NYC Public Housing Could Hit Breaking Point by 2027

The New York Building Congress estimates that, in less than a decade, the cost of repairing the city’s aging public housing properties will exceed replacement cost.
NYCHA property the Dyckman Houses in Manhattan. Image via Wikimedia Commons

The nation’s largest public housing system is in dire need of capital funding and repairs to fix its aging housing stock, or it could hit a breaking point in less than 10 years, according to a report from the New York Building Congress.

New York City’s public housing system counts more than 400,000 residents in 2,400 buildings across the city. Problems have plagued the system’s governing agency, NYCHA, for years, as the capital need to maintain and repair the properties has ballooned to $31.8 billion as of 2017, according to the report.

The NYBC estimates that, in less than a decade, the cost of repairing many of the properties will exceed the cost of replacing them. By 2027, the vast majority of the system—more than 90 percent—could hit a breaking point, putting more than 150,000 units at risk.

To tackle this crisis, the NYBC urged a five-point plan to address the key issues: streamline repairs and renovations, reduce NYCHA’s management portfolio, transfer the estimated 80 million square feet of air unused air rights to address capital needs, expand NYCHA’s infill construction program and create new housing on unused space on property sites.

“The looming crisis demands swift and bold action,” the NYBC wrote in the report. “Any path forward will take coordination from our City, State and Federal governments, and most importantly community input from residents.”

Tackling a crisis

This past December, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new plan to address the repair issue at NYCHA properties called NYCHA 2.0, a plan that would help preserve public housing. The ten-year plan will address renovations for 175,000 residents of NYCHA properties and resolve $24 billion in repairs.

“These are the kind of top-to-bottom renovations NYCHA residents have waited decades to see,” said de Blasio in a statement announcing the program.

Last month, NYCHA and HPD announced the development of two new fully affordable senior housing communities in the Bronx and Brooklyn.