FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010
SCHUMER REVEALS: PRESIDENT OBAMA'S BUDGET INCLUDES UP TO $75 MILLION YEARLY IN FEDERAL FUNDING FOR CASH-STRAPPED NYCHA HOUSING BUT LEGISLATURE MUST RACE THE CLOCK TO PASS ENABLING LEGISLATION BY MARCH 17th
Monserrate Vacancy Requires Bi-Partisan Senate Support to Avoid Losing This Annual Revenue Stream Vital to Public Housing in New York - Schumer Calls for Bi-Partisan Effort to Pass Bill ASAP; Assembly and Senate Leaders Have Indicated Support, But Bi-partisan Support is Key
Funding Would Cover the Cost to Federalize 13,000 Units of NYCHA Housing that Are in Dire Need of Repair and Upgrade - NYCHA Plan Would Make 21 Buildings Eligible for Millions in Federal Support included in New Budget
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer pledged his support for the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) effort to federalize public housing units previously owned by the State and City and said that there is up to $75 million in federal aid included in the new Obama Administration federal budget to support 13,000 NYCHA housing units covered by the plan if New York State Senate and Assembly pass legislation that is required for NYCHA to complete these efforts. Since 1995, NYCHA has undertaken the ownership, management and maintenance of these units as public housing by sharing the federal funding it receives for other public housing units, causing an annual structural deficit in NYCHA’s budget. By making these units eligible for federal funding, NYCHA will be able to address a significant portion of this annual deficit and ensure that all NYCHA-operated developments are staffed and maintained adequately to properly serve tens of thousands of residents.
“Federalizing these public housing units will ensure that NYCHA developments are properly maintained and that thousands of tenants get the quality housing they need and deserve,” Schumer said. “NYCHA has an outstanding opportunity here to ensure 13,000 units become eligible for federal funding, but the New York State legislature must step up to the plate and pass legislation to make this possible. It is my hope that the legislature does the right thing and these 13,000 units can get the funding they ought to have.”
Schumer fought to secure up to $75 million in additional operating subsidy for NYCHA in the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget, which would allow NYCHA to federalize approximately 13,000 units. Schumer believes that this is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for NYCHA to ensure that these units become eligible for federal funding.
However, in order for NYCHA to actually receive the additional funding, the New York State legislature must pass legislation permitting NYCHA to transfer the debt attached to the units NYCHA seeks to federalize to a new entity formed by NYCHA for the purpose of acquiring the federalized units. This legislation must be passed by early March to give NYCHA adequate time to submit their application by the March 17, 2010 deadline required under federal law.
The federal money would help NYCHA implement a bold new initiative to federalize 21 housing units across the city. Schumer said these 21 units were built by the city or the state but receive no financial support from the federal government with support from the city and state having dried up in recent years. The city and the state have not been much help either: Neither regularly contributes operating money to keep the 21 sites afloat.
NYCHA has now developed a plan to “federalize” the 21 developments and put the country’s biggest public housing authority on a more solid financial footing. The plan calls for the 21 sites to be added to the federal public housing roster through a provision that Schumer fought to have included in the economic stimulus package Congress passed earlier this year. The agency seeks to federalize the city and state developments by renovating them using stimulus funds as well as private money, in what it is calling a “mixed-finance modernization.”
Schumer said the money included in the President’s budget, released earlier this month, is part of a national program to help municipal housing authorities federalize units that don’t currently receive enough government support. Schumer said the national program is designed specifically for initiatives like NYCHA’s with New York in-line to receive up to $75 million.