New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, an interim New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt today made an announcement.
The announced that Phase I planning for critical capital work has begun to replace 335 elevators at 20 NYCHA developments, as part of a $300 million funding agreement with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) that was signed in April 2022. The financing was made possible through close collaboration between NYCHA, the New York State Legislature, and Governor Hochul — who all worked together to develop a framework for modernizing NYCHA’s elevator infrastructure, as outlined in the 2019 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development agreement.
“Every day, NYCHA residents experience the consequences of decades of underinvestment and tens of billions of dollars in capital needs. Providing them the quality of life that every New Yorker deserves requires creativity and partnership — and this agreement represents both,” said Mayor Adams. “With the Public Housing Preservation Trust, the PACT program, and programs like this, we are giving residents a true menu of options to get the repairs they need in their homes in the way they prefer. I want to thank all of our partners in Albany for their investment in NYCHA, and I look forward to getting this work done to help 34,000 New Yorkers avoid dangerous broken elevators.”
“With this important milestone, NYCHA is set to begin major building improvements, leveraging $300 million in state investment to improve the homes and lives of thousands of New Yorkers,” said Governor Hochul.“Right now, as our state faces a dire shortage of safe, stable, and accessible housing, my administration is committed to preserving our housing stock — which is why I signed legislation to create the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust last year. I am proud to partner with NYCHA, its residents, and local and state officials, and look forward to even more opportunities to grow and support NYCHA communities.”
“Bringing critical repairs to NYCHA requires an all-hands effort, and we are incredibly grateful for the partnership of the state for this $300 million in capital funding. Soon, 34,000 New Yorkers will have the relief that everyone should enjoy with reliable and safe elevators,” said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “We look forward to continuing to work with the state and all other government partners to bring NYCHA residents the quality of life they deserve.”
“The funds provided through this agreement will enable us to address a key physical element of our building infrastructure: the elevator service that our residents need and depend on,” said Interim NYCHA CEO Bova-Hiatt. “We are incredibly grateful for the support and advocacy of Governor Hochul, the leaders of the New York State Senate and Assembly, and DASNY for executing this funding agreement and allocating these vital streams of capital financing at a critical time in the life of the Authority.”
“DASNY is proud to play a role in supporting this fundamental and essential improvement to the Authority’s infrastructure,” said DASNY President and CEO Reuben McDaniel III. “We are grateful to Governor Hochul for her leadership and to the Legislature’s support in addressing these needs. We look forward to NYCHA moving this portfolio swiftly forward to the benefit of NYCHA residents.”
Nearly 34,000 residents living in almost 16,000 apartments will benefit from improved elevator service at the 20 developments, which include six senior-designated campuses. Consistent elevator service is particularly important for seniors and residents with mobility impairments; NYCHA has over 78,000 residents above the age of 62, and nearly 40 percent of NYCHA households are headed by a resident over the age of 62. NYCHA elevators also serve more than 31,000 mobility impaired residents.
NYCHA’s elevator stock is old, with the longest-running traction elevators in the portfolio installed 32 years ago in 1990. All the elevators identified in the State Capital Revitalization Plan are at or beyond the typical useful life of 15-20 years for a multifamily residential property.
The New York State Legislature allocated $300 million to NYCHA in the 2020 and 2021 state budgets to upgrade the oldest elevators in the Authority’s portfolio. NYCHA first presented the State Capital Revitalization Plan in September 2021 to outline its approach to achieving this goal, and it was approved by DASNY in the most recent funding agreement.
The funding allowed the planning process for elevator replacement to begin in early April. The timeline for elevator replacement work across the 20 different sites is estimated to range from 49 months (Cassidy-Lafayette Houses) to 81 months (Marcy Houses), depending on the number of elevators that need to be replaced and the age of the relevant developments. All elevator construction work is scheduled to be complete by early December 2028.
A full list of the developments that will receive elevator upgrades is available online.
“In the Assembly majority, we have worked to make sure New Yorkers can find quality, affordable, and accessible housing. Replacing elevators in these 20 developments will help improve the quality of life for these NYCHA residents,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “NYCHA is home to thousands of New Yorkers, many of whom are aging, and rely on elevators to maneuver their day-to-day. These necessary investments will assist in modernizing NYCHA developments across our great city.”
“I thank the New York City Housing Authority and the State Dormitory Authority for moving forward to make these essential capital investments to replace 335 outdated and unreliable elevators with the state capital funding that we provided,” said New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh, chair, Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development.“I cannot overstate the importance of having reliable, working elevators in these buildings, especially in those with many residents who are seniors or have mobility impairments. These funds are part of the $1.1 billion in capital we have allocated for NYCHA in recent years. I have advocated for much larger sums and will continue to do so in the upcoming state budget process, but I am glad to see this allocation being put to good use, for improvements that will result in safer and more desirable living conditions for nearly 34,000 NYCHA residents.”
“I’m proud to have fought for the $300 million in state capital funding that will support critical upgrades to elevators at NYCHA properties across New York City,” said New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud. “Of the 335 elevators being replaced, 72 will be at three properties currently in Senate District 19: 32 elevators at Nostrand Houses, 36 at Sheepshead Bay, and four at Woodson Houses. I applaud NYCHA and DASNY for reaching an agreement on this significant project, and I am pleased that improvements are being made.”
“It is welcome news that NYCHA’s Leavitt Street community will finally begin to see some measure of reprieve for its beleaguered elevators,” said New York State Senator John Liu. “Working elevators are a necessity for New York City housing, especially for our senior citizens and people with disabilities. While long overdue, these repairs are an appropriate first step to correcting years of subpar living conditions.”
“For decades, NYCHA residents have struggled with unreliable elevator service, heat and water issues, delayed repairs, and crumbling infrastructure. This infusion of state and local funding is a step in the right direction towards delivering meaningful relief for residents, particularly seniors, people with disabilities, and residents with limited mobility,” said New York State Senator Jamaal Bailey. “These critical infrastructure improvements and repairs will address the immediate health and safety needs of our NYCHA communities and ensure residents finally have the safe, accessible, and dignified living conditions they deserve. I want to thank NYCHA tenant leaders across New York City, particularly Gun Hill Tenant Association President Robert Hall, for their work and continued advocacy. Thank you, Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, NYCHA Chair Greg Russ, interim NYCHA CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt, and my colleagues in the Legislature for prioritizing this funding in the state budget to invest in and revitalize public housing across the city.”
“Elevators are critical infrastructure: for seniors, residents with mobility needs, families with strollers, and people simply coming home from a long day of work,” said New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie. “They’re a lifeline in our vertical city, but too often NYCHA residents have to contend with frequent, long elevator outages. And sometimes as soon as they’re fixed, they break down again. I’m proud to have delivered funding for these upgrades in the state budget and am grateful to NYCHA and DASNY for making this meaningful investment. I look forward to making sure these upgrades result in a better quality of life for my constituents.”
“Our neighbors in Marcy Houses deserve high-quality, safe living conditions and full accessibility, said New York State Senator Julia Salazar. “This robust investment in bringing new elevators to Marcy demonstrates a commitment to the development’s residents, especially seniors and residents who need fully functional and reliable elevators in their buildings.”
“I am pleased that the money that we fought so hard to allocate to NYCHA in the state budget is finally flowing to worthy projects such as elevator upgrades at Taft Houses,” said New York State Senator Cordell Cleare. “I urge the Authority to maximize every cent by investing in much-needed initiatives that residents need and deserve throughout the 30th Senatorial District. Lastly, I hope this example will inspire continued reoccurring state support for NYCHA in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget.”
“These elevator upgrades, made possible through state funding, which I helped secure, are a welcome step in the right direction,” said New York State Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, chair, Committee on Ways and Means. “For far too long, elderly and mobility challenged constituents living in NYCHA’s Sheepshead and Nostrand Apartments have been practically held hostage by repeated outages of an antiquated elevator system. Along with the security cameras I was able to secure some years ago, we will continue to transform NYCHA into a safe and accessible home for families and the disabled.”
“With the DASNY agreement, it will provide essential assistance for elevator upgrades which many developments need renovated for an extended period,” said New York State Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman. “I have been in the elevators at Conlon Lihfe, and they are dark and operate slowly. So, I look forward to seeing the upgrades for my seniors, which have been long overdue.”
“I’m so glad that hundreds of NYCHA elevators will be replaced with funds provided by those of us in the state Legislature. I am particularly pleased that the desperately needed replacement elevators at Gowanus Houses will be installed,” said New York State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. “These upgrades will bring safety and reliability to elevator service and can’t happen quickly enough. I’m thankful to my colleagues, the tenant association, Governor Hochul, DASNY, and NYCHA for working together on this critical initiative.”
“I grew up in a NYCHA property in Brownsville, Brooklyn — a neighborhood that has the highest concentration of public housing in the state,” said New York State Assemblymember Latrice Walker. “So, I understand how urgently NYCHA residents need this infusion of funding to replace outdated elevators. This is critically important for seniors and for residents who can’t take the stairs because they are mobility impaired. The $300 million funding agreement between NYCHA and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York is a welcome investment for residents at the 20 developments where the need is greatest.”
“I am thrilled to hear that Straus Houses will have four elevators replaced with the assistance of state capital funding,” said New York State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein. “Almost every day, my team and I hear from constituents about elevator outages and issues that keep many, especially seniors, waiting in their lobbies for elevators to get fixed. NYCHA needs money in order to make the proper repairs for elevator upgrades, and I am glad that this development will be receiving it.”
“I am pleased to see that the state funding we secured for upgrades to our NYCHA housing units is set to be implemented,” said New York State Assemblymember Charles Fall. “These upgrades, especially to the elevators, are essential components to increasing the quality-of-life standards for all NYCHA residents, especially to our senior and disabled tenants. I look forward to continuing to work with my state colleagues, NYCHA, and DASNY on additional upgrades needed for our NYCHA residents on the North Shore of Staten Island.”
“The New York State Legislature is dedicated to providing safe and affordable housing for all New Yorkers,” said New York State Assemblymember Stefani Zinerman. “Our investment of $300 million to upgrade elevators in Marcy Houses is critical to the lives of residents, especially for our elders, families with young children, and the disabled. The New York State Assembly will continue working with city, state, and federal legislators to support the infrastructure needs of NYCHA.”
“As the assemblymember that represents the highest concentration of public housing developments in the country, I am elated that we in the state Legislature are showing our commitment to improving NYCHA,” said New York State Assemblymember Edward Gibbs. “Elevators are crucial to ensuring the quality of life in our NYCHA developments, especially for those who are mobility impaired. I thank Governor Hochul, NYCHA, and my colleagues for partnering in securing this funding.”
“We are very excited about this development and commitment on the part of the state and DASNY to provide long-overdue and needed capital funds for the NYCHA complexes in our district,” said former New York State Senator Diane Savino. “Elevator repairs and replacement are crucial to improving the quality of life of so many people who reside in public housing.”
“These elevator upgrades are urgently needed and represent a meaningful investment in NYCHA housing stock that will benefit residents for many years to come,” said former New York State Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz, former chair, Committee on Housing. “I was pleased to work with my colleagues to make this critical funding available for these projects, and I look forward to continuing to work with NYCHA leadership to enhance the well-being of the over 400,000 public housing residents who call NYCHA developments home.”
“I am pleased to hear that these much-needed elevator replacements are being brought to NYCHA developments across the city,” said Danny Barber, president, Jackson Houses Tenant Association; and chair, Citywide Council of Presidents. “I am confident that once completed, these improvements will bring major relief to public housing residents.”
Photo credit: Wikipedia.