The trust allows NYCHA to access new streams of revenue to help fund the renovations of 25,000 apartments. On Thursday, June 16th, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation which created the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust. The Trust will give the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) access to new streams of revenue and will allow for necessary repairs to 25,000 apartments in NYCHA developments. These repairs have been deferred due to a lack of funds, often attributed to cutbacks in contributions from the federal budget.
NYCHA has previously been funded by subsidies from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development under Section 9 of the 1937 U.S. Housing Act. This made the funding subject to national political priorities and partisan power struggles. The newly-created Trust, as an entity separate from NYCHA, would allow NYCHA to access funding through Section 8, which covers private landlords. Section 8 would enable NYCHA to accept Tenant Protection Vouchers, which are project-based funds which remain permanently linked to a property and, according to the City, are worth more than traditional Section 9 funding.
As a private landlord, the Trust would also be able to issue its own debt to raise capital, instead of relying on borrowing done by the State. According to the Governor, this will lead to the renovations being, “better funded and completed more quickly.”
The Trust will be a Public Benefit Corporation, which is defined by New York State law as a public, corporate entity whose purpose is the provision of a “general public benefit.” The benefit in this case is the maintenance and improvement of the public housing stock owned by NYCHA.
The Governor’s office emphasized that this will not lead to any loss of rights or protections currently guaranteed to NYCHA residents, including current succession rights, filling apartments based on waitlists, and that residents will still pay only 30 percent of their income toward rent. Residents will also have the right to vote whether to opt-in to the Trust, and will have a say in determining which vendors are selected to perform renovation work at their developments.
This legislation comes after the governor’s announcement of a $25 Billion Housing Plan in her State of the State address, which later became part of the fiscal 2023 Enacted Budget.
The legislation was sponsored by State Senator Julia Salazar and Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz.
Governor Hochul stated, “Today is a major win for all New Yorkers who call NYCHA home. This legislation will unlock additional federal funding and lead to billions of dollars in renovations — after decades of federal disinvestment — and provide for critical improvements for 25,000 apartments in NYCHA developments across the city.”
Mayor Eric Adams stated, “For too long we have underinvested in NYCHA, leaving aging infrastructure and utilities unrepaired, but, with this law, we are ensuring that NYCHA residents will now have access to safe, high-quality, affordable homes they deserve.”
NYCHA Chair and CEO Greg Russ stated, “This is a momentous day in the history of public housing in New York City and across the nation. Thank you Governor Kathy Hochul for signing the Public Housing Preservation Trust legislation into law. The Trust gives NYCHA the ability to raise billions of dollars in capital funds to be invested in its properties, and provides residents a true voice in the future of their homes. Governor Hochul — alongside NYCHA residents, bill sponsors Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz and State Senator Julia Salazar, the New York State Legislature, Mayor Eric Adams, community leaders and advocacy partners — has led the way with the vision and courage necessary to disrupt the status quo, end decades of disinvestment and for the first time, bring real and lasting solutions that will transform the quality of life of public housing residents in New York City.”
By: Christopher Kipiniak (Christopher is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)
Governor: Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Creating New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust (June 16, 2022).