The de Blasio Administration today announced the result of heating improvements made across NYCHA this summer and fall to prepare for cold weather. In response to last year’s record cold temperatures, NYCHA’s new leadership has developed a comprehensive strategy to reduce outages and restore heating faster this winter. Systemwide, NYCHA residents now have more heating staff, more mobile boilers on hand for emergencies and better handling of their heat complaints. And 87,000 residents at developments that had chronic heating issues last year have received target improvements, ranging from new boilers to new third-party experts that will manage heating plants to reduce outages.
“Every NYCHA resident deserves heat in the winter. Our new leadership at NYCHA have delivered major improvements that will reduce outages and get the heat back on faster,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This plan will benefit all 400,000 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home, and is the only the beginning of more improvements to come.”
“In preparation for this winter season, we have been fully dedicated to ensuring real improvements to keep residents warmer,” said NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Stanley Brezenoff. “While there is no magic wand, our operations team, under the leadership of our General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo, is tackling problems we have immediate control over while looking to the future when we can have more reliable heating throughout our portfolio for all New Yorkers who rely on us.”
“After joining NYCHA in the height of the heating problems last winter, I committed from day one to ensure that we were better prepared when this winter season came around,” said NYCHA General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo. “With unprecedented support from Mayor de Blasio, we have achieved operational improvements, streamlined capital timelines and better technology both internally and for resident communication, so when the winter freeze comes, we will be able to respond faster and get boilers up and running quicker.”
Last winter in New York City was one of the coldest on record, bringing NYCHA’s aging infrastructure to a brink. Approximately half of NYCHA developments experienced one or more heat service interruptions lasting longer than 24 hours last heat season. This winter, NYCHA is targeting investments towards the worst performing heating systems.
The citywide improvements for the 2018-19 heating season include:
- More Heating Staff: NYCHA has added 50 new heating technicians this heating season, and added more contracts with skilled laborers to provided additional expertise if needed. These staffing expansions will improve maintenance and speed response times.
- Better Customer Service: When NYCHA makes heating repairs, it will now robocall all affected residents before closing out work orders. Any resident that has not experienced heat restoration will be able to immediately respond through the call to keep staff on site to address their issue.
- New Mobile Boilers: 5 additional mobile boilers are ready to deploy during emergencies to keep heat running.
The targeted improvements affected 87,000 residents include:
- New Boilers: 12 developments have had boilers replaced since last winter with three more under repair now, improving heating service for 9,100 residents. Six developments, with 7,300 residents, have received dedicated mobile boilers.
- Outside Experts to Monitor and Manage Boilers: For 41 scattered sites or high-tech heating plants, third-party agencies will provide faster and better fixes, helping 70,000 residents experience better heat this season. Further developments will be transferred to third party managers over the course of the heating season.
- Better Windows: 7,600 senior apartments received new window balances, a key issue in last year’s struggles to keep the cold out. These repaired windows will lock in the heat more securely for NYCHA’s elderly residents.
The de Blasio Administration has made an unprecedented commitment to preserve and strengthen public housing. This investment is part of the Administration’s total commitment to $2.1 billion to support NYCHA’s capital infrastructure from Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2027 and $1.6 billion to support NYCHA’s operations from Fiscal Year 2014 to Fiscal Year 2022. This investment includes $1.3 billion to fix over 900 roofs, over $500 million to repair deteriorating exterior brickwork at nearly 400 buildings, and $140 million to improve security at 15 NYCHA developments.
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The City waived NYCHA’s annual PILOT and NYPD payments to the City, relieving NYCHA of nearly $100 million in operating expenses a year. In January 2018, the Mayor announced $13 million to improve NYCHA’s response to heating emergencies this winter, followed by an additional $200 million for long-term heating improvements at 20 NYCHA developments.
“The 400,000 New Yorkers who live in NYCHA deserve the same, equitable living standards as those who live in private residences,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “Many of my constituents suffered last winter, and I’m relieved to see the necessary steps are being taken to ensure this does not happen again.”
“This investment in new boilers and upgraded heating systems reflects the deep commitment of the City and NYCHA leadership to the health and quality of life of all NYCHA residents,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz, Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee.
“I’m glad to see that progress has been made for the families living at these 12 developments Citywide. However, we are beginning to experience frigid temperatures as they are dropping fast and looking forward to continued and rapid improvements to heating systems,” said
Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel. “As we continue to transition into winter, I look forward to seeing a warm winter for ALL NYCHA’s 400,000 residents.”