New York, NY-State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, dozens of their colleagues in Federal, State, and City government, public housing residents, NYCHA employees, and tenant advocates announced today the formation of the Save Our Underfunded NYCHA Developments (SOUND) Housing Campaign. The campaign will be a coordinated effort to ensure that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) gets its fair share of State and City funding and that funds are properly spent on basic maintenance and repairs, safer and more reliable elevators, security cameras, and other measures to keep buildings and hallways safe and clean.
The SOUND Housing Campaign calls on the State and City to:
In addition to Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, the SOUND Housing Campaign is supported by elected officials from all five boroughs, including: Congressional Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee Member Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan/Queens); Senate President Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) and Conference Leader John Sampson; (D-Brooklyn); Assembly Housing Committee Chair Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) and Public Housing Subcommittee Chair Keith L. T. Wright (D-Manhattan); City Council Housing Committee Chair Erik Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn) and Public Housing Subcommittee Chair Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan); Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan/Queens), Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens), Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn) and José E. Serrano (D-Bronx); Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum; Borough Presidents Ruben Diaz, Jr. (D-Bronx), Marty Markowitz (D-Brooklyn), and Scott Stringer (D-Manhattan); State Senators Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn), Neil Breslin (D-Albany), Thomas K. Duane (D-Manhattan), Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn), Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan/Bronx), José M. Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx), and Toby Stavisky (D-Queens); Assemblymembers Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn), Michael Benjamin (D-Bronx), Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx), William Boyland, (D-Brooklyn), Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Brooklyn), Karim Camara (D-Brooklyn), Nelson L. Castro (D-Bronx), Vivian Cook (D-Queens), Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan), Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx), Richard N. Gottfried (D-Manhattan), Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), Rhoda Jacobs (D-Brooklyn), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), Micah Z. Kellner (D-Manhattan), Rory Lancman (D-Queens), Joe Lentol (D-Brooklyn), Alan Maisel (D-Brooklyn), Grace Meng (D-Queens), Cathy Nolan (D-Queens), Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan), Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), Audrey Pheffer (D-Queens), Adam Clayton Powell (D-Manhattan), Peter Rivera (D-Bronx), Annette M. Robinson (D-Brooklyn), Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), William Scarborough (D-Queens), Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island), Darryl Towns (D-Brooklyn) and Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn); Councilmembers Tony Avella (D-Queens), Maria Baez (D-Bronx), Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan), Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn), Inez E. Dickens (D-Manhattan), Julissa Ferreras (D-Queens), Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), Alan J. Gerson (D-Manhattan), Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan), Letitia James (D-Brooklyn), Melinda Katz (D-Queens), Kenneth Mitchell (D-Staten Island), Annabel Palma (D-Bronx), James Sanders (D-Queens), and David Yassky (D-Brooklyn); Reginald Bowman of the Citywide Council of the NYCHA Tenant Association Presidents; Gregory Floyd, President of Teamsters Local 237; Judith Goldiner of the Legal Aid Society; Victor Bach of the Community Service Society; Damaris Reyes of Good Old Lower East Side and Public Housing Residents of the Lower East Side (GOLES/PHROLES); Peter Cheng of the Indochina Sino-American Community Center; Anne Washington of Community Voices Heard; Kenneth McIntosh of Two Bridges Houses; Charlotte Miles of Lillian Wald Houses; and Michael Steele of Rutgers Houses.
"More than 1 in 20 New Yorkers make their lives and their homes in NYCHA developments. For a decade, the State has shamefully turned its back on its obligation to these New Yorkers. NYCHA needs basic resources to provide services for its residents, and the State and City must step up with the funding they owe to allow that to happen," said State Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan). "Elected officials, tenants and advocates are joining together to form the SOUND Housing Campaign, and we won’t rest until we win necessary funds for maintenance, repairs, and safety in NYCHA developments."
"For many years, NYCHA residents have suffered from the effects of a willful failure at all levels of government to meet our obligations to support public housing. We are launching the SOUND Housing Campaign today because we understand that it will require a cooperative, sustained effort to secure the resources necessary to maintain safe and livable conditions in our public housing and to provide the services that residents of our communities need and deserve," said Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan), who represents 18,000 NYCHA residents on Manhattan’s East Side.
"The SOUND Housing Campaign will add an important voice to those already calling for improved maintenance and care of New York City public housing. More than 400,000 of our city’s residents rely on NYCHA, and I look forward to working with SOUND to ensure the preservation of safe and affordable housing options for all New Yorkers," said Congressmember Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn/Queens), a member of the Congressional Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee.
"Funding for public housing is a moral imperative. As someone whose district houses the largest collection of public housing facilities in the borough of Queens, I know the absolute importance of a stable and well-funded public housing system to preserve and protect the quality of life of thousands of low and middle income New Yorkers. I applaud my colleague, Senator Daniel Squadron, for his commitment to improving public housing and look forward to continuing our work together," said State Senate President Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens).
"I’m a long-time supporter of public housing; it’s time we give it the support it needs," said State Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn).
"Public housing is more than an issue--it is the lifeline for hundreds of thousands of hardworking people in our City," said Assemblymember Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee. "As the SOUND Housing Campaign confronts the constant underfunding of NYCHA, we will fight for our residents and the proper maintenance of their quality of life. We will not back down until NYCHA gets the funding it deserves."
Assemblymember Keith L. T. Wright (D-Manhattan), Chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Public Housing, said, "With NYCHA’s $137 million deficit resting on the backs of working families who are already struggling in this difficult economy, now is the time for New York State to get serious about funding public housing. The 402,722 residents of NYCHA developments cannot be forced to withstand deliberate budgetary starvation and as the elected officials responsible for representing this vulnerable constituency, we must work past the policies of ignorance and neglect which have led this Authority into fiscal famine."
"As long as underfunded NYCHA buildings continue to deteriorate, so will the social responsibility of our State and City governments," said Councilmember Erik Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the City Council Housing Committee. "So I am proud to join the SOUND Housing Campaign and my colleagues in government, in working towards saving our developments."
Councilmember Rosie Mendez (D-Manhattan), Chair of the Council Public Housing Subcommittee, said: "Just like the State and Federal governments, New York City has an obligation to contribute its fair share. The City of New York created 6,000 units of public housing which cost approximately $30 million a year to operate, yet the city does not regularly pay one cent to cover these expenses. In fact, the City charges NYCHA for regular police services, something no other affordable housing provider must pay for."
"New Yorkers have paid far too high a price for the City and Statev’s neglect to fully fund NYCHA Developments. It is long past time for the City and State to step up to fulfill the commitment they made to our city. So I am proud to support the SOUND Housing Campaign, and with it, our city’s developments and their residents," said Congressmember Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan/Queens).
Congressmember Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens), who represents the Southeast Queens-based Sixth Congressional District, said "I grew up in public housing. I can testify to what living in a safe, secure, and affordable housing environment means to a family that is doing its level best to move forward."
"The availability and quality of affordable housing-and of NYCHA in particular-is a critical issue for New York City," said Congressmember Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn). "Every level of government must do its part to preserve, maintain and improve the affordable housing stock that we have. In the spirit of the SOUND Housing Campaign, I call on the City and State to do their parts to fully fund NYCHA, just as the Federal government must do its utmost to fund our local housing programs. We cannot be cavalier with the homes of our most vulnerable citizens."
"In difficult times like these, fully supporting our public housing is imperative. We cannot let buildings slip into slow deterioration through underfunding and under-maintaining them," said Congressmember José E. Serrano (D-Bronx).
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. (D) said, "My office constantly receives complaints from our public housing residents about the poor conditions in their buildings. We need to do more to allocate the necessary resources to preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and SOUND Housing is a basic step toward that goal."
"As an affordable housing advocate since my earliest days in public life, and as someone who is a product of public housing, I know firsthand how much we depend on public housing to ensure that all New Yorkers can afford a decent standard of living. We’ve already seen the disastrous results of cutting corners when it comes to NYCHA properties, in the form of decreased services and decaying infrastructure. And the agency should not have to pay so much for police and sanitation. I am confident that SOUND will make a big noise-so that NYCHA gets the funding it deserves," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (D).
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (D) said, "The SOUND Housing Campaign is about doing everything that we can to help the Housing Authority succeed after years of neglect. Last year, when I reported that 75 percent of NYCHA elevators were failing routine inspections, we saw nearly $174 million dedicated to the replacement and repair of the Housing Authority’s aging elevator fleet. We now need to put that same kind of pressure on the State and City. Federal dollars coming to NYCHA must not be re-directed to make up for shortfalls from State and City government and pay for special services that all other citizens enjoy, like police and sanitation services."
"I’m proud to stand with Senator Squadron to protect the most important aspect of our city’s residents, and that is affordable housing," said State Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn).
"The need for safe, decent and affordable housing is universal in New York State," said State Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany).
"As a State Senator who has sought year after year to secure full State operating subsidies for NYCHA’s State developments, and to end the City’s practice of charging NYCHA exorbitant fees for police services and payments in lieu of taxes, I am proud to join the SOUND Housing Campaign," said State Senator Thomas K. Duane (D-Manhattan). "The failure of both the City and the State to fully fund the developments they built has forced NYCHA to raise rents and fees and cut maintenance, staff and services. The time has come for New York to show a renewed commitment to the public housing on which thousands of low-income New Yorkers depend."
"It is commendable to provide more public housing to our city’s neediest families, but we can’t help construct that housing and then expect NYCHA to service that building without additional funds," said State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester). "I applaud Senator Squadron for his leadership in protecting the services that low-income New Yorkers deserve."
State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) said, "Year after year, the Federal, State and City governments have jointly treated public housing as the stepchild no one really wants to deal with. An estimated 600,000 people are living in NYC public housing. If it is allowed to collapse under the weight of faulty management and inadequate funding, I cannot conceive of the negative consequences for all New Yorkers. Particularly during bad economic times, we must do everything we can to protect quality affordable housing. Once we lose these units, we will not get them back."
"This campaign has been needed for a very long time. It is unconscionable that New York State and New York City continue to refuse to fully fund State and City NYCHA developments; and for the City to continue charging extraordinary fees for City services to a City agency tasked with the wellbeing of thousands of our citizens is outrageous. The State and City are violating the social contract and the law, and it must stop. I applaud Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Kavanagh for spearheading this campaign. I give them my full support, and gratitude. Thank you, gentlemen," said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn).
"There is nothing more important to the neediest of those in our communities than protecting public housing," said State Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn). "That is why I pledge myself to the principles of the SOUND Housing Campaign."
"New York’s public housing is a precious resource. The systematic de-funding of the Housing Authority over the last 30 years is a disgrace and a fundamental failure of our government. I am proud to join with Senator Squadron, Assemblymember Kavanagh, and my colleagues in government in this campaign to ensure fair and adequate funding for the greatest public housing system in America," said State Senator Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan/Bronx).
"My Senate district has perhaps the highest concentration of public housing in the State," said State Senator José M. Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx). "My constituents work hard, raise families and they deserve better than crumbling facades and broken elevators. With my esteemed colleagues in government, I will continue to fight for comprehensive funding of the Housing Authority. It is past time that Albany reaffirms its commitment to public housing, which I consider the last bastion of true affordability in New York."
"With NYCHA running a $200 million deficit annually, it is ridiculous for the agency to pay the City for police and sanitation services. I am sure that the Mayor’s office doesn’t pay the NYPD or the Department of Sanitation to provide their respective services at City Hall. But currently, NYCHA pays the City $73 million for police patrols, and it is an example of double billing by the City that must end," said State Senator Toby Stavisky (D-Queens).
Assemblymember Michael Benjamin (D-Bronx) said, "Public housing in New York City is too valuable a resource to neglect. I grew up in the John Adams Houses in the Bronx. I am happy that $5 million in Federal stimulus grants will fund roof replacement there. Without Federal, State, and City financial support, our nation’s premier housing authority will face bankruptcy. NYCHA residents, present and future, need these governmental partners to step up. The City can help by reducing or eliminating the onerous charges for police and sanitation services. NYCHA residents are taxpayers and should not have to pay twice for police and sanitation services."
"The lack of proper government funding for the New York City Housing Authority is putting the housing needs of thousands of New Yorkers at risk. I join the SOUND Housing Campaign to help in the fight for what is right," said Assemblymember William Boyland (D-Brooklyn).
"It is imperative that we fully fund all NYCHA developments. It is our responsibility to ensure that the low-income families living in NYCHA developments are privy to basic maintenance and repairs, that they have safer and more reliable elevators and security cameras. These necessities can only come from the provision of adequate funding. We as elected officials owe it to the residents of NYCHA to do more for their safety," said Assemblymember Karim Camara (D-Brooklyn).
"All New York City residents deserve to live in a secure environment, and this would only be possible with the appropriate funding from all levels of government. The launch of the Sound Housing Campaign will ensure suitable living conditions for all public housing residents," said Assemblymember Nelson L. Castro (D-Bronx).
"Conditions in many NYCHA developments have been steadily deteriorating, including those in my own community. As a former resident of a NYCHA building, I am outraged at the lack of support from the City and the State. I have seen its decline and it is time we end this neglect," said Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx).
Assemblymember Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan) said, "New York State lawmakers will take action to enhance the lives of NYCHA residents. I am not only proud to support the SOUND Housing Campaign, but I also believe our State can and must do more now to ease the burden on New York’s public housing system."
"Public housing is an essential service that is relied upon by thousands of families in my West Bronx district every day and our families have a right to live in safe, clean, and well-maintained buildings," Assemblymember Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx) said. "It is time for all of us to join together and stand up for the rights of NYCHA tenants to make sure that they receive the housing and the services they deserve."
"Washington, Albany, and City Hall are failing to provide adequate support for public housing," said Assemblymember Richard N. Gottfried (D-Manhattan). "The SOUND Housing Campaign is the first coordinated effort by elected officials, advocates, and tenants I’ve ever seen to secure equitable funding for NYCHA. We’re working together to make sure that NYCHA gets the money it needs to provide safe, quality, affordable housing and services for its tenants."
"I support this campaign because it is critical to support affordable housing efforts," said Assemblymember Rhoda Jacobs (D-Brooklyn).
"For too long, NYCHA has been funded on a level just above bare subsistence," said Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn). "Public housing residents deserve clean, safe, functioning apartments. The City, State and Federal governments must fulfill their responsibilities and stop this shameful trend of neglect for a significant portion of New York’s working class."
Assemblymember Micah Z. Kellner (D-Manhattan) said, "Years of Federal neglect have taken a heavy toll on New York’s public housing. But the City and the State have a role to play in saving NYCHA. Public housing residents should not be saddled with unfair extra costs for basic services-instead, we should ensure that City- and State-built developments are properly funded. We can’t leave residents stranded in unsafe and unsanitary conditions."
"Cops, teachers, city workers, and middle class New Yorkers of every description rely on public housing to be able to live in the city they serve and help run. We owe it to them and their families to provide the New York City Housing Authority with resources necessary to keep public housing alive, safe, and clean," said Assemblymember Rory Lancman (D-Queens), a member of the Assembly Housing Committee.
Assemblymember Joe Lentol (D-Brooklyn) said, "We need to focus our attention on fully funded public housing. We know firsthand that the safety and security of our residents depend on it."
"Affordable public housing is a diminishing asset that we must protect for the sake of its residents and the larger community, and those in Federal, State and City government need to stand up to make sure that this happens," said Assemblymember Alan Maisel (D-Brooklyn).
"For too long, NYCHA residents have been treated like second-class citizens. They suffer from lack of basic necessities like hot water and dangerous elevators. We need government at all levels to return resources back to these New Yorkers," said Assemblymember Grace Meng (D-Queens).
Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan) said, "There is an urgent need for a renewed commitment to public housing, not only in word but through the priorities we set in our City, State, and Federal budgets. All three must provide adequate funding if we are serious about our commitment to safe and well-maintained public housing."
"Elected officials have the ability to aid public housing residents and provide critical housing for those who need it. We must do everything in our power to provide residents with this essential resource. The time has come to address this crucial issue and provide residents with the necessary and secure accommodations that they deserve," said Assemblymember Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn).
Assemblymember Adam Clayton Powell (D-Manhattan) said, "New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments have become the last line of defense against the gentrification that is taking over our neighborhoods. Now more than ever we must remain vigilant and demand the collective resources of the City, State, and Federal government in order to save and improve public housing throughout New York. The residents of NYCHA deserve no less."
"As the representative of over 25,000 residents who live in public housing, I join with my colleagues to call for sound investment in the public housing stock that has been severely neglected for many years," said Assemblymember Annette M. Robinson (D-Brooklyn). "State, City, and Federal investment in the infrastructure of public housing provides vital affordable housing options and jobs for New Yorkers."
"Residents in NYCHA developments should not have to live in fear that funding to keep their homes safe, decent and affordable is the lowest governmental priority. The SOUND Housing Campaign will fight to ensure that when City and State funds are meted out, NYCHA will be at the top of the list, and vital services to maintain the integrity of public housing are provided," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).
Assemblymember Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island) said, "Supporting public housing not only demonstrates that we are a compassionate society, it is good policy. Trying to solve our fiscal crisis at the expense of the poor may seem penny-wise, but it is pound-foolish as it only leads to more expensive problems down the road."
"As NYCHA developments continue to face a huge funding deficit, no time can be wasted in ensuring that public housing receives the money and care that is long overdue," said Assemblymember Helene E. Weinstein (D-Brooklyn).
"Underfunding NYCHA is undermining the safety of New Yorkers. Public housing tenants deserve elevators that aren’t death traps and security services to ensure their homes are safe. I am proud to join Senator Squadron’s and Assemblymember Kavanagh’s SOUND campaign to fully fund NYCHA and provide tenants with the services they need," said Councilmember Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn).
"Residents of NYCHA housing are hard working citizens. Many are raising families on very limited incomes. There are also senior citizens who contribute to the well being of our communities and live on minimal, fixed incomes residing in NYCHA developments. I have fought on behalf of the NYCHA residents in my district and throughout the city. I will press on to insure that NYCHA senior centers and community centers remain open and fully operational. I endorse the SOUND Housing Campaign," declared Councilmember Inez E. Dickens (D-Manhattan), Majority Whip.
"For over 170,000 families in New York City, NYCHA is the only thing keeping them off the streets. With the cost of living skyrocketing, NYCHA has become even more invaluable in the effort of keeping the lower and middle classes in New York," said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras (D-Queens).
"Let’s start the fight now to win the funds that our NYCHA developments need," said Councilmember Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), who represents the Stanley Isaacs Houses and Holmes Towers. "The 650,000 New Yorkers living in public housing should not be the last in line for public dollars. The City and State must meet their obligations and lift the unnecessary financial burdens today imposed on NYCHA."
"As NYCHA continues to face its financial crisis, it is important that we work together to save and improve New York City’s public housing. I am proud to stand with Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Kavanagh to support the SOUND Housing Campaign," said Councilmember Alan J. Gerson (D-Manhattan).
Councilmember Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) said, "By underfunding public housing, government has essentially jeopardized its own investment-both social and structural. Inadequate appropriations mean that buildings fall into disrepair; buildings in disrepair mean that residents will not treat the premises with respect, escalating the deterioration. Deteriorated housing incubates despair, not dreams. SOUND a rallying cry!"
"NYCHA has been dramatically underfunded by the previous Federal administration. It is critical that all levels of government provide the necessary support for residents who represent the working class, especially women and children," said Councilmember Letitia James (D-Brooklyn).
Councilmember Melinda Katz (D-Queens) said, "I am excited to be a part of this coordinated effort organized by Senator Squadron and Assemblymember Kavanagh to secure NYCHA’s fare share of funding from all levels of government. I know as well as they do that the only way to bring about change and fully fund NYCHA is to bring all the stakeholders to the table to negotiate an equitable funding plan that truly puts residents first."
"The mission of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is to provide decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment...throughout the five boroughs. To fulfill this mission, NYCHA must preserve its aging housing stock through timely maintenance and modernization of its developments. The SOUND Housing Campaign is only asking the City and State to provide the funding necessary for NYCHA to meet its mission. We must act now and preserve and improve the homes of many of our neighbors and friends," said Councilmember Kenneth Mitchell (D-Staten Island).
"Given the current fiscal environment, it becomes even more critical to ensure that affordable housing is available now and remains on the top of our agenda for those citizens of our city who need it most," said Councilmember Annabel Palma (D-Bronx).
"Our city’s public housing has long been a jewel, the envy of the nation. In recent times, due to starvation funding levels, it has lost much of its luster and has become a challenge to its residents. As a person literally born in public housing, I call upon City and State government to restore public housing to its former glory. We do this by adequately funding it," said Councilmember James Sanders (D-Queens).
"While working New Yorkers are struggling through difficult economic times, the very least we can provide them is safe, clean, and well-maintained housing," said Councilmember David Yassky (D-Brooklyn). "NYCHA should be fully funded and the SOUND Housing Campaign is an important vehicle through which we can assure we are keeping our solemn obligation as elected officials to New York’s working families."
"I support all efforts, including the SOUND Housing Campaign, to protect and save our homes in public housing," said Reginald Bowman, Chair of the Citywide Council of New York City Housing Authority Tenant Association Presidents. "City, State and the Federal government have collectively eliminated and reduced the capital and operational funds for New York City Public Housing. For more than a decade, the City and the State government have eliminated all funding and the Federal government has reduced its support by more than 20 percent. These reductions have come while the New York City Housing Authority pays ’payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS)’ to the City as well as additional money for police and sanitation services and receives nothing in return. How can we pay into the City and receive nothing back? This situation has caused a consistent budget deficit, and an alarming reduction in staff and services in the NYCHA agency. As the voice of the public housing community of New York I am calling on all representatives in the City and State government to restore line item funding for public housing, and the Federal government to restore full funding. We the residents in public housing will be mobilizing the residents that represent 1 in 12 New Yorkers in rental apartments to take political action for our issues and homes."
"Housing is more than just brick and mortar. We also need to increase the operating funds that provide the vital services to maintain the quality of life in our developments," said Gregory Floyd, President of Local 237, which represents 8,000 NYCHA employees. "NYCHA has received millions in stimulus funding to help with the physical maintenance of its buildings, and that money should go toward ensuring our public housing system will be safe for years to come."
"We call on the State and City to stop turning their backs on public housing residents and fully fund this critical housing resource," said Judith Goldiner, Supervising Attorney at the Legal Aid Society.
"When State and local government fail to support the public housing they built, they threaten the homes of hundreds of thousands of low-income, working New Yorkers," said Victor Bach, Senior Housing Policy Analyst at the Community Service Society.
"We have been organizing public housing residents to fight for their right to decent housing and happily join our elected officials in the SOUND Housing Campaign as it works for so many of our principles. It is long overdue that the City and the State recognize the needs of public housing residents-by fully funding NYCHA in their respective budgets," said Damaris Reyes, Executive Director of Good Old Lower East Side and Public Housing Residents of the Lower East Side (GOLES/PHROLES).
"People in public housing deserve to live in a safe, clean, and decent environment. Occasionally, we hear horror stories of tenants getting stuck in malfunctioning elevators for hours or even for days. This is unacceptable and appropriate funding should be available for proper maintenance of the building infrastructure," said Peter Cheng, Executive Director of the Indochina Sino-American Community Center.
"Public housing has been neglected for far too long. We need the City, State, and Federal government to fully fund public housing and sustain this housing stock for low-income families in New York City. By joining forces with our allied elected officials, we intend to win critical resources for public housing and demonstrate that the trend of eliminating public housing nationwide can and must be reversed," said Anne Washington, public housing resident and Board Member of Community Voices Heard.
"I, along with the Executive Board of the Two Bridges Houses Tenant Association, represent the 250 families who are tenants of our development. We have eroded floors in our garage and the ceiling is falling apart, creating an unhealthy and unsafe condition for tenants as well as housing workers. From elevators to paint jobs to windows malfunctioning to mailboxes, we have been promised upgrades and repairs and there has been no renovation in 34 years, which is a problem. Funding for NYCHA is important, which is why we support the SOUND Housing Campaign," said Kenneth McIntosh, Tenant Association President of Two Bridges Houses.
"Funding for NYCHA is important. Developments are not being kept up and the maintenance and repairs are not being dealt with because there is no money to pay staff. The lack of funds hurts the community. It cuts caretakers, grounds crews, supervisors, and community and senior centers. Supervisors are being fired and others are forced to take on more than one development, which isn’t right," said Charlotte Miles, Tenant Association President of Lillian Wald Houses.
"Along with my board we feel that we are getting short changed. Every other City agency gets funding, so why not NYCHA? This money is really needed to maintain NYCHA. We have leaks in our walls that need to be repaired. Every two to three months you need another plaster job. We are asking City and State government officials to reinstate the funds that were taken from us," said Michael Steele, Tenant Association President at Rutgers Houses.
ABOUT THE SOUND HOUSING CAMPAIGN
A major aim of the SOUND Housing Campaign is to address NYCHA’s structural deficit, which is projected to be to $137 million in Fiscal 2009-2010 and has contributed to service cuts, inadequate maintenance, and other problems throughout New York City’s public housing.
While NYCHA operates 344 public housing developments, only 323 of these receive direct Federal funding. The other 21 developments were built outside of the Federal program by the State and the City, which provided the required operating subsidies until 1998 and 2001 respectively, when these funds were cut from the State and City budgets. As a result, NYCHA must redistribute Federal funds intended for the 323 Federal developments, thus reducing support for all public housing throughout the five boroughs. While there have been restorations of some funding for NYCHA in some years, the failure of the State and the City to meet their obligations to cover the full costs of these developments currently contributes almost $100 million annually to NYCHA’s deficit. The SOUND Housing Campaign calls for full restoration of these funds in the State and City budgets.
In addition, the City and NYCHA have entered agreements under which NYCHA uses housing funds to make payments to the City to cover the costs of more than $70 million for police and sanitation services annually. The SOUND Housing Campaign calls for an end to these payments.
The SOUND Housing Campaign also supports the investment of capital funds to ensure the safety and physical soundness of public housing, and calls upon the State to invest $100 million in NYCHA from Federal stimulus funds that are available for weatherization projects.