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In Major Announcement & Standing With Broad Coalition Of Housing Advocates, Tenants & Electeds, Schumer Unveils Plan To Push For $80+ Billion Dollar Investment In Public Housing; NYCHA Would See Billions Of Long-Deferred & Badly-Needed Fed Funds

NYCHA Repair Backlog ALONE Is Upwards Of $40B & Counting; Schumer Says No More Delay, No More Can-Kicking, No More Neglect; Action NOW Via Wide Plan To Invest In Infrastructure

Schumer: Fund NYCHA Now!

In a major announcement alongside a broad collation of housing advocates, tenants, and electeds, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, today, unveiled a push for at least an $80 billion dollar investment in federal public housing funds via the just-proposed American Jobs Plan. Schumer said after decades of disinvestment, bad management and federal neglect, NYCHA and all its residents face a now-or-never moment to secure critically-needed investments via the American Jobs Plan.

Schumer said the administration’s plan calls for $40 billion dollars for the whole nation—but that number is just not enough given the mammoth needs of public housing properties across the country, particularly here in New York. Schumer said he is going to fight to at least double that proposal to $80 billion dollars as he detailed NYCHA’s repair backlog, years of can-kicking, Republican-led federal disinvestment and delays that have left tenants frustrated.

“For far too long, our public housing infrastructure needs have been left unaddressed, left to get worse, and have brought serious harm to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Lead in the bodies of our children. Toxic mold in the lungs of our friends and neighbors. Leaky roofs. Dilapidated playgrounds. Non-working elevators. Unsafe environments. Polluting and expensive boilers and heating systems. The maddening list goes on and on.”

“However you want to put it: public housing residents, and NYCHA residents in particular, are in need of some real help, and this, right now, is a now-or-never moment. We must repair, upgrade and transform our public housing so it is both livable and sustainable,” Schumer added.

“I have long called for public housing to be part of our national conversation on infrastructure, and today, we are standing united with community leaders and NYCHA families to urge the administration to double the funding for public housing as part of our national infrastructure package,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Traditionally, we think of infrastructure as roads, bridges and tunnels, but public housing also has a critical role to play in how we invest in families. If we are truly to build back better, we simply cannot afford to leave vulnerable communities - our communities behind.”

"The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged this country, shuttering small businesses, leaving millions of Americans without employment, and deepening the affordable housing crisis. For many Americans, these challenges existed before the pandemic, particularly in Public Housing developments. Public Housing residents deserve to live in safe, humane and dignified conditions. That is not presently the case, given the billions of dollars of unmet maintenance and repair needs that have persisted for years. Together with Leader Schumer and the Biden administration, House Democrats are working hard to change those conditions by fighting for at least $80 billion in funding for public housing upgrades and modernization. We will not rest until we get this done,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08).

“As a product of NYCHA, the subject of public and affordable housing is deeply personal to me,” said Rep. Torres. "Investing in and repairing public housing means investing in hard working families. While the American Jobs Plan proposes to invest $40 billion in public housing, that simply is not enough and will not cover all the capital repairs needed in public housing nationwide. We need to double that commitment in order to address the public housing repair backlog. Together with my House and Senate colleagues we will continue to push the Biden Administration to make significant investments in NYCHA and public housing authorities across the country.”

“A once in a generation infrastructure plan must address the needs of residents living in NYCHA and all public housing authorities nationwide,” said Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “While I appreciate President Biden’s commitment of $40 billion to the Public Housing Capital Fund in his American Jobs Plan, it is a minimal investment that doesn’t meet the capital needs of NYCHA or other public housing authorities around the country. NYCHA residents suffer from a consistent lack of hot water, insufficient heat during the winter months, rodent and insect infestations, broken elevators, and widespread and recurring lead and mold problems. That is why I am proud to stand with Senator Schumer in demanding at least $80 billion in funding to invest in public housing in this plan.”

“This is about more than just money, I see the lives that are impacted and affected. I see the young people who are dealing with asthma induced by environmental racism. I see our seniors who live in fear. I see my members whose lives are cut short, prematurely because of this disinvestment. But today, I am grateful to stand with Senator Chuck Schumer, once again providing leadership, to stand with all of our elected officials, all of our advocates today to unite and to join our voices as Metro IAF comes and says ‘we will win this fight,’” said Rev. David K. Brawley of Metro IAF and St. Paul Community Baptist Church.

“Public Housing Neighborhoods have been overlooked and underserved for far too long. I’m so glad to stand with Senator Schumer to demand more money for residents of Public Housing. For most residents of public housing life can be a living hell. With a 40 Billion dollar capital deficit looming help is not a request it’s a demand. I implore President Biden to increase funding for Public Housing nationally,” said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO of Urban Upbound.

Schumer explained that on March 31st, The Biden Administration unveiled the big and bold American Job Plan, which calls for ‘reimagining and rebuilding’ a new economy. Included in the plan, was a $40 billion dollar investment in public housing capital needs. The White House acknowledged the need to address longstanding public housing capital needs, a long fought effort of Schumer’s. Also acknowledged was “years of disinvestment’ that has “left our public housing in disrepair.”

The American Jobs Plan called on Congress to invest $40 billion to improve the infrastructure of the public housing system in America. The funding “will address critical life-safety concerns, mitigate imminent hazards to residents, and undertake energy efficiency measures which will significantly reduce ongoing operating expenses. The improvements will disproportionately benefit women, people of color, and people with disabilities.”

Schumer, today, applauded the push and said $40 billion is ‘not chump change,’ but the Senator made the case to at least double the investment, using NYCHA as backdrop to make the case.

“I think that we all agree that when we honestly assess the need to create a livable and sustainable NYCHA, it’s simply not enough. It’s not enough to meet the needs of the moment and it’s not enough to bring out the change that is so desperately needed,” Schumer said. “So, with the help of my fellow elected leaders in New York — as well as a deep community of tenant leaders, housing groups, religious organizations and more — I am announcing today that one of my number one priorities in any infrastructure package is to double down on the President’s original proposal and fight for at least $80 billion in new funds to meet the capital repairs needs of Public Housing Agencies across the country, especially those of NYCHA.”

Schumer explained that NYCHA has been suffering from years of repair and upkeep backlog work orders. There are four categories of these work orders, according to the city, each with their own delays due, in part, to a lack of funds.

  • Corrective Maintenance Work Orders – all resident service requests result in ‘Corrective Maintenance Work Orders’ and they can also be created by NYCHA staff and private contractors who manage some NYCHA developments.  They constitute the vast majority of NYCHA Work Orders.
  • Inspection Work Orders – created to prompt inspections of various types including apartments, boilers, elevators, fire extinguishers, and window guards.
  • Preventive Maintenance Work Orders – created for routine maintenance issues such as elevators and heating equipment.
  • Violation Work Orders – created in connection with summonses and violation notices issued by various government entities such as the Fire Department (FDNY), the Department of Buildings (DOB), and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

Schumer said NYCHA’s repair backlog, alone, is more than $40 billion dollars and counting, and that a federal plan coupled with serious investment is the only way to address the systemic problem. In December of 2020, Schumer asked then-Rep. Marcia Fudge, who now oversees HUD, to prioritize woefully underfunded NYCHA. “It will be more critical than ever that the housing programs that so many communities rely on are able to provide funding effectively,” Schumer told Fudge.

When it comes to getting the work done, Schumer explained, “We need to put our great union workers from Teamster 237 and DC 37 and the building trades to work executing and accomplishing this transformation of NYCHA.”

More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 326 public housing developments across the City’s five boroughs.