NYCHA’s Crisis: A Matter for All New Yorkers

In New York City, it’s no secret that in addition to the transit system crisis, we also face a major dilemma in providing healthy and safe affordable housing for hundreds of thousands of residents. Decades of neglect and underinvestment by federal, state and local government have led to the current state of The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). And while many of us recognize the problem facing NYCHA on a humanitarian level, there is far less understanding of how the decline of this important part of the City’s housing stock and public infrastructure will impact all New Yorkers – whether they live in NYCHA housing or not.

Today, Regional Plan Association has released a report entitled, “NYCHA’S Crisis: A Matter for All New Yorkers”, that finds what might happen if the City were to lose a modest 10 percent of NYCHA units.

Here are a few key findings from the report:

  • NYCHA residents play a critical role in New York City’s economy, holding jobs at roughly the same rate as the population as a whole and representing a disproportionate percentage of the workforce in field like education, healthcare, transportation and manufacturing. NYCHA residents are also entrepreneurs, owning hundreds of businesses themselves.
  • During Superstorm Sandy, 210 NYCHA buildings in 33 separate developments were damaged, with an estimated $3 billion resulting in damages. In 2050, 506 NYCHA buildings are projected to be within the 100-year floodplain, with almost a quarter of all units vulnerable to flooding
  • If New York City was to lose 10 percent of NYCHA housing, this loss would send nearly 40,000 people searching for new homes. This in turn would create a huge ripple effect on the availability of affordable housing, the capacity of emergency shelters and the businesses that depend on the workers who live in low and moderate income housing.

In addition to its report findings, RPA will also form a working group comprised of NYCHA residents, housing advocates, finance and policy experts and academics to work on more research to produce ideas for concrete solutions. All New Yorkers have a stake in the success of NYCHA. Repairing our public housing will not only need an incredible amount of funding, but it will also need reforms to make sure this results in a true turnaround and significantly improved conditions for tenants.


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