters and leaking roofs,” Stringer said. “As federal disinvestment continues to chip away at NYCHA’s already stressed budget, the Federal, State and City governments must find new revenue streams for public housing, and use those dollars to help achieve a state of good repair at all NYCHA facilities.”
Based on projected revenue flows, the Comptroller’s office estimates that the BPCA will generate some $400 million in surplus funds over approximately 10 years, with the bulk of the new receipts starting in fiscal year 2016. Stringer’s call for targeting the BPCA funds explicitly at NYCHA’s urgent needs comes on the heels of new data showing that conditions at NYCHA are deteriorating more rapidly than at market-rent or rent-stabilized buildings.
A recent report from the Comptroller’s Office, “How New York Lives: An Analysis of the City’s Housing Maintenance Conditions,” found the following:
In 2011, 79 percent of NYCHA apartments had at least one deficiency, up from 60 percent in 2002.
The number of broken or missing windows in NYCHA housing surged by 945 percent from 2005 to 2011.
Heating system breakdowns in public housing increased by more than 72 percent from 2008 to 2011, with an estimated 43,000 reported breakdowns observed in that final year.
In a letter to the Mayor and Battery Park City Authority, Stringer recommended that the estimated $400 million in BPCA dollars be dedicated to major capital repairs at NYCHA facilities, with the understanding that if additional surplus funds are generated, every effort should be made to direct those dollars to more of NYCHA’s capital needs. The Comptroller recommended the funds be tracked to ensure that they supplement, not supplant, current revenue sources, and that they are expended in a manner that is equitable and efficient to address the most pressing needs of NYCHA residents.