On March 15, 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved New York City’s application to qualify 21 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, consisting of 20,000 housing units, for federal subsidies. In order to qualify, the developments were sold to partnership managed by NYCHA. The New York City Housing Development Corporation issued bonds to finance the acquisition and rehabilitation of the units.
The sale of these 21 developments took advantage of a one-time opportunity under ARRA to qualify NYCHA’s unfunded units for federal support. All 21 developments remain public housing, and residents will retain all of their rights and protections as public housing residents. This transaction is one of the largest tax credit bond deals in the nation’s history. As a result, NYCHA received more than $400 million in public and private funding, the majority of which is being used for capital improvements. The sale enabled HUD to include the buildings in a federal subsidy program that will deliver $65-$75 million every year for ongoing maintenance.
The transaction is helping to improve the quality of life for the residents. Susan Lee, a resident at Rutgers Houses in Manhattan for the last 48 years, said she and her neighbors have dealt with water drips and flooding situations in their own apartments. The long-term fix – replacing the worn-down roofs – was not financially feasible until the tax credit bond deal made possible by ARRA. “Since the roofs have been replaced, I haven’t heard complaints about any leaks,” said the 86-year-old Mrs. Lee. “At first, tenants were a little impatient and they were exposed to some difficulties while repairs were being done. But since the repairs, they are more at ease.”
It is also helping to employ individuals like Linda Sanchez (pictured above), a resident at Jackson Houses in the Bronx and now a fulltime union laborer at Bushwick Houses in Brooklyn. “I was always interested in construction, but I never thought women did anything other than flagging,” Ms. Sanchez said. “But I put gates up, I maintain the grounds and I do masonry work.” The experience has done more than just help her to provide for her young daughter. “I’m stable, independent and responsible. It gave me the best opportunity ever; I upgraded my life.”
NYC Housing Authority, Public Housing Capital Fund Recovery Grant