Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of the City of New York
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
As a New York State Senator representing more than 1,800 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) tenants, I was deeply concerned to hear that looming budget shortfalls would force the agency to eliminate all funding for "non-core services," as NYCHA chairman Tino Hernandez suggested at a May 29, 2008 New York City Council Housing and Buildings Committee hearing.
Such services, which include senior, health, and community centers, day care facilities, and all programs run by non-governmental organizations at NYCHA's 343 developments, are vital resources for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged New Yorkers. The June 17, 2008 New York Times article "Public Housing Residents Face Loss of Their Community Centers" illustrates just some of the ways in which the hundreds of thousands of children, adults and older people who live in the City’s public housing complexes use the centers and would be affected by the proposed cuts. These centers and their programs &ndash especially those subject to lease renegotiations &ndash may be unable to operate without NYCHA program funding and subsidized facilities.
While I regret that I and my colleagues in Albany were unsuccessful in securing significant State funding for the authority, I urge you to heed the call of New York City Councilmember Rosie Mendez and many of her colleagues to set aside approximately $70 million in the City's Fiscal Year 2009 budget in order to protect NYCHA's senior and youth programs in the short term. I also encourage you to establish an emergency, interagency task force to explore long-term savings NYCHA can achieve that would help the authority overcome its structural deficit.
I appreciate your consideration of my suggestions and I hope that you will continue to preserve NYCHA's programming as we work to make our City livable for all New Yorkers.
Thomas K. Duane
New York State Senate