The New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, said it will tackle the backlog of old repairs and deal with new requests more quickly.
New York City's biggest landlord -- the agency that oversees the city's entire public housing stock -- said it has a backlog of 420,000 repair requests. And, Thursday Housing Authority officials said they are finally going to do something about it.
NYCHA Chairman John Rhea says under a new plan NYCHA will eliminate the entire backlog of essential repairs by year's end, while also reducing the average wait time by a week.
"I know this all sounds very ambitious, but we can't afford to be timid. It's unacceptable to let the backlog persist for even one more year,” said Chairman Rhea.
City officials blamed the large, outstanding list of repairs on a reduction of federal funds and limited repair staff.
To address that, Chairman Rhea said they've freed-up $40 million in office operations to pay for more maintenance and repair staff. It was part of their so-called Plan NYCHA launched in 2011. The City Council has also given the agency an additional $10 million for maintenance.
“No one has felt the impact of the Federal underfunding more than NYCHA residents, who have had to face long waits for repairs to apartments and public spaces,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Despite these severe funding challenges, we refuse to turn our backs on public housing – something we have seen other cities throughout the country do.”
81-year- old Annie Crater lives in West Harlem's Drew Hamilton Homes where Thursdays announcement was made. She said she put in a request for a leaky faucet and bathtub nine months ago.
“When I called in they said they were going to send someone,” Crater said. “But then, the plumber never came."
It is requests like that the agency hopes to expedite by year’s end. NYCHA said it will provide quarterly reports on the status of the backlog reduction.