NEW YORK -- State Senator Daniel Squadron submitted testimony to this evening's hearing on the 2013 Draft Annual Plan for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), arguing that the agency's financial challenges can be helped by ending its unique burden in which NYCHA is the only residential landlord in the City that is required to pay for police protection.
A 1994 MOU between NYCHA and the City requires NYCHA to pay the New York Police Department (NYPD) for ongoing law enforcement services for NYCHA residents through "Police Service Areas" (PSAs). Currently, NYCHA pays over $70 million a year to the NYPD for these “special police services,” making it the only residential landlord in the City that is required to pay for police protection. Moreover, these dedicated officers are regularly redeployed to non-NYCHA operations -- and NYCHA is not reimbursed.
"To be clear, under no circumstances should force strength in NYCHA or citywide be reduced, nor should NYPD’s flexibility in deployment be limited. Rather, the issue is that in being required to pay for NYPD services, NYCHA bears a unique burden -- a burden that is not borne by any other landlord or the vast majority of special events in the city," said Squadron.
"It is a burden that is unfair for residents and a major contributor to the authority’s structural deficit. I urge the Board to join the many leaders across the city who have called for an end to this arrangement," continued Squadron.
In 2010, Squadron introduced and passed legislation "federalizing" the NYCHA developments and allowing the agency to draw nearly $75 million a year in new operating funds - forever - as well as hundreds of millions of dollars for capital improvements.
Additionally, in 2009, Squadron, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, GOLES, and over 100 other elected officials and community groups launched the SOUND Housing Campaign to support public housing and address NYCHA's long-term financial needs.
Even with the agency's current funding challenges, Squadron's testimony argued that there are additional ways to improve the safety and quality of life of NYCHA's hundreds of thousands of residents and help with the agency's financial challenges -- including by ending the unique payment arrangement with the NYPD and installing the security cameras for which millions of dollars have already been allocated.
Squadron's full testimony is available below.