Schumer and Velazquez Introduce Public Housing Equal Treatment Act of 2007
NEW YORK – Today, Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to help resolve the ongoing housing crisis in New York City by increasing funding for public housing.
“Funding for our city’s public housing has slowed to a trickle under the Bush administration,” Congresswoman Velázquez said. “This has left NYCHA under-funded and thousands of our community’s neediest residents feeling the consequences.”
“For too long the Federal and State governments have turned their backs on the tenants of these 21 developments,” said Senator Schumer. “These tenants should not live in fear for their future, which is why the Federal Government should step-in, as it has for NYCHA development across the city, and support affordable housing for our most vulnerable citizens.”
Currently, 343 public housing developments operated by New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) are forced to share funds and resources that were originally intended for only 322 units. These 20 units fell through the cracks when financial and regulatory responsibility shifted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – leaving both NYCHA and thousands of tenants to bear the consequences. Last year alone, NYCHA incurred a nearly $88 million deficit while being forced to make cut-backs of essential staff. At the same time, tenants remain at risk of living in deteriorating conditions while some are also struggling to meet rising rents.
By clarifying which public housing developments should be included by HUD when determining how much money a public housing agency receives, The Public Housing Equal Treatment Act of 2007 addresses this issue. Allowing all of NYCHA’s public housing developments to receive direct assistance from the federal government will help to stabilize public housing in New York City by ensuring an equitable amount of money for all 343 developments.
The Public Housing Equal Treatment Act of 2007will introduce a steady and dedicated funding stream into the 21 properties currently operating without one, allowing residents to feel safe in their homes, and improving the quality of life for tenants in all of the NYCHA public housing developments. This bill will ensure NYCHA’s community centers that provide job training and elderly/youth programs stay open, vital repairs are completed in a timely manner and that critical public housing is maintained in New York City for the long run.
“The bill will allow these 21 developments, which deserve the same funding opportunities as the rest of public housing, to receive approximately $100 million in direct federal aid starting in January 2008 and place them on an equal footing with our other developments,” said NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez. “At the same time,the passage of this bill helps NYCHA’s remaining 322 developments, because money will no longer have to be diverted from them to support these unfunded units.