The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is currently fast-tracking a new plan known as “Blueprint for Change” with the stated goal of “addressing the physical needs at every building in the NYCHA portfolio”, essentially stabilizing 110,000 apartments. The official plan has three main stages: creating the NYC Housing Preservation Trust, making interim use of Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs) for repairs, and stabilizing the property through and alongside economic recovery.
So what does all of that mean? Well, TPVs become available to tenants once their housing meets a point of “obsolescence”. NYCHA is assuming that about 110,000 apartments are going to meet that criteria; the organization will then pool all of the vouchers and use them to raise funds for repairs instead of assigning them to the apartments that warranted them in the first place. This means that those individuals who did qualify may not end up receiving the adequqate attention that they need.
- The creation of the new trust involves converting Section 9 housing units over to Section 8, a sector of privatized NY housing units. This ties tenants’ living stability to the luck and profits of private investors, creating a more uncertain future for all affected tenants.
- In order for NYCHA to receive the necessary TPVs to make repairs, they are relying upon the “obsolescence” of affected apartments, meaning they have the motivation to not conduct repairs in the meantime.
- Tenants have minimal influence on the plan’s proceedings, and there is no oversight system in place to ensure that the Trust is carried out in the tenants’ best interests.
- There is no pathway for converting Section 9 housing back to Section 8, so the move to privatization of those properties would be permanent.
In short, NYCHA’s plan is looking at the affected tenants as numbers on an agenda, not real individuals with lives to maintain and families to house. Despite the organization’s statement that the Blueprint’s Trust is not privatization, it is certainly a step in that direction, and the risk that poses to New Yorkers should not be underestimated.
For those looking to help, the link above to Justice For All’s document has several action steps listed that you can take against the Blueprint plan, including contacting representatives, submitting public comments, and more.