Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, expressing concerns with the agency’s efforts to enter the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) into receivership.
“Every family deserves access to safe, decent, and affordable housing, and NYCHA’s residents are no exception,” the Chairwoman wrote. “However, putting NYCHA into a HUD receivership is a drastic measure that is more likely to exacerbate the existing problems. NYCHA is the nation’s largest public housing authority, and there are significant concerns about HUD’s ability to effectively manage a receivership of this scale, particularly in light of a growing staff vacancy rate at HUD.”
See the full text of the letter below.
General Deputy Assistant Secretary
Public and Indian Housing
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.,
Washington, DC 20410
Dear Ms. Blom:
I write to express my strong concerns with any efforts by the Department to enter the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) into receivership and urge you to find an alternative resolution for NYCHA and the residents that it serves.
I am aware of the serious issues regarding the deteriorating conditions at NYCHA's properties and its failure to protect its residents. There is no excuse for the mismanagement and outright fraud that caused countless families to suffer from a wide range of maintenance issues, including lead hazards that went unaddressed, threatening the long-term development of thousands of children. Every family deserves access to safe, decent, and affordable housing, and NYCHA's residents are no exception.
However, receivership is a drastic measure that is more likely to exacerbate the existing problems. NYCHA is the nation's largest public housing authority, and there are significant concerns about HUD's ability to effectively manage a receivership of this scale, particularly in light of a growing staff vacancy rate at HUD. In fact, HUD's Office of Inspector General recently raised serious concerns about HUD's oversight and management of the receivership of the Alexander County Housing Authority, which manages only 500 units compared with NYCHA's 175,000 units. Moreover, the Secretary has proposed cutting Federal investments in public housing, including eliminating funding for addressing public housing capital needs, suggesting that as receiver HUD would prioritize the elimination of these vital public housing units in New York City.
Public housing is a critical part of the federal strategy for addressing the rental housing crisis across the country on which hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely. For these reasons, I urge you to work closely with NYCHA, its residents, and local stakeholders to find an alternative resolution that will ensure that NYCHA residents can live in safe, decent, and affordable housing.