Curtis’s NYCHA Reforms
The New York City Housing Authority is in crisis, and we need practical and efficient solutions to remedy a host of issues facing our affordable housing complex. Billions of dollars in necessary repairs await the approval of our elected officials, who are prepared to sell us out to real estate moguls by giving away air and land use rights to build luxury housing for the rich. The future of affordable housing in New York City rests on our ability to demand action and protest the unwillingness of our politicians to aid millions of families across our city. With common sense and creativity, we can embolden our pursuit to reshape NYCHA and help millions of children and families find permanent and affordable housing in New York City.
- It is unconscionable that pertinent repair projects such as gas leaks, heating improvements, and elevator breakdowns can go months and years before being attended to. The residents of NYCHA deserve the compassion and willingness of City Hall, and I will work to ensure that all NYCHA residencies are repaired to mandated city codes of safety. To this end, I will allow for the procurement of emergency contracts that will allow private companies to expedite repair projects in NYCHA housing projects across the city.
- In order to ensure immediate assistance can be provided to NYCHA residents, housing superintendents and maintenance workers will be required to live on the premises of the housing complex and will be on call every hour of every week. New York City housing regulations require private landlords to have superintendents live on site of their rental property. It is now time to enforce this policy to ensure delays in repairs are no longer a constant reality for our housing project residents.
- As Mayor, I will continue to build on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 3 employment mandate to employ NYCHA residents. Residents will be provided skill training to become employable in a number of fields, specifically in the maintenance and construction fields. While reducing the number of unemployed residents within the affordable housing complex, this program will also increase the number of trained and skilled workers available to our city’s small and private companies.
- Work Probation Program – My work probation program would aid convicted NYCHA residents avoid the pitfalls of incarceration by enacting an option to become employed and conduct themselves responsible. If a resident of NYCHA has been convicted of a non-violent crime, my program would offer them the option to serve probation while being employed, either within the NYCHA structure itself or with our partnerships with local businesses. After serving their probation, the parolee would then have their criminal records expunged and would no longer have to report their record to future employers. While reducing the number of incarcerated within our city jails, this program will help raise the standard of living for many of our NYCHA residents. To ensure the program’s success, we will work in conjunction with the offices of the State and city District Attorneys of New York.
- At the heart of our pursuit to improve our affordable housing complexes is the safety of its residents. In conjunction with the local police precinct, I will initiate a program to form civilian patrol groups within individual housing projects to tackle the rising rate of violent and non violent crimes within our projects.
- I will commit to filling the 2300+ NYCHA apartments that are currently not being occupied, with some having been unoccupied for over 7 years. We must prioritize repairs in these units and place disadvantaged applicants in these apartments, while giving priority to the city’s homeless families.
- We will expand the “Adopt a Highway” program utilized by the Department of Transportation to increase tax revenue for the city government. In turn, the additional revenue will help bolster my administration’s efforts to repair every NYCHA housing unit and ensure that they are in accordance with city safety codes and regulations.
- My administration will also introduce a program aimed at taking advantage of back taxes owed by skilled workers such as plumbers, construction workers and laborers. As a form of payment for owed taxes, these individuals will be required to aid the city government in repairing NYCHA housing units. In turn, the city government will reduce/eliminate their owed tax revenue.
This platform is not a complete inventory of our planned initiatives. As we head into City Hall and meet with New Yorkers over the next several months, I hope to expand our knowledge of the NYCHA housing complex and increase transparency within our departments and agencies. To this end, I will instruct the newly appointed Housing commissioner to visit every city housing complex and attend town hall meetings with residents.
As we work to improve the NYCHA housing complex, we must change our perception of bureaucratic work. We must demand results and punish inaction. We must hold those inept and corrupt accountable for their inaction and improper behaviour. Unlike many of our elected officials, I seek to make it a priority of mine to speak my mind and demand bold and meaningful action from City Hall concerning the housing projects. In a city of million, nothing has ever halted our pursuit to improve the quality of our lives, and at a time of great distress and chaos, we must not be deterred.