Senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Ritchie Torres unveiled a push over the weekend for an $80-plus billion dollar investment in federal public housing funds via the just-proposed American Jobs Plan.
Schumer and Torres said after decades of disinvestment, bad management and federal neglect, NYCHA and its residents face a “now-or-never moment” to secure critically-needed investments via the American Jobs Plan.
The lawmakers said the administration’s plan calls for $40 billion dollars for the whole nation, but that number is not enough given the needs of public housing properties across the country, particularly in New York. Schumer and Torres said they are going to fight to double down on that proposal to ensure that it is at least $80 billion dollars.
“As a product of NYCHA, the subject of public and affordable housing is deeply personal to me,” Torres said. “Investing in and repairing public housing means investing in hard working families. While the American Jobs Plan proposes to invest $40 billion in public housing, that simply is not enough and will not cover all the capital repairs needed in public housing nationwide. We need to double that commitment in order to address the public housing repair backlog. Together with my House and Senate colleagues we will continue to push the Biden Administration to make significant investments in NYCHA and public housing authorities across the country.”
The American Jobs Plan called on Congress to invest $40 billion to improve the infrastructure of the public housing system in America. The funding “will address critical life-safety concerns, mitigate imminent hazards to residents, and undertake energy efficiency measures, which will significantly reduce ongoing operating expenses. The improvements will disproportionately benefit women, people of color, and people with disabilities.”
Schumer applauded the push and said $40 billion is ‘not chump change,’ but the Senator made the case to at least double the investment, using NYCHA as backdrop to make the case.
He explained that NYCHA has been suffering from years of repair and upkeep backlog work orders. There are four categories of these work orders, according to the city, each with their own delays due, in part, to a lack of funds.
- Corrective Maintenance Work Orders – all resident service requests result in ‘Corrective Maintenance Work Orders’ and they can also be created by NYCHA staff and private contractors who manage some NYCHA developments. They constitute the vast majority of NYCHA Work Orders.
- Inspection Work Orders – created to prompt inspections of various types including apartments, boilers, elevators, fire extinguishers and window guards.
- Preventive Maintenance Work Orders – created for routine maintenance issues such as elevators and heating equipment.
- Violation Work Orders – created in connection with summonses and violation notices issued by various government entities such as the Fire Department (FDNY), the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).