Ten per cent. of public housing buildings in New York City are in "troubled" condition : HUD inspection

By LOUIS FLORES

Approximately 10 per cent. of New York City's public housing developments scored so poorly in a physical inspection conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, that the developments were rated to be in "troubled" condition. A summary of the inspection findings was published by the New York City Independent Budget Office. The summary was first noted in a report published by The New York Post.

The 20 developments owned by the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, that scored an inspection quality rating below 60 (the threshold for "troubled" status) were :

According to the findings of inspections conducted by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, the Patterson Houses in the Bronx received a physical condition score of 33, the lowest of any public housing development owned by the New York City Housing Authority. Source : Google Street View/Fair Use

According to the findings of inspections conducted by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development, the Patterson Houses in the Bronx received a physical condition score of 33, the lowest of any public housing development owned by the New York City Housing Authority. Source : Google Street View/Fair Use

  • Bronx : Patterson Houses (Score : 33) ; Mott Haven (42) ; Union Ave./East 163rd Street (56) ; Sotomayor Houses (57) ; and Saint Mary's Park (59) ;
  • Brooklyn : Nostrand (43) ; Tompkins (45) ; Gravesend (52) ; Marlboro (54) ; Linden (56) ; Whitman (56) ; Van Dyke I (57) ; Brevoort (58) ; and Red Hook II (West) (58) ;
  • Manhattan : Manhattanville (49) ; P.S. 139 Renaissance (54) ; Clinton (55) ; Fulton (55) ; and Polo Grounds Towers (57) ; and
  • Queens : Ocean Bay (Bayside) (58).

The physical inspection scores were published online by HUD.

The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) had no comment in response to the summary findings of Independent Budget Office. A request made by Progress Queens to the City Hall press office was not answered.

The physical condition standards at NYCHA's public housing developments are reportedly the subject of a Federal investigation being conducted by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.   A review of a data file of maintenance records obtained by Progress Queens from NYCHA in response to a request made under the State's Freedom of Information Law revealed that the 10 per cent. of public housing developments, which were identified to be in "troubled" condition, were the source of approximately 13 per cent. of maintenance requests in the data file for maintenance requests with and without work order numbers. (Of the 191,743 maintenance requests that corresponded to the names of the 20-worst rated public housing developments, the Patterson Houses showed the most maintenance requests, at 17,768 maintenance requests, according to a review performed by Progress Queens of the data file.) That data file was included in the First FOIL Response made by NYCHA. The files that comprised the First FOIL Request were published online by Progress Queens in a report that identified the public housing developments, where lead levels were detected to exceed a Federally-mandated action level.

Running almost parallel to the reported Federal investigation of physical condition standards at NYCHA is mass tort litigation being waged against NYCHA by some community advocacy groups on behalf of NYCHA tenants in an attempt to compel the Municipal public housing authority to remove toxic mold from its public housing apartment buildings. In response to the reported Federal investigation and the mass tort litigation, the de Blasio administration has proposed to maintain a $100 million annual subsidy in the Municipal budget to benefit NYCHA. But that allocation drastically falls short of the reported $17 billion deficit in NYCHA's capital improvement budget.

Outside Mayor de Blasio's State of the City address on Monday night, several groups of activists demonstrated in protest of Mayor de Blasio's record, including on his record on issues facing NYCHA tenants. In a sign of the juggling of the political hot potato that NYCHA has become in the time leading up to the conclusion of the reported Federal investigation, Councilmember Ritchie Torres (D-The Bronx) has complained that City officials weren't doing enough to address the issues facing NYCHA tenants. But Councilmember Torres serves as chair of the public housing committee in the Municipal legislature. Mayoral candidate Sal Albanese, from Brooklyn, noted on Twitter that despite the concerns expressed by Councilmember Torres, Councilmember Torres has endorsed Mayor de Blasio's reëlection campaign, even though Mr. Albanese views Mayor de Blasio as being responsible for "shortchanging" NYCHA.

It is not known how any conclusion to the reported Federal investigation into the physical condition standards facing NYCHA's tenants will compel Municipal officials to actually restore the habitability of NYCHA's public housing apartment buildings. Advance questions submitted by Progress Queens to the U.S. Attorney's Office were not answered.

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