The NYC Comptroller’s Office recently announced a pair of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) audits based on feedback from NYCHA residents. These probes were announced on Feb. 22 and rely on a steering committee composed of those living in public housing.
“Residents are the experts on what is broken in their homes, and their insight is an integral part of the oversight process to ensure that NYCHA is meeting its obligations,” said NYC Comptroller Brad Lander in the announcement. “Problems with the repairs process and concerns about rising evictions rose to the top in our conversations, and our auditors will be diving in on the details to understand what’s happening and what needs improvement.”
The first audit probes how NYCHA repairs units, with special emphasis on how contractors are hired and graded on their work, in addition to what measures are taken against those who fail to perform properly.
Last month, anti-gentrification tenant organization United Front Against Displacement (UFAD) released repair requests for Harlem’s Manhattanville Houses. The letters included photos depicting conditions of moldy walls, water-damaged ceilings, and exposed piping. One resident was told by NYCHA, after reporting a mice problem, that an exterminator would not be available for months.
The second audit looks into eviction rates at developments under the rollout of the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program, the Big Apple’s version of the Obama administration’s federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which UFAD calls a “privatization scheme.” The initiative opened the door to Section 8, which greenlit NYCHA’s ability to bring in private management.
“As the RAD/PACT program continues to expand to NYCHA developments, we as residents want to ensure that there is accountability and oversight of this program,” said NYCHA resident Brenda Temple. “I am grateful to Comptroller Lander for creating the resident committee so that our voices are heard throughout this process. City resources must be directed toward robust outreach to tenants in converted buildings to learn more about their experiences of RAD/PACT.”
A Comptroller’s Office spokesperson told the Amsterdam News the audits are currently in process and direct inquiries would be limited to maintain the independence and objectivity of the audits.
Tandy Lau is a Report for America corps member and writes about public safety for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep him writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting https://bit.ly/amnews1.