City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Brownsville, East Flatbush, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown heights), chair of the Council’s Public Housing Committee, went to Massachusetts this weekend to get a first-hand look at a federal program that allows for a public/private partnership to maintain and repair public housing.
The council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) along with Teamsters Local 237 organized the trip to the Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) to review the implementation process of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) developments within the city.
RAD is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administered program that allows private capital investment and contracts for the development and rehabilitation of deeply affordable rental housing.
The tour comes as the city faces a Jan. 31 federal court ordered deadline to come up with a feasible plan that is acceptable to HUD to repair and manage the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) properties and its over 400,000 residents or face losing direct control over managing NYCHA to the federal government.
“Understanding the mechanics of the RAD program is essential to ensuring the city’s effort to leverage outside capital to finance urgently needed repairs at NYCHA truly serves the interests of its tenants as well as the workforce responsible for meeting their basic needs,” said BLAC Co-Chair, Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens). “We thank Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd and the Cambridge Housing Authority for organizing this fact-finding tour for our members and tenants advocates.”
Ampry-Samuel, who grew up in public housing the tour of the Cambridge Housing Authority was a great experience that provided an opportunity for all stakeholders in NYCHA to come together and grasp a deeper understanding of the future of public housing; not only in NYC, but across the United States.
“More importantly, it created an environment where real people could have real conversations about the long term affordability and sustainability of NYCHA and its residents as NYCHA continues its path towards providing safe, clean and decent housing,” said Ampry-Samuel.
City Council and BLAC Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights), chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing & Buildings, said addressing the enormous capital needs of NYCHA will require bold vision and creative thinking both in the short term and in the long term.
“Having the opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices with municipalities who have successfully navigated similar hurdles, like Cambridge, is an important way for us as policymakers to learn more about how we can most effectively and immediately meet the urgent needs of our public housing developments, and the New Yorkers who call them home,” said Cornegy.
“I thank the Teamsters Local 237 for organizing this extremely informational trip and look forward to applying some of what was learned in Cambridge to upgrade and secure the long-term sustainability of our own public housing stock here in New a York City,” he added.