NYCHA is “sitting on” more than 2,000 vacant apartments even as hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in need of housing languish for years on waiting lists, City Controller Scott Stringer said in a new audit released Wednesday.
The audit found NYCHA had 2,342 empty apartments as of late last year — and 312 of those, which were removed from the rolls for major repairs, had been vacant an average of seven years.
“It’s shameful, totally unacceptable that they’re been empty for so long,” Stringer said. “People are desperate for homes. You cannot keep vacant apartments off the market for years and years with no explanation.”
He said 80 apartments were vacant for over a decade, another 79 were empty at least seven years — and one apartment in the Harlem River Houses had been left vacant since 1994.
The cash-strapped agency lost out on almost $8 million in rent from apartments vacant for at least three years, according to the audit. “The bill for this incompetence is huge,” he said.
NYCHA had a waiting list of 273,391 people as of December, the reports says.
The agency says it had 2,196 vacant apartments last month, a 39% decrease from the beginning of 2013.