After Cleaning House, NYC Housing Authority Tackles Overdue Repairs

Using funds made available by savings captured through administrative reforms and other sources, New York's beleaguered Housing Authority has made considerable progress in tackling one of its most pressing problems - its backlog of maintenance jobs.
March 12, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Matt Chaban reports on the welcome good news reported this week by an agency that's been beset by administrative and financial problems. "The New York City Housing Authority said Monday it is ahead of schedule on meeting its seemingly impossible pledge to eliminate a staggering backlog of more than 423,000 maintenance jobs—some as old as four years—by the end of the year. NYCHA Chairman John Rhea, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, had made the promise early this year. In the first two months, NYCHA maintenance and repair crews have cut the backlog by some 73,000 jobs."

"We think this progress report demonstrates we are on track to deliver on the mayor's promise last year to eliminate this backlog by the time the administration leaves office," Mr. Rhea said at a press briefing this morning. "That said, we still have a long way to go given that we are only two months into this work."

The outlook for completing the work is getting increasingly cloudier, however, notes Chaban. "One big factor that could delay this work is the federal sequester and ongoing fights over the budget on Capital Hill. Already, NYCHA is poised to lose between $60 million and $70 million from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development because of sequestration. That figure could ultimately be two to three times higher, taking a major bite out of the agency's $950 million annual budget—almost all of which comes from Washington—because of Congress' inability to pass a new budget."

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Published on Monday, March 11, 2013 in Crain's New York Business
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