Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen (pictured) today issued a letter to New York State Budget Director Robert Mujicia urging the Governor to release the $250 million dedicated in the State’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget. The City outlined a list of priority projects that would improve heat and hot water systems at 14 NYCHA developments from Harlem to Hollis where 32,000 resident live. The City also urged the release of $200 million allocated to NYCHA but not yet spent from last year’s State budget.
The letter is below and attached.
April 2, 2018
Budget Director Robert Mujica
NYS Division of the Budget
Albany NY, 12224
Dear Budget Director Mujica,
Improving the lives of people living in public housing is the responsibility of every level of government—City, State and federal.
The State budget passed on Friday evening allocated a further $250 million to the New York City Housing Authority. Public housing tenants deserve that funding to be quickly applied to NYCHA’s most pressing needs. And that means this funding cannot be held hostage to the same delays and dynamics as in previous years.
NYCHA has developed a list of priority projects—replacing 63 poorly rated boilers and decoupling heat and hot water in 14 developments—on which it would spend $250 million provided by the State. These projects represent the heating plants most in need of replacement—the most urgent following those previously funded by HUD, NYCHA’s FEMA grant, the City’s $200 million announced in January (for which we have already begun design work) and last year’s State allocation. The oldest heating plant on this list is 54 years old. All boilers on the list are rated Level 4 or 5—meaning they face chronic outages and there is little or no means of replacing individual parts as they fail. More than 32,000 residents live in these developments.
It is critical we begin design work this spring. With design-build authority granted to NYCHA in the State budget, combined with recent reforms across City agencies, we can deliver these projects in 18 to 24 months—an aggressive timeframe. The City has already initiated the required approval process with HUD. But the clock on actual design work can only begin once the State has released funding.
NYCHA tenants cannot afford business as usual.
It has been 357 days since the State allocated $200 million in its Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Not a dollar of that funding has yet been delivered to NYCHA’s tenants. The clock on those repairs–$100 million for elevator replacement and $100 million to replace boilers at 10 developments—has not even begun. It is time for the State to fulfill its promises and deliver that funding.
It has been 1076 days since the State allocated $100 million in it Fiscal Year 2016 for security and quality of life projects at NYCHA, to be spent and administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. To date—three years later—fewer than 25 percent of those projects have been completed.
NYCHA’s spending on capital projects has averaged approximately $580 million annually over the past four years. All told, we have put more than $2.3 billion in capital to work for our residents under this administration. Just as NYCHA has done with its FEMA work, it would contract with one or more private general contractors to do the construction enabled by the State’s funding.
It is time to make good on these previous commitments. And it is time to chart a better course with this year’s funding.
We are ready to work with the State today to expedite the delivery of this year’s $250 million and the vital repairs it can provide immediately.
We look forward to collaborating on this important shared priority.
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development
City of New York
Photo credit: Alicia Glen talked housing with London mayor Boris Johnson on a whistlestop tour of the UK. Photograph: Tim Knox for the Guardian.