Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Affordable housing is crappily built
From the NY Times:
Five years ago, Arisleyda Estrella and Ron Skinner could not wait to move into their first home, a new three-story row house in Brooklyn with a big living room, hardwood floors, a front stoop and a small garden.
But the thrill of winning a lottery that enabled them to buy one of 31 city-subsidized houses set aside for moderate-income families in a Bedford-Stuyvesant community wore off quickly. Like her neighbors, Ms. Estrella and her husband said they had battled ever since with the builder and implored city officials to deal with many problems, like cracks in the foundation walls, a leaky roof, a sinking backyard, windows that move with the wind, crumbling front steps and an undersized boiler.
“We love our home,” Ms. Estrella said of the house, which is on Pulaski Street. “The architecture is wonderful; it’s well thought out. But we got the worst craftsmanship. We trusted the city. We feel like we were bamboozled.”
Ms. Estrella and other owners of city-subsidized housing insist that oversight is critically needed for one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s main initiatives, the largest municipal housing program in the country.
They, along with a group of construction unions, support a bill that the City Council approved unanimously last month that would require the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to publicly disclose information about builders of affordable housing, including how they were selected, the size of their subsidies, construction complaints for each project and workers’ wages.
But Mr. Bloomberg has vowed to veto the legislation, saying a key element of the bill would be costly and irrelevant to resolving construction-related complaints at what city housing officials say are a relatively small number of projects. The City Council will almost certainly override the veto.