One by one, the nation’s biggest public housing authority is turning over management of tens of thousands of its 175,000 apartments to the private sector.
And with every apartment that goes into private hands, long-awaited repairs are deemed “closed” — even though the fixes haven’t taken place, a housing advocacy group charged in court papers filed this week.
Instead, tenants are instructed to tell the development’s new management team about what work needs to be done. NYCHA officials — who have struggled for years to reduce a massive repair request backlog that recently hit a record 475,000 — then get to take those jobs off the books.
This bureaucratic sleight of hand is taking place under an Obama-era program called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) in which NYCHA turns building management over to a private company while retaining ownership of the property. To date, 9,500 units have been converted, with another 12,000 to follow in the next few months.
All told, NYCHA plans to transfer 62,000 apartments into RAD and a local version of the program called Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) by the time the transformation is complete.
This set-up allows NYCHA to raise money via up-front fees from developers, who are charged with upgrading and maintaining the complexes. The developers pocket the tenants’ rent going forward and must ensure living conditions are safe.