TESTIMONY OF COMPTROLLER JOHN C. LIU ON NYCHA’S DRAFT ANNUAL PLAN FOR FY 2014
AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
As the Chief Financial Officer of the City of New York, I am gravely
concerned about the deepening crisis at the New York City Housing
There are even questions about the legitimacy of the current NYCHA
Board, as the Mayor drags his feet in appointing new members. His
refusal to act is tantamount to vetoing legislators’ actions and
demonstrates his contempt for the legislative process.
Our review of NYCHA’s annual draft plan raises serious questions
about NYCHA’s management and finances – as well as its ability to
deliver services to its more than 400,000 residents. The sustainability
of quality affordable housing is vital to ensuring the City’s economic
NYCHA needs to provide answers – now. We’ve submitted detailed
comments to NYCHA, which are also available on our website. Among our
top concerns are:
1) NYCHA continues to shun openness and transparency. Given the size
of NYCHA’s budget – $3.7 billion available in FY 2014 – the fiscal
woes it complains of, significant issues of crime and safety, and
literally groundbreaking plans to offload 14 parcels of valuable land in
Manhattan to be used for luxury housing, holding just one public
hearing is patently insufficient. Our office further welcomes NYCHA to
disclose its financials to Checkbook NYC, our online transparency tool.
2) NYCHA should reject its plan to saddle the authority with a new
$750 million bond issue. Already, the Authority is sitting on $700
million in unused capital funds and clearly lacks the capacity to spend
3) NYCHA must develop and implement a portfolio-wide and office-wide
disaster-preparedness and -recovery plan in the wake of Hurricane
4) NYCHA should disclose the number of police officers it houses who
are not eligible for public or assisted housing – and whether such
occupancies increase the rate of stop-and-frisk activities.
5) NYCHA’s unwarranted payments to the City for police and
sanitation services and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) should end.
Why should NYCHA pay for NYPD and Sanitation services that are given to
private landlords for free?
6) NYCHA needs to explain how it handles maintenance and repair
requests, given that hundreds of thousands of work orders magically
disappear and untold numbers of units are in serious disrepair.
7) NYCHA needs to do more to protect its residents with stronger
measures such as security cameras. NYCHA says it has $61 million
earmarked for cameras, yet most developments that were supposed to get
camera still have not – a situation that seems mired in bureaucratic red
tape and incompetence.
8) NYCHA should look at creative ways to keep seniors in their
apartments and improve the quality of their lives, rather than kicking
them to the curb.
9) Raising rents in the midst of an historic affordability crisis in New York City should be undertaken only as a last resort.
10) NYCHA must be much better at finding meaningful training and
employment opportunities to residents – plus give more than lip service
to improving relationships with its residents.
These are just some of the issues raised in my comments, which I invite you to read.
I look forward to NYCHA officials’ response, as it imperative that
the Agency do more to ensure its fiscal integrity as well as the
delivery of critical services. The City depends on it.