Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced Stanley Brezenoff will serve as Interim Chair of the New York City Housing Authority, succeeding Shola Olatoye who will depart the post at the end of April 2018. Under Olatoye’s leadership, the Housing Authority has been pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy, launched an interagency partnership that drove down crime in public housing 7% in 2017 and has reduced average wait time for basic repairs from 13 to 4.3 days.
As Interim Chair, Brezenoff will partner with NYCHA’s new General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo to continue reversing decades of disinvestment in public housing, improving front-line services for residents and putting the City’s record investment to work replacing critical infrastructure like heating systems. NYCHA is the nation’s largest public housing authority, home to 400,000 residents—1 in 14 New Yorkers.
“The Housing Authority that the Chair inherited four years ago faced bankruptcy, an inability to make basic repairs and an alarming surge in violence. She was a change agent from Day One. Crime is down. Repairs are faster. Finances are stabilized. And NYCHA is putting record investment from the City to work making life better for the 400,000 New Yorkers that call NYCHA home. We’re grateful for her service,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With a proven track record of transforming large agencies, I’m confident that Stanley Brezenoff will help to continue our progress while we search for a new chair.”
“While the challenges facing public housing are significant – I’m incredibly proud of the leadership team we’ve assembled and the strides we’ve made over the last 4 years to speed up repair times, reduce crime, launch a major development program and bring NYCHA into the 21st century,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “It’s been an honor to serve the 1 in 14 New Yorkers who call public housing home. I leave this role secure in the knowledge that we created a path for a stronger and safer NYCHA in the years ahead as the de Blasio Administration moves forward with NextGen.”
“This is one of the toughest jobs in America. Under Mayor de Blasio and Chair Olatoye, NYCHA has faced down enormous challenges, launched an enormous turnaround effort and improved the lives of residents,” said Stanley Brezenoff. “I’m committed to working with residents, finding new solutions and making progress that people will see and feel in their communities.”
The Mayor announced the transition at Ocean Bay Bayside Apartments, the nation’s largest Rental Assistance Demonstration conversion project. All 1,400 apartments in the complex—home to nearly 4,000 residents—are being renovated with brand new kitchens and bathrooms. The roofs, heating systems, elevators and windows at each of the 24 buildings are being fully replaced, and new resiliency measures including rooftop solar arrays and a flood wall are under construction. The NextGen NYCHA plan set a goal of transforming 15,000 apartments through RAD over ten years, as part of a multi-pronged strategies to improve public housing.
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. 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.
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Photo credit: Cuny TV 75/YOUTUBE SCREEN SHOT