On June 17, NYCHA announced the launch of Construction Business Pathways, a program to help residents gain access to contract opportunities with the city’s housing agency.
NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability will provide Bronx residents, which has 75 developments serving 95,000 people, with training, mentoring and certification opportunities to launch or grow their construction business. They will then be connected to construction and maintenance projects at NYCHA. The program is starting with a grant from JPMorgan Chase to NYCHA’s nonprofit arm, The Fund for Public Housing and marks the largest private investment ever awarded to the agency.
Supported by a $535,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase, The Fund and NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES) will prepare 60 residents to launch their own construction businesses through intensive training and certification opportunities. Participants will join a Construction Management Mentorship Program that provides formal mentorships, with technical assistance, to select graduates. REES will then connect these graduates to construction building and maintenance projects at one of their more than 300 public housing developments.
“As NYCHA expands its capital investment, the JP Morgan Chase grant comes at a time of great opportunity for rebuilding individual lives and communities through workforce and community development,” said NYCHA Chairman & CEO Greg Russ. “The program helps residents establish their own construction businesses with the opportunity to work for NYCHA. I’m grateful for this generous award from JP Morgan Chase and proud of NYCHA staff for developing and delivering high quality programs to our residents.”
While there are many construction projects and contracting opportunities available, NYCHA found contractors and small business owners face significant challenges doing business with the housing agency. Two focus groups were hosted with aspiring NYCHA resident business owners in 2020 and the group identified a variety of challenges they face including navigating cost estimation, bid documents, labor law requirements and project scope. REES recognized the need to provide residents with tailored resources, in order to create formal business structures and secure contracts.
“Every person deserves the opportunity to leverage their abilities to advance their economic lives, however, that opportunity is not equally available to everyone,” said Jeanique Druses, vice president, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “This investment in the Fund for Public Housing demonstrates JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to level the playing field and help NYCHA residents receive the assistance needed to launch and grow their businesses and more successfully access the contracts NYCHA issues, further unlocking the full potential of the housing agency to benefit its residents.”