The New York State Senate recently passed legislation that will allow for New York City Housing Authority owned developments, such as Bushwick Houses, to fall under federal oversight and qualify for much-needed funding.
For more than a decade, 21 NYCHA developments have received no funding from the City and State of New York. Pending additional budget cuts in the proposed 2010–11 state budget, NYCHA stood to face an unprecedented $88 million operational budget shortfall.
“This legislation immediately gives Bushwick Houses access to millions in federal funds to begin long overdue repairs and updates to these units. From now on, residents of Bushwick Houses can join the thousands of other New Yorkers fortunate to live under the unequaled protection and service federal Housing and Urban Development oversight can provide them,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, D-Bushwick.
The legislation first passed in the Assembly through the support of sponsor, Assemblymember Vito Lopez, D-Bushwick.
This bill requires NYCHA to transfer housing developments through sale or lease to nonprofit entities, making them eligible for a one-time $400 million federal funding opportunity through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Since these developments were not built using federal dollars, they were not supported by the federal government.
As part of the plan, not only will all units remain public housing and no resident be displaced, but they will now be regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, meaning: all units will be rehabilitated to HUD standards; a minimum of $2,000 in federal funds must be spent on each unit; and NYCHA will see full allocations of annual operating and capital costs.
“Almost overnight Bushwick Houses has seen an infusion of at least $2.4 million. This is great news for the nearly 3,000 residents of this complex,” said Senator Dilan. “It means doors that lock, functioning elevators, dependable heat, and the funding to keep on top of basic maintenance problems that have perpetually burdened the residents of Bushwick Houses.”
Bushwick Houses in Brooklyn consists of eight buildings, each between 13 and 20 stories, housing 2,962 residents in 1,221 apartments. Humboldt and Moore Streets, Bushwick and Flushing Avenues border the 16-acre site completed March 31, 1960.
Having passed in both houses, the bill awaits the Governor’s approval.