WHY IS HOMELESSNESS, HOUSING, and NYCHA IMPORTANT?
By Wright for NYC 2020 Campaign Team
In 2019, the current mayor announced a new five-year plan to end chronic street homelessness that includes opening 1,000 new “safe haven” beds, converting 1,000 privately-owned housing units into new permanent housing for those leaving homelessness, expanded outreach, health care, and rental subsidies. The administration did succeed cutting down on evictions through free legal services for many low-income households and in re-housing thousands of people who have wound up in city shelters.
Still, there are estimated to be more than 75,000 individuals in various city-run shelters and another 3,500 on the streets or in the subways, and de Blasio has not adjusted his 2017 goal of reducing the city Department of Homeless Services shelter census from about 62,500 to 57,500 over five years. This issue will be facing the new mayor.
On the public housing front, though the administration has been successful in stabilizing the operating finances of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), its plan to raise funds for capital repairs from new infill projects that create mixed-income housing, has stalled. The authority has a $32-billion five-year capital need for repairs and maintenance, and the city has managed to identify $24 billion over 10 years through various mechanisms that must be executed.
A new chair and CEO, Gregory Russ, was appointed in June to manage the scandal-ridden agency, which is also under the watchful eye of a federal monitor who has been scrutinizing its functions and monitoring its progress in handling lead abatement.
The new mayor’s 2022 challenges include whether he can advance infill projects and ensure NYCHA is on track with lead testing and removal, boiler and elevator replacements and repairs, and more.