PlanNYCHA: A Roadmap for Preservation by JasonMatthews6


									PLAN NYCHA
A Roadmap For Preservation

We are homes. NYCHA provides or enables access to safe, stable, affordable housing
for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.

We are communities. Together NYCHA’s facilities, employees, residents, and partners
anchor neighborhoods throughout the city. NYCHA provides or enables access to
programs and services that empower, increase opportunity, and enhance quality of life
for residents and surrounding communities.

We are a developer. NYCHA increases the supply of affordable housing and community
facilities, including schools, retail, community centers, and other resources.

We are an employer. NYCHA directly employs thousands of people with safe,
meaningful, living-wage jobs that offer professional development and advancement
opportunities. A large percentage of employees—25 percent—are also public housing
and Section 8 residents.

We are an economic engine. NYCHA provides all of New York City with a unique
competitive advantage by organizing and allocating resources to provide low-income
families with the opportunity to achieve financial stability. In turn, these families actively
contribute to the economic cycle of the communities where they live and work. The
money that NYCHA pours into the economy through purchases of goods and services
produces jobs far beyond what NYCHA provides as a direct employer.

On the front cover: Edenwald Houses On this page: Highbridge Houses
                                                                        PLAN NYCHA
                                                                         A Roadmap For Preservation

December 2011

A Message from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ..................................................................2

A Message from NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea...............................................................3

Executive Summary ......................................................................................................................4

Plan NYCHA: A Roadmap for Preservation ..........................................................................7

Preserve the Public and Affordable Housing Asset ..........................................................11

Develop New Mixed-Use, Mixed-Income
Housing and Resources ........................................................................................................14

Ensure Financial Stability .....................................................................................................18

Expedite Maintenance and Repairs ....................................................................................22

Strengthen the Frontline .......................................................................................................24

Improve Safety and Security ................................................................................................26

Optimize Apartment Usage and Ensure Rental Equity ......................................................29

Connect Residents and Communities to Critical Services ...............................................32

Excel in Customer Service ....................................................................................................35

Create a High-Performing NYCHA .......................................................................................39

Conclusion ..............................................................................................................................42

Appendix: NYCHA’S Mission and Rich History ..................................................................43

Appendix: The Process Leading to Plan NYCHA ...............................................................46

Source Notes .........................................................................................................................51

Acknowledgments .................................................................................................................52

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                                               Plan NYCHA   1
                 A MESSAGE FROM MAYOR
                 MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG
                 Dear Friends:

                 New York City is proud to be the home of the country’s oldest, largest, and best public housing system.
                 Like most public housing authorities, NYCHA has faced extraordinary challenges over the past decade.
                 However, thanks to Chairman John Rhea’s energetic and innovative leadership, our Administration has
                 continued to provide quality affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.

                 This mission is at the core of Plan NYCHA, an ambitious call to foster partnerships and maintain and
                 improve NYCHA services. With both local and federal government budgets tight, nonprofit and private
                 sector organizations can help public housing achieve fiscal stability and strengthen our communities.
                 Through these efforts, we are confident we can increase economic opportunities and improve the quality
                 of life for NYCHA’s more than 600,000 residents.

                 Our Administration is committed to investing in public housing. Together with Chairman Rhea and
                 NYCHA, we look forward to Plan NYCHA helping us deliver more of the affordable homes that hard-
                 working New Yorkers deserve.

                 Michael R. Bloomberg

2   Plan NYCHA                                                                            NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
On behalf of the Board of the New York City Housing Authority I am
pleased to present you with Plan NYCHA: A Roadmap for Preservation. This
ambitious plan is a call to action to preserve Public Housing for current and
future generations of New Yorkers.

Throughout 2011, hundreds of people committed to preserving public
housing joined together to develop critical plan imperatives that will be
promoted over the next five years and beyond. Public housing residents,
resident leaders including the Citywide Council of Presidents, community
advocates, and NYCHA employees—all have given of their time, experience,                                NYCHA Board:
and expertise to ensure that we preserve this valuable resource.                                        Victor A. Gonzalez,
                                                                                                        Board Member; John
                                                                                                        B. Rhea, Chairman;
Together we have accomplished so much to enhance our communities and support NYCHA’s families.          Emily Youssouf, Vice
Our progress is significant, but our work is ongoing. As we move forward we will need the unwavering    Chair; and Margarita
and broad-based support of multiple stakeholders to ensure that the transformative vision outlined in   López, Board Member

Plan NYCHA is realized.

Join us as we embark on this collaborative journey toward a stronger, more efficient and customer-
focused New York City Housing Authority.

John B. Rhea

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                            Plan NYCHA          3
Community Conversation, Manhattanville Community Center

                         EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
                           A Call to Action to Preserve New York City Public Housing
NYCHA’s Mission:         Plan NYCHA: A Roadmap for Preservation is a call to action to ensure that public housing
To increase              remains available for current and future generations of New Yorkers. Despite facing unprecedented
                         challenges—from overwhelming funding shortages, to an aging and decaying housing stock in
                         desperate need of repair, to a growing wait list of almost 161,000 families for public housing,
for low- and
                         and about 125,000 waiting for a Section 8 voucher—the New York City Housing Authority
moderate-income          (NYCHA) is leading the charge to meet these obstacles head on. We need to overcome these
New Yorkers by           challenges together; only through sustained, meaningful collaboration can we ensure that this
providing safe,          invaluable resource will not be diminished. With recognition that a major transformation is
affordable               needed both within the NYCHA organization and throughout the supporting environment,
housing and              we are calling on all public housing stakeholders—residents, policymakers, advocates, NYCHA
facilitating             staff, and New Yorkers at large—to join the fight to preserve New York City public housing.

access to social
                           Our Vision for the Future
and community            Through a transparent and inclusive planning process, NYCHA has engaged thousands of staff, residents,
services.                and resident leaders, including the Citywide Council of Presidents; as well as partners across the City and
                         country to solicit ideas and seek guidance, as we develop our ambitious roadmap for the future. As we
                         move forward, NYCHA must:
                            Evolve the model for public housing and rental assistance in New York City to make it financially,
                            socially, and environmentally sustainable;
                            Provide or enable better access to decent, safe, and affordable housing for current customers;
                            Increase the number of New Yorkers we serve;

4     Plan NYCHA                                                                                    NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                            Executive Summary

   Support positive outcomes for NYCHA residents and communities;
   Transform into a high-performing organization that excels at customer service.
   This bold and transformative vision to preserve public housing for New York City will require
   NYCHA, along with all of its stakeholders, to work collaboratively and unceasingly.

  Strong Headwinds: Major Challenges Facing NYCHA
Recent years have brought unparalleled fiscal challenges for NYCHA, as we strive to preserve the              Approximately
178,000 units of affordable housing and create new stock. In addition, we are now serving a broader           70 percent of
population—seniors aging in place, individuals with disabilities and the chronic unemployed and un-           NYCHA’s
deremployed—with needs that go well beyond housing. Major challenges facing NYCHA today include:
   Unprecedented financial crisis. Since 2002, NYCHA has received $700 million less in operating
                                                                                                              are 40 years old
   subsidies than its federal funding formula requires. Similarly, despite an escalating need for funding
   to repair and maintain apartments and buildings, NYCHA’s capital subsidies have been cut by a
                                                                                                              or older.
   third over the past decade. These crises have resulted in a structural operating deficit and a $13
   billion capital shortfall through 2015.
   Families hanging in the balance. With vacancy rates in New York City remaining at an all-time low, the
   most impacted are low- to moderate-income families. Nearly 161,000 families are on the waiting list
   for public housing, and approximately 125,000 families are on the waiting list for Section 8 housing.
   Increasing reliance of NYCHA residents on a wide range of community and social service programs.
   Our programs and services are often a lifeline to residents, especially children, teens, single parent
   households, seniors, and families in crisis; thousands of residents use these services that directly
   cost NYCHA more than $75 million, only $12 million of which is funded by grants. Rather than
   retreating from these challenges, NYCHA is tackling them creatively with new determination.

  Plan NYCHA: the Imperatives, the Challenges, the Plan and the Call to Action
Plan NYCHA was developed in a truly collaborative fashion—involving a wide range of participants
from public housing residents and resident leadership (including the Citywide Council of Presidents) to
community advocates and NYCHA employees. While Plan NYCHA will continuously evolve, it has ten
core critical imperatives that NYCHA and its stakeholders will champion over the next five years and
beyond. These imperatives are each accompanied by a specific plan, respective challenges and a
call to action for the various public housing stakeholders.
1. Preserve the public and affordable housing asset
    NYCHA will clearly prioritize its capital needs, improve capital operations, and pursue creative
    public-private funding solutions to close the gap on unmet capital improvements.
2. Develop new mixed-use, mixed-income housing and resources
    NYCHA will analyze financing options to develop new affordable housing as part of the Mayor’s
    New Marketplace Housing Plan, and to create community and commercial facilities to serve
    residents and employ New Yorkers. NYCHA will also explore options for building mixed-income
    and market-rate housing, and for monetizing land and development rights to fund existing
    NYCHA capital needs.
3. Ensure financial stability
    NYCHA will diversify its government funding, increase earned revenue, and create new
    business-development capabilities and public-private partnerships to ensure a balanced budget.

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                  Plan NYCHA      5
                   4. Expedite maintenance and repairs
                       NYCHA will ensure that all units are in a state of good repair and that all future needed repairs
                       are scheduled and completed in a timely manner.
                   5. Strengthen the frontline
                       NYCHA will become an efficient, high-productivity organization with a strong focus on serving
                       all its properties. NYCHA will be capably staffed with an adequately resourced professional corps
                       of frontline employees. NYCHA will incorporate the best practices from property management
                       companies to provide excellent service and high-quality management throughout its portfolio.
                   6. Improve safety and security
                       NYCHA will work with residents and law enforcement to create secure, healthy neighborhoods where
                       residents, employees, and their visitors feel safe, both on NYCHA grounds and inside buildings.
                   7. Optimize apartment usage and ensure rental equity
                       NYCHA will transition families to housing units appropriate for their needs; maximize the number
                       of families served by Section 8; phase in rent increases to households paying less than 30 percent
                       of their income; and encourage higher-income families to transition out of public housing.
                   8. Connect residents and communities to critical services
                       NYCHA will seek funding from and collaborate with new and existing partners who offer
                       high-quality and results-oriented programming, ensuring that residents receive the maximum
                       benefit from critically-needed community and social services.
                   9. Excel in customer service
Community              NYCHA must communicate more effectively with its customers in order to streamline service and
Conversation for       meet their needs. NYCHA will become a customer-focused organization that strives to make each
youth, Rutgers
                       interaction a positive experience.
Community Center
                   10. Create a high-performing NYCHA
                       As a high-performing organization, efficiency, operational excellence, and continuous improvement
                       will be championed. Empowered employees will be capable of and held accountable for helping
                       NYCHA achieve its goals, and NYCHA will celebrate and reward outstanding performance.

                     Conclusion and Call to Action
                   Despite today’s challenges, NYCHA’s original 1934 mission remains unwavering: to increase opportunities
                   for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access
                   to social and community services. Over time, NYCHA’s ability to fulfill this mission has been stretched,
                   and we are now being asked to do more than ever before. We are rising to this new call of duty, but we
                   cannot do it alone.
                       We will succeed only through partnerships and new strategies to provide tailored support to our res-
                   idents. We want to be flexible enough to deal with today’s realities of our more diverse customer needs,
                   but not lose sight of our fundamental goals: to see families move on and not continue to need our
                   services. But for those we do serve, we need broad-based support from all public housing stakeholders
                   in government, in the non-profit community and in the private sector to maintain our commitment
                   to our core mission. We are asking for your support. As laid out in this Call to Action, we are prepared
                   to do our part, and we hope you will join us in this noble effort to support New York City’s families.

6     Plan NYCHA                                                                           NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                  A Roadmap for Preservation

Community Conversation, Queensbridge Community Center

  A Call to Action to Preserve New York City Public Housing
We ask you to join us in our fight to preserve New      Achieving real, enduring, and positive change for
York City public housing. The New York City             the families NYCHA serves will require a transfor-
Housing Authority (NYCHA), as one of the most           mation of NYCHA’s operations equal to the chal-
visible support systems for working class and low-      lenges we face. Without change, one of New York’s
income families, has come under assault over the        most precious assets—public housing—is at risk.
last decade. We have encountered unprecedented              Transformation will require a holistic ap-
funding cuts, an aging and decaying housing stock       proach: NYCHA must change the way we operate,
in desperate need of repair, and almost 300,000         how we pursue funding, and how we manage our
families on the waiting list for public and Section     resources. Most importantly, transformation will
8 housing. In the face of these daunting chal-          require NYCHA, our many stakeholders, and ev-
lenges, NYCHA is working harder than ever to            ery New Yorker who believes in the importance of
preserve New York City’s public housing asset.          public and affordable housing to come together—
    NYCHA remains committed to investing                to stand united. Only through sustained, meaning-
in our communities, our capabilities and our            ful collaboration can we ensure that this invaluable
people—this is the charge behind Plan NYCHA:            resource will be available for future generations.
A Roadmap for Preservation. In recent years, our        Only together can we secure and strengthen the
commitment has been challenged as never before.         homes and communities that will ensure that

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                Plan NYCHA   7
                                                                                       affordable housing for current customers
                                                                                       Increase the number of customers we serve
                                                                                       Support positive outcomes for NYCHA
                                                                                       customers and communities
                                                                                       Transform into a high-performing
                                                                                       organization that excels at customer service
                                                                                   We have and will continue to engage staff, resi-
                                                                                   dents, and partners across the City and the country
                                                                                   to solicit ideas and seek guidance, as we develop
                                                                                   our ambitious roadmap for the future. Through
                                                                                   a transparent and inclusive planning process,
                                                                                   NYCHA has already involved thousands of key
                                                                                   stakeholders including staff, residents, elected offi-
                                                                                   cials, unions, funders, community partners, policy
                                                                                   experts, and other supporters of public and afford-
Community Conversation, Melrose Community Center                                   able housing through engagements such as focus
                                                                                   groups, surveys, and community roundtables.
                         New York City remains the most vibrant, diverse,
NYCHA’s vision           and celebrated city in the world.                             Our engagement has yielded ten core critical
for the future is            In this spirit, we present to you Plan NYCHA:         imperatives, which we will develop in detail in
                         A Roadmap for Preservation. Plan NYCHA is                 Plan NYCHA:
to ensure the
                         much more than a strategic plan: it is a roadmap,         1. Preserve the public and affordable
preservation of
                         a call to action, the building of a movement and a            housing asset
public housing           shared set of priorities. It is also the beginning of a   2. Develop new mixed-use, mixed-income
and increase the         conversation that seeks solutions to the stark chal-          housing and resources
supply of afford-        lenges we face to provide housing, one of the most        3. Ensure financial stability
able housing for         basic human needs, in a complex and changing              4. Expedite maintenance and repairs
current and future       New York City environment.                                5. Strengthen the frontline
generations in                                                                     6. Improve safety and security

New York City.
                           Our Vision for the Future                               7. Optimize apartment usage and ensure rental
                         NYCHA’s vision for the future is to ensure the                equity
                         preservation of public housing and increase               8. Connect residents and communities to
                         the supply of affordable housing for current                  critical services
                         and future generations in New York City. Our              9. Excel in customer service
                         plan to realize this vision is aspirational and           10. Create a high-performing NYCHA
                         transformative, and we cannot do it alone.
                             In the next five years and beyond, NYCHA              To succeed in meeting these imperatives, Plan
                         will work with all of its stakeholders to:                NYCHA must be a living document that influences
                             Evolve the model for public housing and               future behavior, inspiring collective action. We
                             rental assistance in New York City to make            are all NYCHA; we know that NYCHA’s build-
                             it financially, socially, and environmentally         ings, people and communities are a precious asset
                             sustainable                                           and source of opportunity for New York City.
                             Provide or enable access to decent, safe, and         Only together can everyone—in collaboration—

8     Plan NYCHA                                                                                      NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                                           A Roadmap for Preservation

preserve both the asset and the opportunity, for
                                                                                                    Cumulative Federal Operating Funding Shortfall
current and future generations of New Yorkers.

  Strong Headwinds: Major                                                             $-
                                                                                             2002   2003   2004   2005   2006   2007   2008   2009   2010   2011

  Challenges Facing NYCHA
Recent years have brought unparalleled challenges                                   $(100)

                                                           In Millions of Dollars
for NYCHA: shrinking funding sources, unprece-                                      $(200)
dented cuts to the nation’s public housing budgets,
an economic recession driving increases in ap-                                      $(300)

plications for housing assistance, an aging inven-                                  $(400)
tory of buildings, a mandate to not only preserve
178,000 units of affordable housing but also to                                     $(500)

create 6,000 new units, and a population in greater                                 $(600)
need than most of us have seen in a lifetime.
    Unprecedented financial crisis. Struggling
under the weight of annual operating deficits and
severely underfunded capital needs, NYCHA is at
risk of moving from financial distress to insolvency.   Public Housing and Section 8 programs com-
Since 2002, NYCHA has been deprived of                  bined, with nearly 161,000 families on the wait-                                  “The more we
approximately $700 million in operating subsidies       ing list for public housing, and approximately
                                                                                                                                          stay involved, the
due to partial funding by Congress. This is in          125,000 families on the waiting list for Section 8
                                                                                                                                          more we have an
addition to the cumulative $700 million deficit of      housing. With the waiting lists growing, NYCHA
NYCHA’s recently federalized 21 developments            must play an even greater role in developing af-
                                                                                                                                          opportunity to
during this time. More significantly, there is a        fordable housing.                                                                 keep ourselves
$13 billion dollar gap between what NYCHA will              Residents are dependent on a wide range of                                    informed.”
receive in capital funding and what its buildings       NYCHA community and social service pro-                                           Inez Turpin
and infrastructure needs are through 2015.              grams. Each year, more than $75 million goes to                                   Campos Plaza Resident
    Escalating need for funding to repair and           support programs, services, and outreach initia-
maintain apartments and buildings. NYCHA has            tives on which thousands of NYCHA residents
an aging housing stock—70 percent of NYCHA’s            and surrounding communities rely. Only $12
developments are already 40 years or older—and          million of this is covered by grants; NYCHA
a widening backlog of desperately needed repairs        funds the remainder from its operating budget.
and upgrades. These needs increase each year, and if    Our programs and services are often a lifeline to
they are not immediately addressed, there is signifi-   residents, especially children, teens, single parent
cant risk of losing units and/or entire buildings to    households, seniors, and families in crisis.
decay or disrepair.                                         NYCHA’s goals are ambitious and will not be
    Families hanging in the balance. NYCHA              easy to accomplish in the face of these many chal-
faces unparalleled pressure to accommodate the          lenges. But we are guided by our original mission,
growing list of families seeking affordable hous-       which remains unwavering since our founding
ing. Vacancy rates in New York City have been at        in 1934: to increase opportunities for low- and
an all-time low, and those hardest hit by this are      moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe,
low- to moderate-income families.1 More than            affordable housing and facilitating access to social
630,000 New Yorkers are served by NYCHA’s               and community services.

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                                               Plan NYCHA       9
                  PLAN NYCHA:
                  Plan NYCHA was developed in a truly collaborative fashion involving a

                  wide range of participants, from public housing residents and resident

                  leaders (including the Citywide Council of Presidents) to community

                  advocates, to the NYCHA team with Chairman John Rhea at the helm

                  along with the Board (see Appendix: The Process Leading to Plan NYCHA).

                  While we expect Plan NYCHA to be dynamic in nature and continuously

                  evolving, it has, at its core, ten core imperatives that NYCHA—along with

                  its stakeholders—will champion over the next five years and beyond. In

                  the pages that follow, we go into detail about each of the imperatives,

                  their respective challenges, the plan for the future, and the concrete

                  steps that are needed in the short and long term to achieve our collective

                  vision. Within each section, we also clarify the call to action to ensure

                  that we are all informed about how we can be a part of the solution.

10   Plan NYCHA                                                               NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                                                                     Preserve the Asset

                                                                                                                                                        “The first things
                                                                                                                                                        that come to mind
                                                                                                                                                        when I hear the
                                                                                                                                                        word NYCHA are
Federal stimulus preservation work, Whitman-Ingersoll Houses
                                                                                                                                                        affordable hous-
THE IMPERATIVE: PRESERVE THE PUBLIC                                                                                                                     ing, outreach,

AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING ASSET                                                                                                                            involvement, and
                                                                                                                                                        just helping
More than 70 percent of NYCHA buildings are                    ing sources. NYCHA has invested approximately $2                                         people afford a
over 40 years old. With older buildings come                   billion between 2006 and 2010, leaving an estimated
                                                                                                                                                        place to live.”
complex needs. Older buildings require capi-                   $5.5 billion in unmet need through the end of 2010.
                                                                                                                                                        Donovan Mendoza
tal improvements to repair roofs, elevators and                For 2011 through 2015, NYCHA anticipates invest-
                                                                                                                                                        Walt Whitman
brickwork. Major upgrades are needed regularly to              ing another $1.5 billion against an estimated $9                                         Houses Resident
ensure that heating, plumbing, and other systems               billion need. Simply put, there will be an estimated
continue to function properly. Ongoing mainte-                 $13 billion in deferred capital investments by
nance and repairs to both the interior and exterior            2015 if we do not secure more funding.
of our buildings and apartments are needed to
keep them well-maintained and free of disrepair
                                                                         Age of NYCHA’s 2,602 Buildings, as of October 31, 2011
caused by outside elements or day-to-day wear                      35%
and tear. Preserving our existing buildings and
apartments will enable NYCHA to continue assist-
ing those who already live in public housing and                   25%

those who will need this assistance in the future.                 20%

  The Challenges                                                   15%

Unfunded capital investments: In 2006, NYCHA                       10%

assessed its maintenance and repair needs. That                     5%
Physical Needs Assessment (PNA) estimated that
NYCHA needed to invest $25 billion over the next                           0-10          10-19          20-29         30-39         40-49         50-59           60-69       70 & above
                                                                           years         years          years         years         years         years           years          years
15 years to maintain current housing stock in a state                    1 building   89 buildings   314 buildings 327 buildings 470 buildings 765 buildings   487 buildings 149 buildings

of good repair. These needs far exceed current fund-

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                                                                Plan NYCHA                11
                              Capital Funding well short of $25 Billion
                             2006 Physical Needs Assessment (PNA)
                                                                                                              If NYCHA does not have the funding needed
                         9                                                                                for capital improvements, or the detailed infor-
In Billions of Dollars

                                                                                                          mation to guide decisions on how best to allocate
                                                                                                          scarce resources, there is a risk that our buildings
                                                                              $13 Billion Unmet Capital   will deteriorate to the point where it will be cost
                                      $5.5                  $7.5              Need Through 2015
                                                                                                          prohibitive to repair and maintain them—and
                         3                                                                                keep the units online.
                         2                                                                                    Rising Energy Costs: A combination of
                                      $2.0                  $1.5                                          escalating energy expenses, along with boilers
                         0                                                      Unmet Need                and ancillary heating systems that have exceeded
                                   2006-2010             2011-2015              Actual/Budgeted
                                                                                                          their useful life, make it important that NYCHA
                                                                                                          invest in energy retrofit and upgrades. NYCHA
                                                                                                          spends approximately $500 million a year on
                                                    Exacerbating the situation is the need for a          energy costs, which could be used elsewhere if we
“We have to                                    detailed, up-to-date, post-2006 inventory of the           were to reduce our usage.
become more                                    physical condition of each building in our system.

energy efficient in                            Without this data, NYCHA cannot accurately assess            The Plan: NYCHA will clearly
                                               the number and category of capital improvements              prioritize its capital needs, improve
public housing.
                                               required, nor the estimated cost of completing the           capital operations, and pursue
The green agenda                               necessary work across our 2,600 buildings.                   creative funding solutions to close
would bring to                                      Shortfalls in subsidies: NYCHA relies on federal        the gap on capital improvements.
public housing a                               subsidies for 80 percent of the funding needed to
stability that we                              complete these repairs and renovations. However,              NOW
currently do not                               this funding source has been steadily reduced for             We will:
                                               decades. From 2001 to 2011, annual federal capital            Complete the current Physical Needs Assess-
have if we
                                               subsidies have declined from $419 million to $273             ment (PNA) to provide accurate replacement
continue to utilize
                                               million—a 35 percent decrease. There have also                costs for systems and components that have
resources without                              been reductions in funding. Consequently, essen-              outlived their effectiveness
understanding                                  tial projects that will prevent the failure of building       Use PNA to revise our capital plan, assigning
that those re-                                 systems or components have been delayed, and the              high priority to capital improvements that
sources are not                                gap between funds needed for those projects and               directly impact residents’ quality of life
unlimited.”                                    funds available is ever-widening. These delays have           (such as elevator upgrades)
Margarita López                                sparked a growing backlog of capital projects.                Complete repair work that becomes more
NYCHA Board Member                                  Living with chronic disrepair: Residents                 costly if left unaddressed
                                               are the first to feel the impacts of decaying                 Secure additional funding through HUD’s Capi-
                                               infrastructure. Many now live in buildings                    tal Fund Financing Program mechanism and is-
                                               with frequent elevator outages, heating issues,               sue bonds to address critical needs such as brick
                                               and leaks. NYCHA buildings are seemingly                      work and roof work, where disrepair can cause
                                               permanently surrounded by sidewalk sheds, or                  leaks or unsafe conditions in residents’ homes
                                               scaffolding. NYCHA lacks funding to complete the              Improve Capital Projects Division processes,
                                               necessary capital improvements, let alone invest              coordinating more effectively with Property
                                               in energy efficiency and technology upgrades that             Management to identify and prioritize needs
                                               would ultimately lower life cycle costs.                      of the properties

12                           Plan NYCHA                                                                                     NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                                 Preserve the Asset

   Utilize a variety of project delivery methods         leaders, resident leaders, and community advo-
   (such as design-build) to meet the varying            cates to garner input and support for the devel-
   needs of our portfolio, and deliver quality           opment of a long-term capital plan for NYCHA.
   work on time and within budget                        Areas of that plan will include a framework to al-
   Work with HUD to implement energy perfor-             low NYCHA to better cooperate on zoning efforts,
   mance contracts to re-invest the savings into         to raise revenue from the transfer of development
   capital improvements and green retrofits              rights, and to work with our housing partners to
                                                         ensure NYCHA receives its fair share of New York
   LONGER TERM                                           State’s volume cap for private-activity bonds.
   We will:                                                  NYCHA will also work with the Department of
   Work collaboratively with Housing Preservation        Buildings and the City Council to address Local Law
   and Development (HPD) and Department of               11, which mandates sidewalk sheds and other pro-
   City Planning (DCP) to create a mechanism to          tections for buildings that are under construction.
   apply inclusionary zoning for the rehabilitation      Compliance with this law has a significant impact
   and preservation of NYCHA units                       on NYCHA’s budget and on the quality of life of its
   Seek agreements with HUD to reinvest                  residents. NYCHA will work with these partners to
   operational savings produced by Plan NYCHA            ensure NYCHA receives priority for a share of the
   into capital improvements                             city’s capital funding to comply with Local Law 11.
   Continue to improve methods for per-                      NYCHA will need to work with all of its stake-
   forming capital work and expand its service           holders, as well as several city agency partners, to
   delivery models                                       support resident training and hiring efforts in our
   Work with federal, state and city partners to         federally-funded capital program. NYCHA will also
   identify funding resources to close the capital gap   collaborate with residents, advocates, employees, and
   Continue to seek creative funding solutions us-       city agencies to ensure that capital investments in-
   ing tools, such as private capital and tax credits,   corporate environmentally sustainable best practices.
   develop new, mixed-use, mixed-income hous-
   ing and resources (see Imperative on page 14);
   and monetize land and transferable develop-
   ment rights, commonly known as “air rights”
   to fund capital improvements
   Partner with HUD and energy companies
   (ESCOs) to develop a comprehensive invest-
   ment strategy to upgrade energy systems
   and reduce operating costs

  The Call to Action
Preserving the vital asset of public housing will
require additional capital and skilled professionals
to turn this investment into well-constructed,
well-maintained buildings.
    Raising capital will require the support of a
number of partners. First, NYCHA will work with
HUD, City Council, city agency partners, union           Federal stimulus preservation work,Whitman-Ingersoll Houses

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                        Plan NYCHA   13
Markham Gardens townhouses

                       THE IMPERATIVE:
                       DEVELOP NEW MIXED-USE, MIXED-INCOME
                       HOUSING AND RESOURCES
                       The need for more affordable housing in NYC is        of the problem. Despite New York City’s best
                       massive. In 2002, Mayor Michael Bloomberg released    efforts to bring about more affordable hous-
                       the most ambitious affordable housing plan in the     ing and preserve what already exists, the stock
                       country—the New Housing Marketplace Plan—with         of affordable housing is shrinking in the City.
                       a focus on creating and preserving 165,000 units      Federal, state and city governments have all
                       of affordable housing by the end of 2014.2            stopped funding the development of new
                           While the New Housing Marketplace Plan has        public housing and in 1998, the U.S. Congress
                       already created and preserved more than 124,000       passed an amendment that capped the number
                       units, public and affordable housing continues to     of traditional public housing units for federal
                       be sought after by many low- and middle-income        government subsidy. Consequently, it became
                       New Yorkers who are in need of a decent and           nearly impossible to add more units to the public
                       safe place to live.3 There is not enough affordable   housing inventory, regardless of demand.
                       housing for all New Yorkers in need, and we must          Since 1985, fewer than 8,000 public housing
                       develop new offerings to accommodate them             units have been developed in New York City.
                       moving forward.                                       Furthermore, there are fewer affordable units.
                                                                             Between 2002 and 2008, the city lost more than
                             The Challenges                                  178,000 rental apartments with reported monthly
                       Shrinking housing stock: The citywide vacancy         rents of less than $1,000 (inflation adjusted).4
                       rate of less than 3 percent is merely one part        Many of these units were lost through deregula-

14    Plan NYCHA                                                                              NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                         Mixed-Use, Mixed-Income Housing

tion or through the expiration of other subsidy       NOW
programs such as Mitchell-Lama.5 Preserving           We will:
existing affordable housing and creating new          Create and implement a clear, long-term devel-
units will require meaningful, sustained              opment strategy for the entire NYCHA portfolio,
collaboration from housing agencies and               including all land and development assets that
community advocates.                                  could potentially accommodate new housing
    A changing model: The model for creating          Target the ideal mix of financial returns, socio-
and preserving public housing in America has          economic impact, and environmental sustain-
changed. In this new environment, NYCHA must          ability to maximize the Triple Bottom Line
develop innovative approaches to identifying and      Conduct a comprehensive analysis of NYCHA
tapping into alternative sources of funding. New      land to determine the most beneficial uses
York City’s most valuable commodity is the land       Create self-sustaining investment and develop-
it owns, which could be more efficiently utilized.    ment affiliates to finance and execute transactions
NYCHA currently owns a significant portion of         Ensure the timely and successful execution of
this land. While NYCHA is not in a position to        current projects, including the construction of the
be the sole financier of new government subsi-        Harlem RBI charter school, along with new units
dized housing, it can use its resources smartly       of affordable housing; the mixed finance redevel-
to assist in:                                         opment of Prospect Plaza and Randolph Houses;
    Building new affordable and supportive            as well as specialized housing, such as the Van
    housing for families and seniors                  Dyck Supportive Housing Development Project.
    Developing market-rate and mixed-income             – The construction of Harlem RBI presents
    housing that will generate dollars to subsidize        NYCHA with a unique mixed-use develop-
    the creation of new affordable housing or the          ment opportunity that includes a charter
    preservation of existing NYCHA buildings               school for 450 students and a minimum of
    Developing community facilities to serve
    both NYCHA residents and the surrounding
                                                      Housing Vacancy Rates
    neighborhood                                      Vacancy rate less than 5% is considered an official housing emergency under New York state law
    Examining retail opportunities that will          12        11.4%
    provide employment for NYCHA residents
    and serve NYCHA communities                       10

  The Plan: NYCHA will analyze
  financing options to develop new                     6

  affordable housing as part of Mayor
  Bloomberg’s New Marketplace Hous-                    4
                                                                                 2.91%           3.12%
  ing Plan, and to create community                    2                                                                                                             1.8%
  and commercial facilities to serve
  residents and employ New Yorkers.                    0
                                                                U.S.1            NYC2            Bronx2         Brooklyn2 Manhattan2              Queens2          NYCHA3
  NYCHA will also explore options for
  building mixed-income and market-                        1-Christie, Les. “Housing Market: 11.4% of All U.S. Homes Are Vacant - Mar. 28, 2011.” CNNMoney - Business,
                                                             Financial and Personal Finance News. 28 Mar. 2011. Web. 21 Dec. 2011.

  rate housing, and for monetizing                         2-New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Housing New York City 2008.
                                                             By Moon Wha Lee. New York, 2011. Print Note: Staten Island’s sample size too small for an accurate rate.

  development rights to fund existing                      3-NYCHA Executive Information System. 7 Dec. 2011. Raw data. NYCHA, New York.

  NYCHA capital needs.

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                                                       Plan NYCHA            15
                                                                                           in approximately 140 NYCHA public hous-
       NYCHA new unit development 2004-2011
                                                                                           ing units and a minimum of 155 affordable
                                                                                           housing units. This is the first RFP for a
1000                              Completed Projects
                                  (by # units)                                              Mixed-Finance development between
                                  Projects in Construction                                  NYCHA and HPD that results in the
 800                              (by # units)
                                                                                            combining of both public housing and
                                  Projects (by # units)                                     affordable residential units.
                                                                                          – With the Van Dyke Supportive Housing
                                                                                            Development Project, NYCHA expects to

                                                                                            construct a new mid-rise building with 90
                                                                                            to 100 units, accessory parking if needed,
                                                                                            and social services for the residents of
                                                                                            Brownsville. At least 30 percent of the
         Bronx   Manhattan   Staten       Queens      Brooklyn                              units will be reserved for homeless fami-
                                                                                            lies and families at risk of homelessness.
                                                                                            The remaining units will be made avail-
                                    87 units of affordable housing for residents            able to low-income households. All units
                                    of East Harlem. The proposed 13-story                   will be affordable to households earning
                                    project, which will be located within                   up to 60 percent of AMI; 25 percent of
                                    NYCHA’s Washington Houses, represents                   the low-income units will be set aside for
                                    a strategic investment in the community                 NYCHA residents. The social services
                                    as it will increase the affordable housing              provided will not only serve the residents
                                    stock, add a high quality educational facil-            of the new building but also the greater
                                    ity, and generate additional neighborhood               Brownsville community.
                                    services and employment opportunities.
                                  – Based on the Re-Vision Prospect Plaza               LONGER TERM
                                    Community Plan developed in June                    We will:
                                    2010, Prospect Plaza sites will include             Create a long-term plan for maximizing the
                                    approximately 360 affordable rental                 value of NYCHA’s assets, including land,
                                    units, including at least 80 public hous-           buildings, and development rights
                                    ing units. Demolition of the remaining              Pursue partnerships with private investors
                                    Prospect Plaza towers will be completed             and public agencies to develop affordable
                                    by NYCHA prior to the conveyance of the             and mixed-income housing, as well as non-
                                    sites. To further NYCHA’s and the City’s            residential projects such as new retail and
                                    goals of incorporating the latest green             school development on select NYCHA sites
                                    building technologies into upcoming                 Generate revenue to fund ongoing operations
                                    projects and promoting design excellence,           and capital improvements for existing
                                    all buildings in the project must comply            public housing from ground leases, or
                                    with the Enterprise Community Partner’s             partnership leases
                                    Green Communities program.                          Apply for tax credits and other sources of
                                  – For Harlem’s Randolph Houses, the RFP               funding to support the development and
                                      calls for the extensive rehabilitation and        preservation of residential buildings and
                                      preservation of 36 historic buildings resulting   community centers

16       Plan NYCHA                                                                                   NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                      Mixed-Use, Mixed-Income Housing

                                     Investigate the use of transferable development
                                     rights (TDRs), commonly known as “air rights,”
                                     to generate additional income for the NYCHA
                                     Utilize inclusionary zoning policy to enable
                                     private developers to increase the density
                                     of their new buildings by either: developing
                                     on-site or off-site affordable housing units; or
                                     preserving existing public housing units that
                                     will ensure their long-term affordability
                                                                                        “We have some
                                    The Call to Action                                  particular needs
                                  NYCHA’s resources and capacity, as well as its
                                  commitment to creating economic, environmen-
                                                                                        for populations
                                  tal and social impact value—the Triple Bottom         like our seniors,
                                  Line—make it one of the most important partners       who need hous-
                                  in fulfilling Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing           ing that is built
                                  Marketplace Plan. But NYCHA cannot realize            to suit their
                                  this potential alone. We must work with HUD,          lifestyles, their
                                  state and city leaders, city agencies—including the
                                                                                        concerns and
                                  New York City Housing Development Corpora-
                                                                                        their needs, so
                                  tion (HDC) and the Department of Housing
                                  Preservation and Development (HPD)—resi-
                                                                                        it’s about the
                                  dents, and advocates to first garner support for      construction of
                                  NYCHA’s long-term development strategy.               new housing.”
                                      Furthermore, NYCHA requires the support           NYCHA Chairman
                                  of HUD, HPD, HDC, elected leaders, advocates,         John B. Rhea
                                  and residents on its application for New Market
                                  Tax Credits and similar efforts to secure ad-
                                  ditional tax credit funding. NYCHA must work
                                  with the City Council and other partners in city
                                  government to raise revenue from the transfer
                                  of development rights.
                                      Finally, NYCHA must work with HUD, HPD,
                                  HDC, Department for the Aging (DFTA), com-
                                  munity advocates, and residents to ensure that
                                  public housing residents receive preference for
                                  new affordable housing in New York City, particu-
                                  larly affordable senior and supportive housing.

                                  Elliott Chelsea mixed-income affordable housing

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                            Plan NYCHA    17
Highbridge Houses

                     THE IMPERATIVE:
                     When federal, state, and city governments first       social services previously provided by the respec-
“As NYCHA            built public housing across the nation, hous-         tive authority. NYCHA must make tough choices
continues to         ing authorities were flush and well-funded. They      and pursue similar innovations in order to continue
                     were able to maintain their developments to high      providing safe, affordable housing in the current
grapple with
                     standards, offer community programs, and pro-         economic and political climate.
Federal budget
                     vide social services to their residents. Today, the       To continue serving our customers, NYCHA
cuts, we will seek   new reality is vastly different. Funds provided to    must evolve the existing model for public housing
innovative new       NYCHA have become less dependable. In addition,       and Section 8 rental assistance by maximizing op-
financing struc-     a decade ago, New York State stopped providing        portunities to bring in new funding. We must estab-
tures to best        annual funding for public housing buildings that      lish a sustainable, diversified, and balanced financial
leverage avail-      they helped construct. Since 2001, federal funding    model that will carry the organization forward.
able funding.”       has been inadequate, causing NYCHA’s operat-
                     ing deficits and the growing gap in capital needs.      The Challenges
Emily Youssouf
                         The realities of funding shortfalls, archaic      Unreliable budgets: NYCHA’s funding is subject
NYCHA Vice Chair
                     funding formulas, and unnecessary restrictions on     to a budget process that can fluctuate and change
                     available funding have forced NYCHA and public        every year. Since government subsidies account
                     housing authorities around the country to change.     for approximately 70 percent of NYCHA’s opera-
                     Some have become more market-driven; some             tional funding, inconsistent budgetary priorities
                     have demolished their public housing and rebuilt      make multi-year planning a challenge. Addition-
                     mixed-income communities; and others have vastly      ally, NYCHA has severe restrictions on its funding
                     expanded their public-private partnerships, working   use, whereas other large metropolitan housing
                     with community organizations that now deliver the     authorities have been classified as Moving to Work

18     Plan NYCHA                                                                             NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                                              Ensure Financial Stability

(MTW) agencies—a demonstration program
                                                                                           Cummulative operating budget deficit
for public housing authorities that provides                                           projected to be $245 Million over next 5 years
the opportunity to design and test innovative,
locally-designed strategies that increase housing              50        Operating Budget ($ Million)
choices for low-income families while providing
more flexibility in how Authorities use their funds.
This program enables public housing authorities to
receive funds as block grants and make informed
decisions about the best spending options. In
contrast, NYCHA funds are highly restricted and
re-calibrated annually, which results in increased           -100             2011                    2012             2013          2014           2015

bureaucracy. As NYCHA has to use funds for each                       Note: 2011 excludes prior year offset

of its assigned sources (i.e., public housing, Section
8 or Capital)—the funds cannot be co-mingled,
despite a surplus in one or shortfalls in another.       delivering a dedicated annual federal subsidy of up
    Inequitable funding formulas: NYCHA                  to $70 million to fund operations and capital work.                          NYCHA needs
receives federal funds through a complex formula         This was an historic achievement first proposed                              to increase
that determines the exact amount of funding al-          more than 20 years ago. However, NYCHA still
                                                                                                                                      revenue and/or
located to each public housing authority. While          operates approximately 6,000 units that do not re-
this formula takes location into account, New York       ceive any federal subsidy from HUD, and therefore
                                                                                                                                      reduce expenses
City has long advocated that the system is inequi-       we shoulder all associated operating and mainte-                             to achieve
table when one considers the city’s uniquely high        nance costs. Consequently, NYCHA is obliged to                               balanced budgets.
construction costs as well as higher employment          apply its federal subsidies to these unfunded units,
costs (wages and benefits) in comparison to au-          which further leaves its entire portfolio under-
thorities across the US. For example, NYCHA cost         funded each year. Read more information at
factors are identical to Newark, NJ, irrespective of
cost-of-living differences.                                  Section 8 funding constraints: The funding
    Stretching federal subsidies: In response to         situation is similarly constrained for subsidized
changing times and funding cuts, HUD is encour-
aging public housing authorities to become more
                                                                                                               Other Revenues
market-driven by seeking out public-private part-                                                                   $188
nerships to help support social and community
programs and utilizing debt and mortgage loans to
fund capital repairs.
                                                                    Section 8 Subsidy                  Dwelling Rent
    In 2010, NYCHA partnered with Citi Com-                              $1,100                           $857
munity Capital and the Housing Partnership                                36%                             28%

Development Corporation on an award-winning
Mixed Finance Modernization Plan (also known                                           Public Housing
as “Federalization”) that rehabilitated 21,000                                              $940
public housing units. Using Recovery Act or
“stimulus” funds, NYCHA upgraded 21 develop-
                                                                               FY 2010 Revenues
ments (formerly supported by New York City or                                       Dollars in Millions
State), bringing them into the federal portfolio and

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                                             Plan NYCHA     19
                      housing using Section 8 vouchers—HUD’s Hous-                – Explore alternative funding options for
“It’s about lobby-    ing Choice Program. Funding and availability of               specific parts of the NYCHA portfolio such
                      Section 8 vouchers is variable from year-to-year,             as the contract-based Section 8 units, FHA
ing more for
                      with limits on the maximum number of units                    homes, and other non-conventional units,
funds—in Wash-
                      eligible for federal funding. Complex regulations             to generate revenue and rehabilitate units
ington, writing       governing both dollar and unit voucher caps create          – Introduce market-rate parking for non-res-
the governor—         inflexibility in managing the program. Since 2010,            idents, and stricter enforcement of parking
to make sure we       NYCHA’s program has been at capacity and fully                by authorized vehicles only
try to get more       utilized; which means that despite a waiting list           – Better utilize NYCHA-owned commercial
money for NYCHA       of 125,000 applicants, new vouchers will become               storefronts and properties, with each rented
citywide, not just    available only through attrition.                             at a fair market rate
                                                                                  – Collaborate with the city’s Department
one development,
                        The Plan: NYCHA will diversify                              of Sanitation to capture revenue generated
but for everybody.”
                        its government funding, increase                            from aggressive recycling
Lisa Kenner             earned revenue, and create new                            – Design and launch a plan to offer NYCHA
President, Van Dyke
Houses I Resident
                        business-development capabilities                           property for advertising with input from
Association             and public-private partnerships to                          residents
                        tap into new sources of funding.                          – Continue to pursue public-private partner-
                                                                                    ships that bring funding and other resources
                         NOW                                                        to NYCHA communities
                         We will:
                         Maximize NYCHA’s largest revenue source                LONGER TERM
                         —government funding—by working closely                 We will:
                         with government partners to increase flex-             Utilize a variety of tools to fund operations,
                         ibility, pursue new opportunities and develop          targeting a healthy mix of private and
                         innovative approaches to make the most of              public monies
                         every government dollar; and develop new                 – Pursue mixed-finance projects similar to the
                         funding streams                                            structure of the federalization transaction
                           – Apply to participate in HUD’s proposed                 in 2010, which enabled NYCHA to apply
                              Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)                 private dollars and tax credits to the repair
                              pilot, designed to provide more access to             and rehabilitation of NYCHA buildings
                              private capital markets that generate funds         – Seek designation from Congress as
                              allocated to preserving public housing                a Moving to Work (MTW) agency
                           – Explore alternative funding streams for              – Participate in other innovative HUD pro-
                              the 6,000 units currently not receiving fed-          grams, such as Hope VI
                              eral funding—potentially bringing                   – Request equity adjustments to the federal
                              an additional $50 million in subsidies—               funding formula based on the high costs of
                              by converting units to project-based Section          operating in New York City
                              8; or other creative measures
                           – Seek additional state and city funding for        The Call to Action
                              the support of maintenance and repair, safe-   Evolving the model of public housing in
                              ty and environmental initiatives, supportive   New York City to make it financially stable will
                              housing and senior and resident services       require the cooperation of public housing

20     Plan NYCHA                                                                              NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                   Ensure Financial Stability

residents, housing leaders at the federal, state,    (DCP), the City of New York Department of
and city level and community advocates.              Sanitation (DSNY), and the New York City Police
    First, we must achieve better alignment and      Department (NYPD)—advocates, and residents
cooperation on legislative priorities with respect   to secure business and earned-revenue opportu-
to public housing communities. Second, we            nities, including restructuring NYCHA’s parking
must work with HUD to ensure that NYCHA is           program, generating advertising revenue, and
included in the Rental Assistance Demonstration      leasing additional commercial space.
(RAD) pilot. This will be part of a broader effort       Through the Office of Public-Private Partner-
to partner with HUD to develop NYC-specific          ships, NYCHA will continue to call on private
plan for transformation and preservation. We will    organizations, including financial institutions,
collaborate with leaders at HUD to ensure that       businesses and community-based organizations,
currently unfunded but fully federalized public      to help support our residents and communities
housing units receive their appropriate share of     through funding or supporting key safety, envi-
federal subsidies. And NYCHA will develop a          ronmental, quality-of-life, or resident initiatives.
proposal to secure designation from Congress as          Finally, NYCHA requires the support of
a Moving to Work (MTW) authority.                    HUD, state and city officials, city agencies, ad-
    NYCHA will work with city agency partners        vocates, residents, and resident leaders to pursue
—including the Department of City Planning           additional mixed-finance transactions.

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                               Plan NYCHA   21
Ivestus Emmanuel and Miguel Mousonet, NYCHA Work Order Task Force, South Jamaica Houses

                         THE IMPERATIVE:
                         Lack of timeliness in completing repairs,                  The Challenges
“If repairs are          especially high-priority repairs, is the single          Aging buildings with complex needs: NYCHA’s
                         biggest factor affecting NYCHA customers and             buildings are aging and reductions in federal
made on time,
                         their quality of life today. Residents repeatedly        funding have delayed the upgrade or replace-
major damages
                         note that the repairs process is the most                ment of major building systems. Since 2001,
can be prevented         unpleasant aspect of living in NYCHA housing,            NYCHA has been underfunded by hundreds of
or can save more         citing lack of timeliness and poor customer              millions of dollars, which affects the maintenance
money.”                  service as the primary reasons. More than 20             and repair of our developments, resulting in a
Resident at West         percent of residents surveyed expressed that,            multi-year backlog of unfulfilled work-order
Brighton Houses          in the previous year, a request for repairs had          requests and customer dissatisfaction. Non-
Community                necessitated four or more calls. Consequently,           emergency repairs are frequently not scheduled
                         residents who had called for repairs                     for more than a year, and sometimes even longer.
                         demonstrated a higher rate of dissatisfaction                The potential loss of units: Addressing all
                         than those who had not. To dramatically                  high-priority and emergency work orders would
                         improve the quality of life for residents, NYCHA         require approximately $3,000 per unit, or a
                         must provide repair and maintenance to our               half-billion dollars system-wide. However, those
                         buildings in a more expeditious manner.                  repairs would merely fulfill interim needs, as

22     Plan NYCHA                                                                                   NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                           Expedite Maintenance and Repairs

these repairs do not address the structural im-              processes and implement improvements
provements to buildings that would ensure fewer              to system management, from procurement             “It costs about
emergencies in the future. There is an additional            to completion, which will ensure maximum           $2,900 per unit to
$13 billion in capital needs over the next five              efficiency in use of limited staffing and
                                                                                                                make all the
years (see page 11) for building operating sys-              materials resourcing
                                                                                                                repairs. If you
tems, elevators, roof repairs, and brick work that
also directly affect residents’ quality of life. Delay-      LONGER TERM
                                                                                                                multiply that over
ing these investments makes them much more                   We will:                                           a 178,000 units,
costly in the long run, as maintenance needs                 Enact a series of continual improvement            we need half a
increase at a higher rate with each year beyond              initiatives to address the most                    billion dollars just
the normal life cycle of buildings and equipment.            immediate repairs                                  to do basic
Moreover, these units could be lost altogether.              Dedicate approximately $50 million over            maintenance. I’m
                                                             the next five years to reduce longstanding
                                                                                                                not talking about
  The Plan: NYCHA will ensure that                           maintenance and repair needs
  all units are in a state of good repair                    Focus on a larger number of work orders
                                                                                                                elevators or the
  and that all future needed repairs                         Identify savings that can support an increase      roofs—I’m only
  are completed in a timely manner.                          in maintenance workers                             talking about
                                                             Become a HUD high performing agency by             fixing the kitchen
   NOW                                                       focusing on such items as shortening the           cabinets, replac-
   We will:                                                  length of time needed to prepare units for         ing the stove,
   Reduce the number of appointments in the                  move-in, as well as address emergency and
                                                                                                                fixing the bath-
   backlog by the end of 2012, building on                   routine repairs
                                                                                                                room leaks, all
   the $11 million allocated to consolidate
   and address repairs in 2011                              The Call to Action                                  that minor stuff.”
   Provide tools and supplies needed for                  These efforts, while extensive, are a framework       Carlos Laboy
   faster and more effective responses to                 and foundation for fully addressing NYCHA’s           Deputy General
                                                                                                                Manager for
   repair requests                                        maintenance and repair backlog—but they are
   Hire temporary skilled trade workers and               not a solution. Bringing all of NYCHA’s homes
   improve the coordination of trades; eliminate          to a “state of good repair” will require additional
   the inconvenience of scheduling separate               coordinated action.
   appointments for multiple skilled workers                  First, NYCHA must receive additional
   (plumbers, electricians, carpenters, plasterers,       dedicated maintenance funding. Expediting
   painters, etc.)                                        maintenance and repair will require residents,
   Reduce the work time needed to complete                community leaders, and union members to work
   repairs, which will lessen the wait time for           with NYCHA to ensure that funding for public
   all customer requests                                  housing in New York City is a priority of federal,
   Focus on the approximately 10,000                      state, and city governments.
   apartments with multiple outstanding repair                NYCHA also needs greater flexibility regard-
   work orders currently not scheduled for                ing union work-rules in order to address multiple
   completion until 2014                                  repairs in a housing unit. NYCHA welcomes the
   Make systematic improvements to prevent                partnership of employees, union leaders, and
   the development of future backlogs                     advocates in developing a stronger approach to
   Analyze current maintenance and repair                 work-rule development and implementation.

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                    Plan NYCHA    23
Milagores Colmenares, NYCHA Caretaker J, St. Mary’s Park/Moore Houses, Castle Hill Houses resident

                           THE IMPERATIVE:
                           STRENGTHEN THE FRONTLINE
                           Following reductions in government funding over             deteriorated in recent years. In focus groups and in
                           the years, NYCHA has made many tough choices,               the Community Conversations, residents noted that
                           including downsizing its overall staff. Reduc-              NYCHA has been increasingly forced to “do more
                           tions in frontline staff—particularly maintenance,          with less,” with fewer janitors and maintenance
                           janitorial, and grounds-keeping employees—have              workers on staff to perform the day-to-day cleaning
                           made it more difficult to sustain a consistent              and repair work of NYCHA’s more than 2,600 resi-
                           level of customer service and contributed to                dential buildings. Similarly, frontline employees are
                           resident concerns about the general upkeep of               also frustrated by the increased pressure to main-
                           NYCHA buildings and grounds. For example,                   tain quality standards of rapidly aging buildings
                           the number of Property Management staff has                 with fewer resources, materials, and co-workers.
                           decreased by almost 20 percent since 2005.
                               To make an investment in the frontline,                    The Plan: NYCHA will become an
                           NYCHA must become more efficient. There are sig-               efficient, high-productivity organization
                           nificant opportunities to enhance agency efficiency            with a clear, strong focus on serving
                           by reducing central office and administrative costs,           all its properties. NYCHA will be
                           and the savings generated by these efforts could be            capably staffed with an adequately
                           re-invested in property-level management. By doing             resourced professional corps of
                           so, residents will experience greater customer satis-          frontline employees. NYCHA will
                           faction and morale on the frontline will improve.              incorporate best practices from
                                                                                          property management companies
                              The Challenges                                              to provide excellent service and
                           Frustration on the frontline: Employees and                    high-quality management throughout
                           residents alike agree that frontline maintenance has           its portfolio.

24     Plan NYCHA                                                                                         NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                   Strengthen the Frontline

   NOW                                                The Call to Action
   We will:                                         Longer-term investments in NYCHA’s frontline
   Make an immediate investment in frontline        will require support from a number of partners.
   operations by adding more than 100                   Additional funding for hiring frontline
   frontline employees                              employees will need to be coupled with re-invest-
   Hire residents trained through the resident      ments made possible from cost savings. NYCHA
   training academy operated in partnership         will work with stakeholders in federal, state, and
   with Robin Hood                                  city government, as well as partners in the private    “How can NYCHA
   Complete analysis and cost reductions of         and non-profit sectors to increase funding for the
                                                                                                           operate or ask
   central office and administrative operations     training and hiring of NYCHA residents.
                                                                                                           their staff to work
   Identify areas for enhanced operating                Furthermore, NYCHA must work with state
   efficiency and effectiveness through process     elected leaders, union leaders, employees, and the
                                                                                                           every day without
   and organization redesign                        City Council to outline and implement changes to       the tools neces-
   Generate savings that can be reallocated         civil service rules. With these partners, NYCHA        sary to do our
   to support critical operating needs              must garner support for a performance manage-          jobs?”
   Collaborate with unions and other city           ment system for all NYCHA employees.                   Joseph Falzarano
   agencies to become a more productive,                NYCHA must engage residents, employees,            Property Maintenance
   effective and customer-focused organization      advocates, union leaders, and officials in state       Supervisor, Berry Houses
   Empower our frontline workforce to               government as we determine the best property
   continually improve the organization’s           management operating model. This may include
   performance                                      transferring the day-to-day property management
   Adopt best practices consistent with top tier    responsibilities to experienced private property
   property management organizations                management organizations, while offering NYCHA
   Initiate a small-scale demonstration project     staff opportunities in this new management model.
   that compares an enhanced in-house operat-           Finally, NYCHA will work with city agency
   ing model with an outsourced private property    partners and employees so that NYCHA can
   management company pilot, informing the          benefit as a user of shared city services.
   long-term definition of NYCHA’s optimal
   property management model

   We will:
   Re-invest more than $50 million in central
   office and support function savings toward the
   frontline over the next five years
   Provide high-quality service to our customers
   and act on customer feedback to continually
   improve service levels                                                     NYCHA’s Workforce
   Utilize the services of private property
                                                                   2001                                    2011
   management companies where it is economi-
   cally feasible and increases service levels to                 15,786                                  11,900
   residents (such models are employed by most                                   24.6% Decrease
   public housing authorities across the U.S.)

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                Plan NYCHA       25
NYCHA Resident Watch and New York City Police Department Joint Mobilization Drill, Edenwald Houses

                          THE IMPERATIVE:
                          IMPROVE SAFETY AND SECURITY
                          Nothing is more important than the safety of                  Coordinating efforts across stakeholders.
“We want to               NYCHA’s families. Security is a cornerstone               We understand that investing in new technol-
                          of a neighborhood’s health and stability. Provid-         ogy and introducing enhanced security measures
raise children in a
                          ing for the safety of our residents, employees,           will have limited success without the trust and
safe environment.
                          and visitors remains NYCHA’s top priority.                cooperation of our residents. Safety is everyone’s
We are still                                                                        responsibility. NYCHA is actively working with all
scared. We want              The Challenges                                         public housing community stakeholders, including
a more secure             The perception and reality of crime among                 the New York Police Department (NYPD), to en-
environment               residents. More than 75 percent of NYCHA                  sure that issues of safety and security are addressed
–patrols, cameras,        public housing residents surveyed reported                through a more collaborative approach.
better screening.”        they were very or somewhat fearful of crime

Resident at Queens-
                          in their development. Nearly 60 percent of                   Safety and Security Task Force
bridge Houses             respondents reported that serious crimes                  In December 2009, the NYCHA Safety and
Community                 had occurred in their development during                  Security Task Force was formed, incorporating a
Conversation              the previous year. Six percent reported                   core group of key stakeholders that included the
                          personally being a victim of crime within                 Citywide Council of Presidents, senior leadership
                          their development. We recognize that                      from the NYPD, and a team of NYCHA’s senior
                          our efforts must combat actual crime and                  managers. During the past two years, the Task
                          address residents’ perceptions of crime,                  Force worked to strengthen relationships among
                          both of which erode their quality of life.                NYCHA’s community stakeholders and identify

26     Plan NYCHA                                                                                      NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                  Improve Safety and Security

vulnerabilities in current security systems.              NYCHA Safety and Security Guidelines,
    The Task Force has designed strategies to ad-         posting them at NYCHA parks and play areas           “The issues that
dress these challenges, and has provided a frame-         Distribute documents highlighting NYCHA              really resonate
work for how NYCHA can consistently improve               guidelines to residents annually
                                                                                                               with residents are
safety over the long term. By working collabora-          Establish rules governing moving in and
                                                                                                               safety and
tively—with residents and partners at the NYPD,           out of NYCHA developments
in the City Council and throughout New York               Monitor NYCHA parking lots and                       security. I think
City—NYCHA has developed a security strategy              consistently enforce parking rules                   they are con-
that seeks to accomplish four goals:                                                                           cerned about
1. Deter crime                                            LONGER TERM                                          what NYCHA can
2. Discourage and redress evidence of disorder,           We will:                                             do to improve
    such as broken doors and graffiti, which can          Strengthen our relationship with the NYPD
                                                                                                               safety at the
    lead to further and more serious crime                Boost resident engagement
3. Assist residents in complying with all                 Secure additional funding for the layered
    NYCHA guidelines                                      access security system, including
                                                                                                               and really look at
4. Improve NYCHA’s physical security                        – installing the system at all NYCHA               what the account-
    infrastructure                                             developments                                    ability should be
                                                            – monitoring the actual incidence of crime—        in terms of the
    The key objective will be to improve the quality           as well as perceptions of crime—at develop-     residents as well
of life for all members of NYCHA’s communities                 ments that receive this new technology          as the Housing
by providing safeguards for their well-being, and         Increase communication about safety issues
by implementing strategies that will reduce both          with residents, enlisting them as partners
                                                                                                               Marguerite Mann
the likelihood and incidence of crime.                    in crime prevention
                                                                                                               Borough Director,
                                                          Provide crime prevention training for                Brooklyn Property
  The Plan: NYCHA will work to create                     all employees                                        Management
  secure, healthy neighborhoods where                     Develop innovative approaches for reducing
  residents, employees, and their                         violence in the workplace
  visitors feel safe, both on NYCHA
  grounds and inside buildings.                          The Call to Action
                                                       Ensuring that our communities remain safe is
   NOW                                                 the ultimate shared responsibility. NYCHA’s
   We will:                                            approach outlines a model for consistent
   Work to improve the resident / police officer       improvement in overall community safety.
   relationship                                        Achieving and, importantly, maintaining
   Develop a joint safety strategy each year           those gains will require additional support.
   prioritizing the most pressing security issues          First, City officials and the NYPD must con-
   Provide additional training and better              tinue to work with NYCHA, resident leaders, and
   coordination for Resident Watch teams, and          advocates to implement the recommendations of the
   participate in training and drills with local       Safety and Security Task Force. This will allow us to
   Police Service Areas                                build upon the Task Force’s work and to address sev-
   Prioritize a number of developments for the         eral longstanding issues, including NYCHA’s Memo-
   installation of a layered access control system     randum of Understanding (MOU) with the NYPD,
   Consistently post and clearly communicate           as well as developing an accompanying system that

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                   Plan NYCHA   27
                  will measure performance and safety outcomes.         Increased resident involvement and service
                  Second, city and state leaders must work with     on Resident Watch teams will be central to mak-
                  HUD to appropriate funding for additional lay-    ing NYCHA homes more secure. City Council
                  ered access security improvements, maintenance,   members, community advocates, resident lead-
                  and monitoring. And finally, NYCHA will require   ers, and NYCHA employees all have a role to play
                  the support of partners to implement a compre-    in engaging and educating residents on how each
                  hensive crime-prevention training program for     of us has a responsibility to uphold in making
                  all employees.                                    NYCHA neighborhoods safer.

                  Gora family, Vladeck Houses

28   Plan NYCHA                                                                      NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                   Optimize Apartment Usage

Martinez family, Rutgers Houses

The need for affordable housing is greater in
New York City than in any other U.S. city,                                                                 NYCHA has more
with approximately one-third of all New York
                                                                                                           than 55,000
renters paying 50 percent or more of their
income towards rent.6 So great is the need
for affordable housing that the total of New                                     Under-Occupied            apartments
York households eligible for NYCHA as-
sistance currently exceeds 1.7 million, rep-
resenting half of the city’s households.7                        Occupancy
    By making sure that residents are in appropri-                  60%

ately-sized apartments and abiding by equitable
rental policies, NYCHA can maximize occupancy                                               Over-Crowded
in its units to accommodate more families in need.                                               8%

                                                                     % of Total Units
  The Challenges                                                 by Occupancy Standards
The growing waiting lists: NYCHA’s public
housing waiting list contains a total of more
than 154,000 families and is still growing.
Approximately 125,000 families are on the            were still accepting new applications (Because
waiting list for Section 8 vouchers, a figure        of extraordinary demand, the Section 8
that would be significantly higher if NYCHA          waiting list has been closed for several years.).

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                               Plan NYCHA   29
                                                                              Serving more under Section 8: To maximize
“There is not                                                             the number of families served by the Section 8
enough housing                                                            program, NYCHA must ensure the efficient use
                                                                          of subsidies provided by the federal government
for everybody
                                                                          through the implementation of cost saving strate-
here in this city.                                                        gies. Savings will be generated through aggressive
And when we                                                               program compliance measures, streamlining
consider the cost                                                         existing policies and procedures, and align-
of living in certain                                                      ing rents paid to rental market conditions.
areas of this city,                                                           Complex inequities in rent policies: The task of
the purpose is to                                                         ensuring a fair-rent policy is complex. According to
                                                                          federal policy, public housing residents cannot pay
maintain the
                                                                          more than 30 percent of their income toward rent
public housing
                                                                          and rent for Section 8 residents cannot initially ex-
we have, so that                                                          ceed more than 40 percent of their adjusted income.
more tenants can                                                          However to promote mixed income communities,
live in a clean,                                                          NYCHA currently enforces a rent policy whereby
safe place; a                                                             the highest-income residents pay the lowest percent-
place where they                                                          age of their income towards rent. Almost a third of
can raise their        Mercedes Ruiz, Lower East Side I Infill            public housing residents in New York City currently
                                                                          pay only 20 percent of their income towards rent,
families without
                       It is critical that NYCHA utilize this scarce      and families with the highest income pay less than
worrying about         public resource as it was intended—to assist       15 percent of their income towards rent.
their cost.”           the greatest number of families eligible
Victor A. Gonzalez     for affordable and subsidized housing.               The Plan: To serve more families
NYCHA Board Member          Increasing number of under-occupied             in need, NYCHA must maximize its
                       apartments: Currently, more than 55,000              limited resources to full capacity and
                       NYCHA family units are under-occupied—i.e.,          consider changes to policies that
                       the number of bedrooms in these units exceeds        will ensure a more equitable use
                       the needs of the occupants. Half of these units      of public housing assets.
                       are occupied by seniors, many of them living
                       alone after their children have moved out.            NOW
                            Recent surveys of both employees and             We will:
                       residents indicate a belief that vacant bedrooms      Work with families to encourage and support
                       increase the likelihood of occupation by              transition to right-sized apartments, through
                       unauthorized residents, and also of illegal           transfers to other NYCHA developments
                       subletting, a violation of NYCHA rules and            Establish greater equity in NYCHA’s
                       regulations. Unauthorized residents have cir-         rent payment policy
                       cumvented the extensive waiting list procedure        Phase in a rent increase program for
                       and have not undergone the mandatory back-            renters currently paying less than 30 percent
                       ground checks and screenings. Their rents more        of their income towards rent (this increase
                       often than not do not correspond with their           will not impact the two-thirds of NYCHA
                       actual incomes.                                       residents who already pay 30 percent of

30    Plan NYCHA                                                                             NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                            Optimize Apartment Usage

   their income in rent). Rental increases will     The Call to Action
   be phased-in over a period of time to ensure   Ensuring that the precious resource of public
   stability within mixed-income communities      housing serves the greatest number of families
   Maximize the number of families served by      in a fair, equitable manner will require the
   the Section 8 program                          collaboration of NYCHA, public housing
   Increase the number of higher-income           residents, HUD, and elected leaders at all levels.
   families transitioning to homeownership            First, NYCHA looks forward to partnering
   and private housing                            with residents, community advocates and HUD
                                                  to implement a strategy that will both ensure rent
   LONGER TERM                                    equity and allow NYCHA to re-invest locally the
   We will:                                       increased revenue from higher rents.
   Increase the number of families in                 While the resident transfer process will
   appropriately-sized NYCHA apartments           require significant financial costs and changes at
   Provide Section 8 vouchers to residents        both the operational and policy levels, success
   of under occupied units to transfer to         will depend on the support of HUD, HPD,
   apartments within the broader community        residents, developers, and advocates to provide
   Consider options such as building senior       the flexibility necessary to transfer residents
   housing specially designed to meet the needs   currently living in under-occupied units.
   of senior residents, particularly those with       We will also revise our transfer policy and
   special needs or in under-occupied units       Section 8 marketing plan to designate under-
   Consider innovative approaches such as home    occupied units as priorities for available public
   sharing, whereby residents not related to      housing units, Section 8 vouchers, and other
   each other agree to occupy a multi-bedroom     newly-developed, affordable, subsidized housing.
   apartment as a shared residence

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                        Plan NYCHA   31
Pest control course, NYCHA Resident Training Academy

                          THE IMPERATIVE: CONNECT RESIDENTS
                          NYCHA houses a diverse population and provides                  With competing needs placing increasing pres-
                          a broad range of services designed to address their         sure on scarce resources, NYCHA must take a fresh
                          needs—from social services for families in crisis,          look at the services provided to residents. We must
                          to supportive services for people with special              ensure that residents in need of social and sup-
                          needs, to programs that promote educational                 portive services continue to receive them and that
                          achievement and economic empowerment.                       the services provided are of the highest quality and
                              Information gathered from the 2010 Resident             delivered at the lowest possible cost. NYCHA must
                          Survey demonstrates that residents believe these            also determine:
                          services are critical. They provide valuable life skills,       If programs currently offered to residents are
                          empower residents, bring people together, and help              generating positive outcomes
                          build stronger communities. Nearly 90 percent of                Whether the programs are cost-effective
                          residents who responded to the survey cited com-                Whether there are programs that other
                          munity centers as a key on-site service. Approxi-               organizations are better suited to provide
                          mately 40 percent of residents cited job training/              How best to transition the expense of ensuring
                          GED programs as one of the two most valuable                    these services from NYCHA to the appropriate
                          types of programs provided to them; and 38 percent              city, state, federal, or non-profit funding source
                          of residents cited youth programs as critical to qual-
                          ity of life of residents. In the Community Conversa-          The Challenges
                          tions, participants repeatedly noted how important          Lack of funding for services: NYCHA spends
                          NYCHA was because of the services and the oppor-            $75 million annually to provide these services,
                          tunities provided to them and their families.               but only $12 million of this is covered by govern-

32     Plan NYCHA                                                                                        NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                            Connect to Critical Services

ment grants. The remaining $63 million comes          NOW
from NYCHA’s housing operating budget. This is        We will:
one of the most difficult trade-offs for NYCHA,       Identify resident needs and desired outcomes
because every dollar spent on these services is       to understand what programs and services
one less dollar to support maintenance of apart-      should be the top priorities
ments and buildings. In addition to direct services   Assess services currently provided by or
provided by NYCHA, millions of dollars are            offered at NYCHA community facilities and
also leveraged through partnerships with sister       compare them to services provided by other
agencies and not-for-profit sponsoring groups.        organizations to understand which programs
    Connecting to the broader community:              are producing the best results
NYCHA is only one stakeholder within a much           Lead cooperative efforts to increase sharing
broader community ecosystem that includes             across locations by hosting best-practices        “If someone has
residents, community colleges, city agencies,         forums, identifying gaps and participating in     problems, NYCHA
non-profit social services organizations, workforce   joint fundraising efforts to bring in
                                                                                                        has social work-
agencies, financial institutions, employers, and      more resources
philanthropies. Rather than duplicate services        Discontinue programs that are not delivering
                                                                                                        ers; in the event
provided by other organizations, NYCHA must           anticipated outcomes                              that things get
continue to develop additional service coordi-        Increase educational and economic                 bad, there is
nation capacity, better enabling us to become a       opportunities for residents and Section 8         someone there for
strong partner and driving more resources and         voucher holders                                   you. There isn’t
investment into public housing neighborhoods.         Implement a new outcome-driven resident           another housing
                                                      economic opportunity platform—the Zone
                                                                                                        community that
                                                      model—focused on service coordination,
                                                                                                        has that.”
                                                      strategic partnerships and accessing localized
              $12 Million
                                                      external resources                                Cheryl Uzamere
                Grants                                                                                  Pink Houses Resident
                                                      Improve and expand existing efforts to hire
                                                      residents for positions at NYCHA and with
                                                      NYCHA contractors (supported by HUD’s
                                                      Section 3 regulation and the Robin Hood-
                     $63 Million
                NYCHA Operations Budget               funded Resident Training Academy), while
                                                      leveraging spending power, resources and
                                                      opportunities to offer physical space for high-
                                                      quality programming
  $75 Million Annually for NYCHA Community            Work with the city’s Human Resources
         and Social Service Programs
                                                      Administration (HRA) and the Center for
                                                      Economic Opportunity (CEO) to expand
  The Plan: NYCHA will collaborate                    the proven Jobs Plus program to raise and
  with new and existing partners to                   sustain the level of employment and earnings
  take advantage of the city’s most                   among NYCHA residents
  innovative, high-quality and results-               Increase residents’ access to broadband
  oriented programming, ensuring that                 technology through the Broadband
  residents receive the maximum benefit               Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)
  from critically-needed services.                    at NYCHA community and resource centers

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                            Plan NYCHA      33
                                                                            (DYCD), the Administration for Children’s Services
                                                                            (ACS), the Human Resources Administration
                                                                            (HRA), the New York City Department of Small
                                                                            Business Services (SBS), the New York City Depart-
                                                                            ment of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the New York
                                                                            City Economic Development Corporation (EDC),
                                                                            the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), the
                                                                            Department of Education (DOE), and the Depart-
                                                                            ment of Parks and Recreation (Parks), as we improve
                                                                            how we support New York City families.
                                                                                Identifying which agencies may be best posi-
                                                                            tioned to provide specific services and programs
                                                                            will be the first step. NYCHA will work with its
Camp NYCHA, Rutgers Houses Community Center                                 many stakeholders to do just that. After those deter-
                                                                            minations are made, NYCHA will work with resi-
                           LONGER TERM                                      dents, employees, advocates, unions, federal, state
                           We will:                                         and city elected leaders, and the delegated agencies
                           Develop a more sustainable model for             to appropriately transition programs and services.
                           supporting community programs                    NYCHA will do this while continuing to provide
                           Facilitate access to programs and services       selected programs and services, and looking at al-
                           rather than being a direct provider              ternative successful models, including partnerships
                           Raise private and grant funding to support       with city agencies and other organizations.
                           innovative initiatives, annual operating             NYCHA will work with its existing partners,
                           expenses, and outcome measurement                as well as forge new coalitions to facilitate rais-
                                                                            ing private and non-profit capital to fund existing
                          The Call to Action                                programs and services. NYCHA will also work
                        NYCHA programs and services touch the               with HUD, elected leaders, and agency partners to
                        lives of thousands of New Yorkers through-          support the expansion of programs that provide
                        out the five boroughs. Ensuring that New York       educational and career opportunities for public
                        City continues to support these families while      housing residents.
                        transforming how NYCHA provides selected                While continuing to partner with the Mayor’s
                        programs and services in a more effective and       Fund, NYCHA will develop a not-for-profit entity
                        efficient way will require the thoughtful, sus-     with a 501(c)(3) designation that would be able to
                        tained collaboration of NYCHA, its employees,       accept funding for our community programs.
                        leaders in city government, residents, and com-         Finally NYCHA, in partnership with its many
                        munity advocates. Not all NYCHA families            stakeholders and city agencies, will work to better
                        require services beyond quality, safe, affordable   integrate public housing neighborhoods into the
                        housing. We must identify those families that       city’s overall community and economic develop-
                        are most in need of assistance and ensure that      ment framework, ensuring that public housing
                        scarce resources are directed only to them.         residents know about and are able to access city
                            NYCHA looks forward to working with partners    resources and that public housing communities’
                        at the Department for the Aging (DFTA), the De-     needs are considered when the city allocates and
                        partment of Youth and Community Development         locates resources.

34    Plan NYCHA                                                                               NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                                Excel in Customer Service

NYCHA Language Bank volunteer training

NYCHA’s customers number more than a mil-                Approximately 66 percent of residents in
lion. They include families living in conventional       conventional public housing are satisfied with
public housing, Section 8 voucher holders,               their apartments and their neighborhood
and families on wait lists, as well as landlords,        compared with 80 percent of voucher holders
commercial tenants, and users of our centers             Seventy percent of public housing residents
and programs. Our customers interact with                rate their apartment positively as a place to
us in multiple ways—through applications,                live and more than 80 percent of voucher
phone calls, and in-person appointments—and              holders rate their housing unit favorably
at multiple locations across the five boroughs,          In contrast, only 50 percent of public housing
including walk-in centers, call centers, manage-         residents favorably rate their building as a
ment offices, community and senior centers,              place to raise their family, while at least 70
and in residents’ homes. Providing positive              percent of voucher holders are more positive
experiences for this vast audience across all of         about their buildings
these locations and interactions is a major chal-        The survey findings underscore the impor-
lenge, and it is an area where NYCHA recog-          tance of the role of NYCHA’s staff in determining
nizes the need for substantial improvement.          customer satisfaction. Approximately 66 percent
    In developing Plan NYCHA, we conducted a         of public housing residents say they are satisfied
resident customer satisfaction survey in 2010.       with NYCHA staff; this figure rises to 75 percent
Findings demonstrated:                               among voucher holders. While customers are

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                            Plan NYCHA   35
       Customer Satisfaction                                                            “I understand what residents want from
                                                              Section 8 Resident        taking their phone calls in the manage-
                                                              Public Housing Resident   ment office, so I want to help them
80%                                                                                     have a better quality of life. I want to
70%                                                                                     hear more about what they have to say
60%                                                                                     and if I can help them get what they
50%                                                                                     need, I feel special, because without
                                                                                        residents we wouldn’t have a job.”
                                                                                        James Crosland
                                                                                        Secretary, Jefferson Houses


                                                                                        diversity of NYCHA’s customers and reinforces
        Satisfaction with       Satisfaction         Satisfaction        Satisfaction   collaborative, two-way dialogue as essential to
        Overall Condition      with Apartment       with Building        with NYCHA
        of Apartment and       as a Place Live      as a Place to            Staff      resident and partner engagement. For example,
          Neighborhood                              Raise a Family                      the survey revealed that public housing residents
       Source: 2010 NYCHA Resident Satisfaction and Perception Survey                   vary significantly in their communication and
       conducted by Baruch College                                                      technology preferences. While only 25 percent
                                                                                        of seniors living in NYCHA developments
                                                                                        have access to the Internet, approximately
                               frustrated by the lack of timeliness regarding           86 percent of residents 30 and younger have
                               repairs, they are very satisfied with the courtesy       access. Young adult residents are also more
                               afforded when repairs are made.                          likely to prefer text messaging than their older
                                    The survey also revealed that age is a              counterparts. A significant number of residents
                               factor in how customers rate their satisfaction          over the age of 30 showed a preference for
                               with NYCHA. For example, seniors are more                flyers and hand-bills to get information.
                               satisfied and are optimistic about NYCHA’s                   The survey indicated that despite NYCHA’s
                               future; in contrast, younger residents are more          substantial communication efforts, many
                               disconnected, less satisfied, and less likely to         residents were unaware of recent citywide
                               participate in services.                                 initiatives to improve NYCHA communities,
                                    While the survey results were encouraging           including partnering with banks to bring in more
                               in some areas, they also indicate that there is          funding and an organizational effort to make
                               still considerable work to be done.                      NYCHA more environmentally sustainable. At
                                                                                        the Community Conversations, participants
                                  The Challenges                                        agreed that a multi-tiered approach to resident
                               Communication and dissemination of                       engagement is required.
                               information: The survey results made                         Residents who responded to the survey
                               clear that effective communication with                  also indicated overwhelmingly—by 78
                               NYCHA customers requires developing a                    percent—that they are not involved in their
                               new communications model, one that both                  Resident Association. The overriding reason
                               acknowledges the multi-lingual, multi-cultural           had to do with a lack of time. It is important

36       Plan NYCHA                                                                                        NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                             Excel in Customer Service

that we develop a model to involve residents         Effectively communicate to NYCHA’s diverse
in governance issues, because enhanced               audience and customer base, using a new,
communication with the Resident Association          multi-tiered model:
will ensure timely dissemination of information        – Traditional communications channels,
to residents. HUD provides funds for Tenant              including flyers and the resident
Participation Activity (TPA) as a way to                 Journal publication
encourage residents to get involved and become         – Direct communication via telephone,
active in the lives of their community.                  email, and text messaging
    Understanding that NYCHA’s customers               – New media, including social networking
have diverse needs—and that a single method of         – On-the-ground, grassroots communi-
interacting with them is therefore not effective—        cations strategy coordinated with the
is the cornerstone of NYCHA’s approach to                NYCHA departments that work closest to
enhancing communication and improving                    NYCHA’s customers and partners, includ-
customer service.                                        ing the Citywide Council of Presidents
                                                         and other resident leaders, Community
  The Plan: NYCHA must                                   Programs and Development, Property
  communicate more effectively                           Management, State and City Legislative
  with its customers in order to                         Affairs, and Public-Private Partnerships to
  streamline customer service and                        maximize access to all communications for
  thereby resolve their issues and                       NYCHA residents
  meet their needs. NYCHA must                       Work to ensure timely and proper utilization
  become a customer-focused                          and distribution of Tenant Participation
  organization that strives to make                  Activity funds (TPA)
  each customer interaction a positive
  experience, regardless of the                      LONGER TERM
  circumstances.                                     We will:
                                                     Establish metrics to continually measure
   NOW                                               and evaluate customer satisfaction
   We will:                                          Conduct bi-annual satisfaction surveys
   Gather necessary information to design a          Evaluate processes for assisting customers
   strategy for continuously improving the           with concerns
   NYCHA customer experience                         Develop a more effective resident
   Improve communication capabilities and work       engagement model
   more closely with customers to understand         Develop a better system for responding to
   what is and is not working and why, and make      and helping customers who are having
   changes accordingly                               difficulty getting their issues resolved
   From the front line to the back office, all       Hold all parties accountable—customers and
   NYCHA employees will be trained, equipped,        employees—and seek to instill a culture of
   and held accountable for providing a positive     mutual respect and responsibility among all
   customer experience                               Identify private and philanthropic partners
   Invest in technology that facilitates online      to close the digital divide in NYCHA
   completion of application forms and updates to    communities by providing affordable access
   information required for annual recertification   to broadband Internet services

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                         Plan NYCHA   37
                  NYCHA Brooklyn Customer Contact Center

                    The Call to Action                                 new investments from NYCHA, HUD, and elect-
                  Helping our team better serve the New Yorkers        ed officials, as well as the partnership of residents,
                  who count on NYCHA will require feedback             resident leaders, advocates, and employees.
                  from our customers and using that informa-               Finally, effectively engaging NYCHA
                  tion to consistently improve service. Working        residents—particularly young adults, seniors,
                  with all employees, as well as residents, resident   non-English proficient residents, and residents
                  leaders, elected officials, and advocates will be    with special or additional needs—will require
                  central to this effort.                              working with resident and elected leaders, com-
                      As NYCHA employees work to provide excel-        munity based organizations with a history of
                  lent customer service, we must work together to      serving NYCHA communities, and the media,
                  ensure that they are equipped with state-of-the-     including community newspapers, radio, and
                  art technology and equipment. This will require      digital publications.

38   Plan NYCHA                                                                           NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                         Create a High-Performing NYCHA

Rutgers Houses Community Center

NYCHA has a long history of strong perfor-            4. Empowerment of NYCHA’s employees
mance; yet over time we’ve been slow to adapt            to make decisions that will better serve
our traditionally successful model to a changing         NYCHA’s customers
environment. NYCHA needs to be more than an
efficient crisis manager. Our failure to evolve our       To ensure continual improvement in each area,
practices, culture, and the model for public hous-    NYCHA must measure outcomes and use the data
ing in New York City has stifled innovation and       gathered to drive performance. Information must
creative solutions for long-term, healthy commu-      be shared with, and skill development must be
nity development.                                     provided for, employees working most closely with
    As NYCHA re-invests in its physical assets, a     NYCHA’s customers; these employees also must be
full transformation of public housing will require    empowered to act. Much like a positive-feedback
an accompanying investment in our employees.          loop, data-sharing, and employee empowerment
This investment must be targeted to produce four      will further enhance accountability while strength-
key outcomes:                                         ening the culture of teamwork. NYCHA launched
1. A culture of teamwork and employee engage-         its managerial performance evaluation process in
    ment with an emphasis on accountability           2009 and has worked to refine the process and tool
2. An environment in which collaboration              over the past two years. We have assigned values to
    and ideas are recognized and rewarded             each competency to allow for more objective rat-
3. Strong communication that creates organization-    ings of performance. In preparation for 2011 final
    al clarity around NYCHA’s mission and vision      ratings, we are implementing a system that allows

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                             Plan NYCHA   39
                        for analysis and normalization of ratings across the     NYCHA has a clear, well-defined mission
“At the end of the      agency, and developing actions plans to address          and vision
day our work            identified weaknesses as well as acknowledge and         All key stakeholders understand the mission
                        monitor top performers. Moreover, NYCHA will             and vision, as well as their respective roles in
shows that we
                        launch a 360 Degree Assessment process for its           promoting NYCHA’s goals
can face any
                        management team. This development tool will              NYCHA has a culture of teamwork; employees
challenges and          inform managers on how their performance and             understand their roles as team members
obstacles put in        capabilities are perceived by their staff, colleagues,   and teams are held accountable for their
front, side, or         and supervisors, and will assist our management          performance
back of us. We’re       team in understanding those areas where improve-         Employees are empowered to make decisions
the real stron-         ment is needed. This information will form the           that will better serve residents
                        basis of each manager’s 2012 development plan.           NYCHA is an employer of choice, attracting,
gest, bravest,
                            In addition, we are working to better align          retaining, and rewarding top performers from
toughest, and we
                        the 2012 performance management process with             both the public and private sectors
protect and serve       NYCHA’s goals, whereby Plan NYCHA will drive
all people.”            departmental goals and objectives, which in turn         NOW
Irving Blaney           will steer individual performance goals. Working         We will:
Supervisor of Housing   closely with our union partners, in 2012 we will also    Use Plan NYCHA to communicate
Grounds, Frederick
                        look to develop and implement an agency-wide             NYCHA’s mission and vision statements
Douglass Houses
                        performance management process.                          that will serve as the framework for all
                                                                                 future initiatives
                          The Challenges                                         Focus on measuring performance using data
                        Growing disconnect between NYCHA’s leader-               to also drive results and performance
                        ship and frontline: Similarly, NYCHA’s employees         Use tools like a “quality-of-life” report card
                        remain committed public servants dedicated to            to hold the organization accountable and
                        improving the lives of hundreds of thousands             to improve communication with the
                        of their fellow New Yorkers. However, financial          general public
                        stresses have forced staffing cuts and created           Empower our team to ensure that goals and
                        resource shortages, and employee morale has              expectations are clear and that employees
                        suffered. Additionally, a top-down approach to           are held accountable and provided with
                        management, coupled with little or no trans-             continuous feedback, development
                        parency around NYCHA’s long-term plan, has               opportunities, and the resources and support
                        fostered a disconnect between the organiza-              they require to get the job done
                        tion’s leaders and its frontline employees.
                                                                                 LONGER TERM
                          The Plan: As a high-performing                         We will:
                          organization, efficiency, operational                  Become a well-managed, high-performing
                          excellence, and continuous                             organization
                          improvement will be championed.                        Ensure that a more efficient, better trained,
                          Employees will be empowered to,                        and better supervised workforce is well-
                          capable of, and held accountable for                   prepared and supported
                          helping NYCHA achieve its goals.                       Recognize top performers while compelling
                          NYCHA will celebrate and reward                        all employees to perform at a higher level
                          outstanding performance by ensuring:

40     Plan NYCHA                                                                               NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
                                                                                               Create a High-Performing NYCHA

  The Call to Action                                            We must also work together to ensure that
NYCHA’s most valuable asset is its people.                  NYCHA’s employees have the opportunity to
Helping our team perform better and supporting              benefit from New York City’s investments in
them in their careers is essential to all our efforts.      performance and data management systems.
This will also require that we work to build more           With the partners mentioned above, we will
flexibility into our work rules, streamline our             collaborate to garner support for a performance
processes and systems, and work closely with all            management system for all NYCHA employees.
business partners to ensure that the needs of our               NYCHA must also create new partnerships with
team are met. To do this, we will need to work              other public housing authorities and public and
closely with NYCHA’s nearly 12,000 employees,               private sector organizations that have implemented
our union partners and the Department of                    programs and practices that have resulted in higher-
Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS).                    performing and better-motivated workforces.

Taylor Cranston, Soundview Houses resident and Section 3 employee

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                    Plan NYCHA   41

Lehman Community Center

                          Public housing has a noble mission: to be an enabler of socio-economic mobility by ensuring that one of the
                          most basic and fundamental ingredients to achieving a middle class lifestyle—stable, safe, and secure hous-
                          ing—is a reality for low-income individuals and families. NYCHA is workforce housing. Ensuring that this
                          resource is preserved and goes to those most capable of utilizing it as intended is one of our core duties. We
                          will work to make NYCHA a responsive and high-performance organization to achieve that goal.
                              Over the years, NYCHA’s mission has been stretched, and we are now being asked to support seniors
                          aging in place, individuals with disabilities, and the chronic unemployed and underemployed. Although
                          public housing is not necessarily the ideal environment or institution to address all of these constituents’
                          needs, we accept it as today’s reality. However, NYCHA cannot do it alone. We will only succeed through
                          partnerships and new strategies to provide tailored supports to these residents.
                              We do have valuable assets—land, community facilities, vouchers, insights into resident needs—that have
                          been under-utilized relative to this broader mandate. We must harness these assets to create new models for
                          supporting families within NYCHA developments, as well as transitioning many others out of traditional
                          public housing. We want to be flexible enough to deal with today’s realities of our more diverse customer needs,
                          but not lose sight of our fundamental goals: to see families move on and not continue to need our services.
                              Meeting this challenge requires resources. Support for public housing and affordable housing in
                          general is under attack. Many other efforts to support working families and poor seniors are also under
                          pressure. It is unrealistic to believe NYCHA can preserve this incredible resource without broad-based
                          funding support from all levels of government—federal, state and city—let alone be a more expansive
                          service provider to our evolving constituency.
                              We are asking for your support. NYCHA is as relevant and needed today as when it was founded
                          over 75 years ago, and our mission must be preserved at all costs. As laid out in this Call to Action, we
                          are prepared to do our part. We hope you will support us by contributing your resources to join in this
                          noble effort to support New York City’s families.

42    Plan NYCHA                                                                                        NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY

First Houses, in the 1940s

Since its founding in 1934, NYCHA’s mission has     NYCHA strategically and rapidly built afford-
remained unchanged: to increase opportunities       able housing across the five boroughs, setting the
for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by         national standard for cost-effective government
providing safe, affordable housing and facilitat-   housing. Stable housing combined with a range of
ing access to social and community services.        social and community services offered New York-
                                                    ers a springboard to greater opportunity. In time,
  Building Homes, Creating                          families were able to save money and move on to
  Opportunities                                     private housing and self-sufficiency. Over the past
For more than 75 years, NYCHA has been              eight decades, millions of New Yorkers have called
an essential resource for New York City. In         NYCHA home, including former residents Supreme
its earliest days, NYCHA built apartments so        Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former New York
families could move out of tenements or slum        City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Xerox Chair-
housing and into safe, clean and well main-         woman and CEO Ursula Burns, Congressman Jose
tained homes. Under Franklin Roosevelt’s            Serrano, former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
New Deal, building public housing was also          Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, actress
intended to be a source of employment for the       Whoopi Goldberg, singer Marc Anthony, Starbucks
unemployed during the Great Depression.8            founder and CEO Howard Schultz; and entrepre-
     As New York City’s population expanded,        neur and performer Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                           Plan NYCHA   43
                      Today, NYCHA serves more than 178,000 low-         a wide range of programs including social, edu-
                  income families in traditional public housing and      cational, economic, senior, health, recreational
                  another 96,000 families that hold Section 8 vouch-     and cultural services in more than 500 facilities
                  ers. Together this represents more than 630,000        throughout the city. With a vast array of pro-
                  people, which is equivalent to the population of       grams—including sports and recreation, literacy
                  Boston or Baltimore. There is no typical public        classes and general education courses, arts and
                  housing resident or family; these families represent   crafts, community gardening, childcare feeding
                  a range of backgrounds and experiences as diverse      and lunch, and senior companion initiatives—
                  as New York City.                                      NYCHA’s residents and communities have come
                                                                         to rely on these community enriching services.
                     A Sense of Community
                  NYCHA has always been more than a hous-                  Strengthening Local Economies
                  ing provider. People who live or have lived in         NYCHA is also an economic engine that invests
                  NYCHA properties vividly describe their homes          billions of dollars in New York City’s economy.
                  as part of a broader community, where neigh-           Public housing and rental assistance provide
                  bors watch out for each other, children are raised     families with secure, stable, and affordable hous-
                  together, and people are guided by a strong sense      ing so they can earn, spend, and save—benefit-
                  of community activism. In fact, NYCHA com-             ing both local and city-wide economies. About
                  munities help anchor neighborhoods across              half of our households have a family member in
                  the city, providing the social fabric that binds       the workforce, doing important work in fields
                  and builds the neighborhoods around them.              as diverse as transit, education, healthcare,
                      During difficult or challenging periods in         construction, retail, and government services.
                  New York City’s history, NYCHA buildings and           As an employer, NYCHA employs thousands of
                  communities served as beacons, forces of stability     New Yorkers, including a significant portion of
                  in what were then deemed “unstable” neighbor-          our residents. As a purchaser, NYCHA spends
                  hoods, including areas such as the South Bronx,        more than a billion dollars a year in the local
                  Harlem, and the Lower East Side. In more recent        economy on goods and services such as utilities,
                  times, public housing has been a community             supplies, construction, and more. And through
                  anchor, spurring development opportunities in          our contracts with non-profits, Community
                  these same neighborhoods while also helping to         Based Organizations (CBOs) and businesses
                  preserve the mixed-income character of rap-            small and large—including a significant number
                  idly changing neighborhoods during economic            of local Minority- and Woman-Owned Business
                  booms.                                                 Enterprises (MBEs/WBEs)—NYCHA contrib-
                      From the earliest days, NYCHA has partnered        utes to New York’s economy at every level.
                  with well-regarded non-profit organizations and            And it doesn’t stop there. NYCHA’s com-
                  city agencies to ensure resident access to a full      mitment to its residents—through workforce
                  range of social and community services. NYCHA          training, direct employment, job placement,
                  has built hundreds of facilities housing every-        education, childcare, and a host of financial plan-
                  thing from community centers to senior centers,        ning services—helps provide crucial resources to
                  health care clinics, continuing education class-       families that keep local neighborhoods thriv-
                  rooms and computer labs, Head Start centers,           ing. A national study conducted by the Econsult
                  and daycare centers.                                   Corporation has measured the economic impact
                      Today, NYCHA provides or enables access to         of investing in public housing, and has demon-

44   Plan NYCHA                                                                            NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY

strated that every capital dollar spent on public     A one-time infusion of $100 million in
housing buildings generates $2.12 in economic         transitional funding from the City of
activity through wages, purchases of goods and        New York, which represented a five-year
services, and consumer spending by workers.           prepayment of the city’s obligation to fund
NYCHA benefits all New Yorkers, not just those        operating costs at city-built developments,
who rely on it for their homes.9                      pending other fiscal remedy
                                                      HUD approval for a “Targeted Rent Reform”
  Contributing to the Mayor’s                         initiative that enabled NYCHA to phase
  Housing Plan                                        in, over several years, the first increase in
Since 2004, NYCHA has collaborated with the           maximum monthly rents since 1989
city’s Housing Preservation and Development De-       Implementation of process improvements
partment (HPD) and the Housing Development            and technology solutions to reduce costs and
Corporation (HDC) toward meeting the affordable       improve services that included the following
housing target in the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s         – Expanded Customer Contact Center
New Market Housing Plan. NYCHA’s commitment             – Implemented Computerized Heating Auto-
was to develop and construct 6,000 new units. To           mation System
date, approximately 3,900 units are in the planning     – Consolidated management offices
stage, under construction, or have been completed.    Issued $300 million of Capital Fund
An additional 2,100 are unfunded and NYCHA is         Financing Program Bonds to help fund capital
exploring creative options with partner agencies.     improvements
                                                      Negotiated adjustment to HUD allocation
  The First Plan to Preserve                          formula, offsetting a potential annual loss of
  Public Housing                                      $45 million
In 2006, NYCHA developed “The Plan to Pre-            Secured New York State legislative approval
serve Public Housing,” a five-year strategic          to permit NYCHA to receive the same
plan—and precursor to “Plan NYCHA”— that              subsidy that private landlords receive from
defined seven key initiatives NYCHA would             the State under the public assistance “shelter
pursue to address financial challenges, improve       allowance” program, which, when fully
customer service, and plan for the future.            phased-in, generated an incremental $46
    Major accomplishments related to the 2006         million annually
Plan include:

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                        Plan NYCHA   45
Community Conversation, Rutgers Community Center

                         APPENDIX: THE PROCESS
                         LEADING TO PLAN NYCHA
                         When Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed               advocates, and elected officials also issued a call
                         NYCHA Chairman John Rhea in June 2009,               to action. Recognizing the need for combined
                         he issued a clear mandate: NYCHA must ad-            strategic effort, they rolled up their sleeves and
                         dress its fiscal crisis, improve customer service,   demonstrated a shared interest in working collab-
                         and become a more inclusive, collaborative,          oratively with NYCHA to develop creative
                         and results-focused organization. With this          solutions that tackle the numerous challenges
                         directive, Chairman Rhea and the NYCHA               and confront the outside forces that imperil
                         Board—which now includes Vice Chair Em-              public housing.
                         ily Youssouf, Member Margarita López and,
                         for the first time in NYCHA history, a Resident        The Power of Collaboration
                         Member, Victor A. Gonzalez—laid the founda-          To create this roadmap for the future, NYCHA
                         tion for developing the next Plan to Preserve        has used an inclusive, transparent, and data-
                         Public Housing now known as Plan NYCHA.              driven process, engaging residents, employees
                         The objective was to create a five-year roadmap      and key stakeholders as partners. The follow-
                         for NYCHA’s future and a course for address-         ing section details our process and the inclusive
                         ing its most pressing strategic challenges.          involvement of our partners, including NYCHA
                             Meanwhile, residents, community members,         residents, employees, and external stakeholders.

46    Plan NYCHA                                                                                NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY

                                                                                                                            “We want to
                                                                                                                            create a new
                                                                                                                            image of public
                                                                                                                            housing, where
                                                                                                                            we are engaged in
                                                                                                                            a conversation
                                                                                                                            and we are
                                                                                                                            contributors to a
                                                                                                                            community and
                                                                                                                            we are an eco-
                                                                                                                            nomic engine and
                                                                                                                            we are also a part
                                                                                                                            of building the
                                                                                                                            future of this great
                                                                                                                            city as we always
The Citywide Council of Presidents (CCOP) are elected to represent their fellow residents. The CCOP members, from left to
right, are Ann Cotton Morris, Herma Williams, Geraldine Parker, John Johnson, Reginald H. Bowman (CCOP Chairman),           have been.”
Raymond Ballard, Ethel Velez, Lillie Marshall and Rose Bergin.                                                              Reginald H. Bowman
                                                                                                                            Chairman, Citywide
                                                                                                                            Council of Presidents,
  Our Customers                                                programs such as community centers and green
                                                                                                                            Seth Low Houses
NYCHA residents—our customers—are at                           committees—sessions were conducted in mul-                   Resident
the heart of Plan NYCHA. They include tra-                     tiple languages, including Spanish, Russian, and
ditional public housing residents, Section 8                   Cantonese. NYCHA engaged a third party to lead
voucher holders and applicants for these pro-                  the discussions to ensure participants would feel
grams. Together they form the largest group                    comfortable speaking freely, while remaining
of stakeholders, and they are key partners in                  anonymous.
achieving change at any and every level.                           The single-most noted priority for partici-
    As we sought to learn more about the needs                 pants was keeping developments clean, safe, and
and desires of our customers, we engaged resi-                 functional. Among the chief concerns cited were:
dent leaders, conducted focus groups and phone                     The length of time currently needed to
surveys, and held Community Conversations that                     complete repairs
gave thousands of NYCHA customers the oppor-                       The quality of those repairs
tunity to hear and discuss critical elements of the                Day-to-day upkeep of common spaces
proposed Plan NYCHA.                                               and elevators
    Focus Groups: In September and October                         Security and safety
2010, NYCHA hosted 16 focus groups, invit-                         Enforcement of rules and regulations
ing residents and Section 8 voucher holders to                     Screening of potential residents for eligibility
discuss their experiences as NYCHA customers.                      Clarity on how rent increases are determined
Attended by residents of every background—in-                      For Section 8 voucher holders, sustaining
cluding Resident Association leaders, NYCHA                    access to their vouchers was key, along with as-
resident employees, and participants in NYCHA                  surance that NYCHA will hold their landlords

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                                                 Plan NYCHA       47
                                                Plan NYCHA—A Collaborative Process


                                            NYCHA                                           Council of
                                           Employees                                        Presidents

                                  New York                      Plan NYCHA                                Community
                                City Agencies                                                              Leaders

                                           Other Public                                       Elected
                                             Housing                                          Officials


                  and property owners accountable for keeping               search, had the largest number of respondents
                  their homes safe, secure, and in good repair.             ever surveyed by a U.S. public housing authority.
                      Participants uniformly called for more                Participants represented a diverse sample of eth-
                  accountability from NYCHA, its partners, and              nicities, ages and neighborhoods, and covered a
                  from residents themselves. Specifically, they             wide-range of topics including the status of hous-
                  felt NYCHA should be more accountable as                  ing units, maintenance, communication, safety,
                  a property manager in enforcing rules and                 community programs, and quality of life issues.
                  regulations, partners should be responsible                   NYCHA residents expressed a high level
                  for ensuring that programs benefit NYCHA’s                    of satisfaction with many features of public
                  residents, and all residents must be more                     housing, and underscored the importance of
                  accountable to each other as good neighbors.                  NYCHA’s social and community services. The
                      Phone Survey: In October 2010, over 1,000                 single most noted cause for concern was the
                  residents and 600 Section 8 participants, all cho-            disrepair of their buildings and the need for
                  sen at random, took part in a phone survey that               more timely service regarding repairs in
                  measured their levels of customer satisfaction.               their apartments.
                  This 60-question survey, designed and executed                Respondents consider their apartments to
                  by our partners at Baruch College Survey Re-                  be a good value. The vast majority

48   Plan NYCHA                                                                               NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY

    emphasized the importance of maintaining         employees have been informed and empowered
    on-site support, and noted that management       to help drive this effort to create a roadmap for
    offices, senior centers, and community           the future. Over the past year, NYCHA employ-
    centers are especially valuable to their         ees at every level have shared their opinions,
    communities. Access to job training and GED      brainstormed ideas, presented strategies, and
    programs were ranked the most important          led or participated on teams that are trans-
    non-housing services.                            forming Plan NYCHA from vision to reality.
    While public housing residents were                  From May to September 2010, more than 500
    content with the overall condition of their      staff from both the central office and the field
    development, only a little more than half were   participated in meetings to explain the planning
    satisfied with their building. This concern      process and opportunities for employee involve-
    was linked to some degree with the issue of      ment. Emails, blog posts, and internal newsletters
    safety, since quality-of-life crimes—such as     kept everyone updated, and staff members were
    vandalism and graffiti—contributed to            encouraged to email their ideas and suggestions.
    their dissatisfaction.                               From July to October 2010, NYCHA conduct-
    Community Conversations: To rebuild              ed more than 80 staff focus groups reaching over
trust and become better partners with                1,200 employees across the organization. In these
residents, NYCHA held a series of Community          sessions, staff developed collaborative, construc-
Conversations in April and May 2011. More            tive approaches to realizing the strategic priori-
than 800 public housing residents and Section 8      ties set forth in the Plan NYCHA framework.
voucher holders in all five boroughs participated
in these gatherings, including special sessions           Four key themes emerged:
for Spanish, Chinese, and Russian speakers, and      1.   Improving quality of life and safety for
for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.           our residents is the highest priority. Until
During these conversations, staff and residents           maintenance requests and safety concerns are
discussed why NYCHA was important to them,                addressed, residents will likely be skeptical of
and detailed issues to be addressed by Plan               our ability to deliver on other efforts
NYCHA. NYCHA leaders provided all attendees          2.   Enhanced communication and collaboration are
with information about NYCHA’s findings during            called for, internally as well as with residents
the course of the planning process and about         3.   There is enormous potential for NYCHA to
actions needed to address present-day challenges.         create value through more innovative and
In small groups, staff and residents spoke                effective use of existing assets, including our
openly and constructively about issues ranging            buildings, land, and people
from maintenance and repairs to safety and           4.   Enhanced training and development present an
security, affordable housing, and resident                opportunity to improve performance, morale,
and community services. Collectively, the                 and customer service
groups discussed the best ways to tackle
current challenges.                                     In each of these areas, staff members provided
                                                     thousands of ideas and suggestions that were
   THE NYCHA Team                                    incorporated into the planning process by
Each and every NYCHA employee plays a critical       the internal work teams.
role in fulfilling NYCHA’s mission and mak-             NYCHA’s leaders have also been deeply
ing Plan NYCHA a success. From the outset,           involved in the process. Nine internal teams were

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                                              Plan NYCHA   49
                  created to develop the specific strategies that         Senate and Assembly, federal elected officials,
                  make up the roadmap. Led by senior executives,          industry groups, and additional city and state
                  these interdisciplinary teams consisted of em-          agencies and Community-Based Organizations.
                  ployees from all departments, including at least        They presented the challenges that NYCHA faced
                  one team member from the frontline staff on ev-         and collectively brainstormed solutions. These
                  ery team. More than 150 staff in all participated,      ideas, recommendations and best practices were
                  representing a higher level of staff involvement        incorporated into Plan NYCHA.
                  than in any prior NYCHA planning effort.                    In addition, NYCHA staff visited housing
                      Collectively, these teams worked together for six   authorities across the country to learn best
                  months, gathered data, conducted strategic analysis,    practices, explore innovative approaches, research
                  and drafted organizational goals. They analyzed         their housing policies and programming—
                  the ideas from staff focus groups, incorporated         including their work with unions—and develop
                  the resident research, and partnered with experts       partnerships. Talking with public housing
                  to fine-tune their recommendations. This effort         leaders in other cities provided valuable insight
                  culminated with all teams presenting their final        into new and innovative approaches across
                  recommendations to the Board. Findings were then        other geographies including Baltimore, Chicago,
                  shared with employees at every level via brownbag       Newark, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, and
                  lunches, borough-wide meetings, smaller staff           Washington, DC.
                  meetings, and internal online discussions.                  In spring of 2011, NYCHA leaders began
                                                                          presenting the draft Plan NYCHA at meetings,
                    Our External Partners                                 briefings, and interactive sessions with key stake-
                  From the outset, NYCHA has sought the input             holders throughout New York City, soliciting
                  and advice of external partners, experts, and           feedback from residents, employees, representa-
                  thought leaders both from inside and outside            tives from regulatory agencies, elected officials,
                  New York City, with the recognition that NYCHA          advocates, community partners, and staff from
                  is an integral part of New York City life.              other city agencies. This document is the final
                      NYCHA leaders met with elected officials and        result of that collaborative process. We will con-
                  advocates, including individuals from the City          tinue to seek input and feedback as we implement
                  Council, the Public Advocate’s Office, the State        Plan NYCHA.

50   Plan NYCHA                                                                             NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY

1. “2011 Housing Supply Report” New York City Rent Guidelines Board.
   June 2, 2011. (

2. “New Housing Marketplace Plan” New York City Housing Preservation and Development.
   2010. (

3. “Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Steel, Housing Commissioner Wambua and HDC
   President Jahr Announce New York City Has Reached Major Milestone in Affordable
   Housing Plan” New York City Housing and Preservation Development. Press Release.
   July 20, 2011 (

4. “The Decline in Affordable Housing in New York City” Office of New York State
   Comptroller. 2010. ( )

5. “2011 Housing Supply Report” New York City Rent Guidelines Board
   June 2, 2011. (

6. “2011 Income and Affordability Study.” New York City Rent Guidelines Board. 2011.
   pg 8. (

7. “Rental Assistance Demonstration” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
   2011. ( )

8. Stoloff, JA. “A Brief History of Public Housing” US Department of Housing and Urban
   Development. (

9. “Public Housing Stimulus Funding: A Report on the Economic Impact of Recovery Act
   Capital Improvements” Econosult Corporation. 2011. page 2.

NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY                                                          Plan NYCHA   51

                  BOARD MEMBERS
                  John B. Rhea, Chairman
                  Emily Youssouf, Vice Chair
                  Margarita López, Board Member
                  Victor A. Gonzalez, Board Member
                  Vilma Huertas, Secretary

                  EXECUTIVE STAFF
                  Atefeh Riazi, Acting General Manager
                  Helen Morillo, Chief of Staff
                  Sonya Kaloyanides, General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer
                  Natalie Rivers, First Deputy General Manager, Administration
                  Carlos Laboy-Diaz, Deputy General Manager, Operations
                  Sharon Myrie, Deputy General Manager, Community Programs and Development
                  Raymond Ribeiro, Deputy General Manager, Capital Projects
                  Andreas Spitzer, Acting Chief Financial Officer
                  Lynn Godfrey, Chief Communications Officer
                  Carlos Serrano, Assistant Deputy General Manager, Leased Housing
                  Brian Clarke, Assistant Deputy General Manager, Operations for Support Services
                  Deidra Gilliard, Assistant Deputy General Manager, Community Programs and Development
                  Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Chief Strategy and Program Development Officer
                  Celeste Morgan Glenn, Assistant Deputy General Manager, Capital Projects Administration
                  Farhan Syed, Assistant Deputy General Manager, Capital Projects Operations
                  Anne-Marie Flatley, Director, Research and Management Analysis
                  Brian Honan, Director, State and City Legislative Affairs
                  Celeste Thomas Segure, Director of Equal Opportunity
                  Jenna Lawrence, Deputy Director, Office of Strategic Planning, PLAN NYCHA Development

                  PRODUCED BY
                  The NYCHA Department of Communications in collaboration with Amy Chester, Eric Deutsch,
                  Tischelle George, Lynn Godfrey, Roger Kavanagh, Jenna Lawrence, Christian Nwachukwu,
                  and Sheila Stainback

                  Peter Mikoleski, NYCHA Senior Photographer
                  Leticia Barboza, NYCHA Photographer

                  DESIGN AND LAYOUT
                  Vanguard Direct

52   Plan NYCHA                                                                           NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY
Smith Houses

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