Community Preservation Corp. Says Multi-Faceted Solutions Necessary to Fix NYCHA’s Woes

Real Estate In-Depth | October 6, 2021

The CPC stated that preserving the city’s largest source of affordable housing cannot be done through one plan alone. It will require city, state and federal assistance.

NEW YORK—Non-profit multifamily housing finance company The Community Preservation Corporation released a new paper on Oct. 5 outlining a critical path it says needs to move forward for saving the New York City Housing Authority.

The white paper entitled “Ending the NYCHA Blame Game: A Multi-Pronged Solution to Fix Decades of Disinvestment” explains the realities of the crisis that decades of underfunding and disinvestment have caused, and offers a series of solutions that work in concert to ensure NYCHA’s housing can be rehabilitated and stabilized for current and future generations.

“NYCHA’s properties represent the single largest supply of deeply affordable housing in New York. Our paper outlines the stark realities NYCHA now faces, and a multi-pronged solution that would provide the resources and structure to help rescue our public housing,” said Rafael E. Cestero, president and CEO of The Community Preservation Corporation. “NYCHA’s tenants have watched their homes slide into disrepair and decay while our leaders have spent decades arguing over which silver bullet is going to save the day. The reality is that we need all of the tools we can leverage working together to fix NYCHA now and to prepare it for a sustainable and resilient future.”

After 45 years of disinvestment and devastating public health crises, NYCHA is nearing its point of no return. While it is a lifeline providing permanently and deeply affordable housing to more than 400,000 New Yorkers, the deteriorating conditions—mold, lead, rodents, heat and elevator failures—plague residents on a daily basis. There are several plans that have been proposed to save NYCHA including public-private partnerships in the form of RAD/PACT, establishing a new Trust for Public Housing, and securing $40 billion in Public Housing Capital from the federal government.

The CPC stated that preserving the city’s largest source of affordable housing cannot be done through one plan alone. It will require city, state and federal assistance. The white paper calls to end the false choices of pitting one-plan-vs-another and instead calls for NYCHA resources at all levels of government:

Recommendations in the white paper include:

• Congress should immediately pass the reconciliation bill including a one-time infusion of capital funding with $40 billion set aside for NYCHA. It will take years for that to be spent, but critical infrastructure, i.e. heating and mold issues, can be addressed immediately.

• When that capital is finally flowing into NYCHA’s coffers, New York State should take action to approve the Public Trust so the authority can cut through the procurement hold-ups that are limiting its ability to spend money faster and more efficiently.

• HUD should allocate 12,000 Tenant Protection Vouchers as a proof-of-concept investment in the Public Trust model and fund a third-party evaluation of the model. HUD and NYCHA should partner to identify target high-need developments and provide comprehensive modernization through the trust.

• The governor and incoming Mayoral Administrations must work together and provide NYCHA at least $1.5 billion each in city and state capital annually

Since inception in 1974, the CPC has provided more than $12 billion to finance more than 220,000 units of housing, and is currently one of the largest Community Development Financial Institutions in the country solely dedicated to investing in multifamily housing.