Public housing provides affordable housing to more than half a million residents in NYC. Hundreds of thousands more fill its waiting list. Due to government neglect, disinvestment, and mismanagement, units and buildings are in grave disrepair, providing unsafe and unhealthy living conditions for residents. Expected costs for repairing and modernizing units and buildings is approximately $40 billion dollars. More money could be allocated to build more public housing now that the Faircloth Amendment has been repealed. This seems like a lot of money, but in comparison to our city, state, and federal budgets, it is a drop in the bucket. Moreover, research suggests that investing in providing affordable, stable housing for residents has positive implications for the economy as a whole. Numerous plans have been put forth to generate funds for the short and long-term. Instead of pursuing these plans, the City and NYCHA have put forth plans that privatize and financialize public housing which would put tenants at greater risk by pinning their housing needs and futures to the profit interests of private investors and financial elite.
The main challenge is not the money, but political will.
Here is some legislation that has been put forth:
- Public Housing Emergency Act, federal legislation proposed by Nydia Velaquez that allocated $70 billion to fully fund public housing nationally, including NYCHA, now.
- The Green New Deal for Public Housing, federal legislation outlining a housing and jobs and clean energy program to modernize and invest in public housing for generations to come.
- The Millionaire’s Tax, amends tax law to increase tax rate on New York State residents with taxable incomes of one million dollars and use the revenue created by that tax to fund capital improvements to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
- Pied-a-Terre Tax, state legislation that would create a funding stream for NYCHA by creating a new progressive tax on vacation homes worth more than $5 million.
- End high-end Condos & Coop Tax Abatement, state legislation proposed by Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez and Sen. Brian Kavanagh would rescind the condo/coop property tax abatement for the top 10 percent of owners and directing the $170 million in resulting revenue to NYCHA.
State and Federal Officials could also consider:
- Our $800 billion military budget, that is so overfunded that it has been giving away equipment to police departments across the country.
- Close tax loopholes that only benefit the real estate industry and private investors, like 421-a.
The City could consider:
- Revoke and reallocate $11 billion for four new jails
- Reallocate public money pegged for development over Sunnyside Yards (estimated at $14 billion)
- Reduce the NYPD’s $6 billion budget