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May 12, 2009

Rep. Velázquez Highlights Benefits of Economic Recovery Bill for New York City Public Housing Residents

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) met with public housing residents on the Lower East Side yesterday evening to discuss how the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” will impact the day-to-day lives of these working families.  As a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, the Congresswoman worked to ensure $4 billion in funding was included to repair and rebuild decaying public housing facilities in New York City and across the country. 

“These resources will not only benefit tenants in public housing, but will strengthen the entire community by helping to put New Yorkers back to work,” Velázquez said.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) received $423 million to modernize and improve the safety of its buildings.  Nearly half of the money, $209 million, has been directed to energy efficient efforts, including $135 million for vital roof repairs.  Nearly $70 million will go toward high-priority repairs for 145 elevators in 11 developments.  Across the City, the Economic Recovery funds for public housing are expected to create or preserve more than 3,200 jobs.  In Congresswoman Velázquez’ district, the following projects will be funded with resources from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

  • $570,000 for elevator repairs at Lower East Side I;
  • $902,000 for roof replacement at Lower East Side II;  
  • $827,975 for roof replacement at Lower East Side V; and
  • Additional funding for upgraded, energy efficient refrigerators and oven ranges at the Baruch, Borinquen Plaza, Bushwick Houses, Campos Plaza, Gompers Houses, Hope Gardens, LaGuardia, Riis Houses, Smith and Williamsburg developments.

“This infusion of funds will improve the living conditions for more than 400,000 New Yorkers in public housing buildings.  In my district alone, tenants in 11 developments will benefit immediately from energy efficient upgrades, elevator repairs and other renovations,” Velázquez said. 

Velázquez explained that the Recovery Act contains many benefits designed to help hard-working families make ends meet.  The new Making Work Pay Credit provides 95 percent of New Yorkers with a tax cut of up to $800 for families.  For those who lost their job as a result of the economic downturn, unemployment benefits have been extended to a total of 59 weeks and job training is available.  In addition, food stamp benefits have been increased by 13 percent, providing an extra $80 per month to feed a family of four.  As the Recovery Act puts more money in New Yorkers’ pockets, the new law will result in additional consumer spending, help stimulate local economic growth and create new jobs.

“The Recovery Act provides the extra boost needed to help working families make ends meet during a difficult time,” Velázquez said.  “It will strengthen the local economy by helping workers get back on their feet, creating thousands of new jobs for New Yorkers and investing in the future of our City.”