NYCHA’s capital improvements shortfall soared from $18 billion to $25 billion during de Blasio’s first term : reports

de Blasio mum as NYCHA shows $7 billion spike in estimated capital improvements shortfall over the last four years

By Progress New York Staff

The cost of addressing the mounting issues over the physical condition standards at the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, has showed a sharp spike during the first term of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City), according to press reports.

In 2014, a report by The New York Times estimated that the cost of NYCHA’s unfunded capital improvements stood at approximately $18 billion. Four years later, The Gotham Gazette issued its own report about the state of affairs at NYCHA, estimating that the capital improvement shortfall stood at $25 billion “and growing.”

Issues with the habitability of public housing have triggered a Federal investigation into physical condition standards, a class-action lawsuit over the exposure to lead, another class-action lawsuit over mold abatement, and additional scrutiny over faulty heating and hot water systems last winter.

NYCHA refuses to release information about how it estimates its capital improvements shortfall

Progress New York made a request that NYCHA release information about how it documents the deficit of its capital improvement fund. However, the housing authority did not respond to the inquiry, which included a request to interview interim CEO Stanley Brezenoff.

The press office that services City Hall did not answer a request for an interview. NYCHA is the reported subject of a Federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan over exposure to lead poisoning and the risks of exposure to lead poisoning to its tenants. It has appeared that the investigation has claimed the careers of several top NYCHA officials, including former CEO Shola Olatoye. Under guidelines applicable to Federal prosecutors, the resignation of public officials, who face the prospect of charges of Federal offenses, is an acceptable resolution to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

It is not known whether Federal prosecutors will bring charges against NYCHA officials over the lead poisoning scandal. Officials, who had knowledge of the risks that exposure of lead posed to residents but who took no action to mitigate those risks, have faced efforts to hold officials accountable for the dangerous consequences for inaction. In the lead-contaminated water crisis that has faced residents of Flint, Michigan, criminal charges were filed against three officials for decisions that contributed to the water crisis and for precautions not taken, according to a report broadcast by the CNN cable news network.

The spike in NYCHA’s unfunded capital improvements shortfall also coïncided when New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres (D-Fordham) served as chair of the Municipal legislature’s public housing committee.