Mayor Bill de Blasio picked the city’s sanitation commissioner to run the New York City Housing Authority Tuesday, one week after announcing a federal oversight deal and amid rising concerns over the ‘s new leadership.
Kathryn Garcia, who has headed sanitation since 2014, will take over from as interim NYCHA chairperson and replace Shola Olatoye, the former chairwoman who resigned after the agency was accused of exposing residents to lead poisoning and lying about testing.
The appointment comes one week after de Blasio announced the federal government will oversee improvements within NYCHA, the nation’s largest public housing agency that houses more than 400,000 New Yorkers, and invest $2.2 billion in the city’s 325 housing developments.
This leadership shakeup, which comes after more than 2,000 children who lived in NYCHA were discovered to suffer from high levels of lead in the blood, is already raising concerns among New Yorkers.
New York Times editorial writer Mara Gay criticized the city’s federal partnership, noting New York will pay for its federal monitor and that Ben Carson, the Trump-appointed head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been historically loath to improve public housing.
“[Carson] once said that public housing should not be ‘a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me,'”
“[Carson] once said that public housing should not be ‘a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me,'” Gay wrote.
“In his nearly two years in office Mr. Carson has done little but stand by as the Trump administration proposed devastating cuts to his agency, which Congress, fortunately, blocked.”
“In his nearly two years in office, Mr. Carson has done little but stand by as the Trump administration proposed devastating cuts to his agency, which Congress, fortunately, blocked.”
WNYC released an in-depth profile Wednesday of NYCHA’s new hire, Wavecrest Management, a private property manager with more than 160 buildings that have racked up nearly 6,000 building and housing violations, 500 of which are “immediately hazardous.”
Wavecrest will run 2,500 NYCHA apartments as part of a de Blasio initiative to use private funds to revamp crumbling public housing developments in need of $32 billion in heating system repair, rodent control and broken elevator fixes, according to WNYC.
“You’re better off in the projects,” Wavecrest tenant Tomaris de Jesus told WNYC. “At least they fix things in the projects. You get results. Here, you get no results.”
And Garcia herself was the target of a blast from the New York editorial board after de Blasio announced she would head LeadFreeNY. The Post decried the “trashy” pick and demanded of readers, “Get a load of this garbage.”