By: Paula Gavin, Board President, Fund for Public Housing and Board Member, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
As we reflect on the challenging days of 2020 and the cascading issues facing our nation in 2021, this is an extraordinary moment in time for New Yorkers to join together in unity to make an impact on our city through the “power of our example”.
Fund for Public Housing and Our Resident Commitment
Launched in 2016, the Fund for Public Housing is a 501c3 devoted to the residents of NYCHA. Our mission is to create and leverage resources and relationships to enhance the opportunities and quality of life for New York City Housing Authority Residents while uplifting the importance of public housing to our city. And it is our vision to invest in leadership development, workforce skills and economic mobility, and community health with a focus on NYCHA’s 100,000 young people as a centerpiece of our commitment to creating economic opportunity and equity for all NYCHA residents.
Your NYC NYCHA Neighbors
The 550,000 New Yorkers who call New York City Housing Authority home are our neighbors. 1 in 15 New Yorkers and 1 in 12 young adults (14-24 years of age) live in the 170,000 public housing apartments in over 300 neighborhoods in all five boroughs. 90% of residents are people of color, significantly more than the 65% diversity of New York City. NYCHA's population is larger than each of the cities of Miami, Kansas City, and Sacramento.
The median income of NYCHA residents is $25,000 versus the $79,000 median income of the city, with 50% living in poverty ($34,000 for a family of four). These 550,000 New Yorkers suffer twice the rate of chronic illness than others in our city, including asthma, diabetes, and hypertension. This is a time for hope and unity of purpose in our public housing community.
The Urgency of Now at NYCHA
There is an opportunity now and an urgency at NYCHA for the future. The NYCHA Blueprint for Change, announced in 2020, is a bold plan and a trifecta of powerful actions to make change happen.
The Transformation Plan will enable NYCHA to improve the delivery of services through a “Neighborhood Model” for property operations, among other organizational improvements focused on a culture of service.
The Stabilization and Preservation Plan is the first-ever plan to renovate and upgrade every public housing apartment in NYCHA. The daunting $40B investment goal will couple the existing Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) Program with a proposed new $25B initiative - Public Housing Preservation Trust. This Trust will keep public housing 100% public and affordable and ensure residents maintain their full rights and protections in perpetuity. The plan taps into a different federal funding source to generate a revenue stream and uses this revenue stream as collateral to pay for repairs in 100 percent of all apartments.
The Jobs and Recovery Strategy will result from the massive investment in our buildings and residents’ homes, generating jobs for NewYorkers, especially NYCHA residents. Every dollar invested in public housing is more than doubled in the regional economy, thanks to jobs and tax revenues generated, contributing in a major way to the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
An Opportunity for Action
The Fund for Public Housing embraces NYCHA’s mission and the Blueprint for Change as an imperative for our city! Join us in supporting and calling for hope and unity of purpose for the future of the residents of the New York City Housing Authority and our city. Learn more about the Fund for Public Housing at www.fundforpublichousing.org.