An expansion of the New York City Housing Authority’s Permanent Affordability Commitment Together program could mean much needed repairs for approximately 1,000 apartments in the Bronx.
According to a January 18 press release from NYCHA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development granted the expansion which will bring an additional $300 million dollars in funding for a total of 1,700 units throughout the Bronx and Brooklyn.
Through PACT, NYCHA can shift funding for their units from Section 9, or public housing, to project-based Section 8 which will allow for the partnerships with private developers.
However, even though a developer will manage the buildings, NYCHA remains the landlord and is able to make sure units stay affordable and tenants’ rights stay intact.
The PACT expansion will benefit 991 units in the borough.
Those units include apartments at Twin Parks West, the Franklin Avenue conventional apartments, the Betances apartments and the Highbridge Rehabs.
“For many low-income families in the Bronx this means a significant improvement in their quality of life—and for that, I commend the department,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
According to Councilmember Ritchie Torres, PACT is “the best opportunity to save public housing for future generations.”
“NYCHA is at a crossroads and it must either adapt to the changing federal landscape and funding streams, or risk losing buildings to decay,” he said. “The Rental Assistance Demonstration Program provides much-needed investments while allowing NYCHA to retain ownership of land and buildings.”
The repairs on these apartments won’t come right away.
NYCHA expects to first meet with the community to discuss what repairs they need and answer any questions residents have.
“The PACT process centers around community engagement because at its core this new public-private partnership is about improving residents’ quality of life,” said a NYCHA spokesperson.
The spokesperson also stressed the maintenance of tenant rights through NYCHA during the private/public partnership.
Many times in these types of partnerships, residents are fairful that a new developer means a new landlord that can hike up the rent or take advantage of tenants.
In addition to the Rockaways’ Ocean Bay, NYCHA has also done other private/public partnerships outside of the PACT program.
In August 2016, NYCHA completed repairs to the Bronxchester Houses on E. 156th Street through a partnership with L+M Development.
The building received new paint, new pipes, central air for residents, and a new basketball court and play area.
“The developments in this PACT include some of NYCHA’s most challenging buildings and the authority had no way to address their needs with the limited capital funding received and over $17 billion in capital needs throughout the portfolio,” said the spokesperson. “Through the RAD program, residents in these developments will see their buildings transformed and fully rehabbed with over $300 million being invested back into these buildings”.