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Mayor’s New Initiative To Improve Housing Complexes

Tenants of apartment buildings throughout the Bronx will no longer have to deal with ignored and outdated property repairs.

Mayor Bloomberg, along with Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other city officials, announced that big changes will begin soon for multifamily buildings in dire need of repairs and renovations. A press conference was held at Our Lady of Angels school in Kingsbridge Heights on Thursday, January 13. The mayor announced the new Proactive Preservation Initiative, which will be an aggressive and effective way to point out and address deteriorating physical conditions in housing complexes throughout New York City.

Before this initiative was launched, city residents made their building complaints by calling and notifying 311. However, through the new Proactive Preservation Initiative, city officials will promptly identify and handle repair issues of approximately 500 buildings throughout the next 12 months in the Bronx and other boroughs.

Mayor Bloomberg believes this initiative will be able to take care of current problems before they get worse.

“Our job is not just to wait until conditions around the city decline to a low point and fix them then,” Bloomberg said. “We will act aggressively to address problems before they worsen. We are launching the Proactive Preservation Initiative to protect the city’s housing stock.”

For years, residents would wait until building issues worsened to make complaints. The landlords would ignore the problems and allow them to reach the point where they were beyond repair. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development used to only learn of and deal with poor building conditions once complaints came from tenants. From now on, HPD will work with the City Council to collect and review data of distressed buildings that are in bad conditions and determine the work that will need to be done immediately.

Our Lady of Angels School is one of 10 buildings part of the Millbank housing complex off of Sedgwick Avenue that will be one of the first to be rehabilitated under the new initiative. Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. feels that this is an exciting and necessary opportunity for the Bronx. He has faith in the City Council and HPD in ensuring that tenants of affordable housing complexes will no longer suffer from substantial living conditions.

According to HPD Commissioner Rafael Cestero, the main goal of this initiative is to protect buildings from future problems. HPD will promptly handle all current repair needs and the plan is to prevent these buildings from having to deal with outdated property issues years from now.

“We are poised to establish a national model to address decline in the health of multi-family housing stock and avert neighborhood distress,” Cestero said. “HPD’s refreshed focus on preventing this decline as opposed to reacting to it will stabilize and strengthen communities across the city.”

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