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December 14, 2018

The private option: De Blasio awakens, finally, to the virtues of innovation at NYCHA

June 27, 2018
Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a press conference in Campos Plaza on Monday June 25, 2018 in Manhattan, NY (Go Nakamura / for New York Daily News)

Praise heaven, Mayor de Blasio is hitting the streets preaching salvation for the New York City Housing Authority, by means of private management and financing to repair otherwise hopelessly shabby apartments.

“The shape of things to come,” came his sermon Tuesday elevating plans underway to enroll 15,000 apartments in a federal program, called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), that enables real estate developers to borrow funds to fix up broken-down complexes but keeps the projects affordable and under NYCHA’s control.




Another 5,000 apartments formerly funded by New York City and State will also be getting a cash infusion following famine.

A lucky few tenants so far are rapturous about the transformation they’ve seen virtually overnight, with working air conditioning where mainstream NYCHA tenants must pray for even heat and hot water.

What’s not to like?

Well, frankly, that it took preposterously long for de Blasio to get out of the starting gate at the stunningly obvious solution to eons of federal government disinvestment in public housing.

After Congress green-lighted the partnerships in 2012, pre-de Blasio NYCHA started preparations. Come May 2015, the mayor tucked privately funded fix-its for 20,000 apartments into his NextGen NYCHA financial rescue plan.

Three years later, he’s got just 1,400 done and touts 3,100 in the works — when NYCHA has 176,000 apartments in such desperate straits the city is on the hook to a federal monitor for billions of dollars in maintenance.

Not enough. De Blasio needs to make NYCHA turnarounds a top priority, after tragic neglect even as he poured his political passion into his plan to separately build or preserve 300,000 affordable apartments.

Mayor Bill de Blasio visits Campos Plaza apartment resident Dereese Huff to see her newly renovated apartment on Monday June 25, 2018.
Mayor Bill de Blasio visits Campos Plaza apartment resident Dereese Huff to see her newly renovated apartment on Monday June 25, 2018. (Go Nakamura / for New York Daily News)




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