Category Archives: NYCHA

Community Development and the Future of NYCHA – A Panel Discussion 4/24/2019

Under the RADar: Community Development and the Future…

Community Development and the Future of NYCHA – A Panel Discussion

Hunter College, Department of Urban Policy & Planning

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)

Free Event


Hunter College School of Social Work Auditorium
2180 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10035

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)

RSVP at :

Event Details:

The future of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) remains in a precarious state, with a growing $32 billion backlog of capital needs. Under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, Mayor de Blasio has committed to transferring ownership of 62,000 units (nearly one third of NYCHA’s housing stock) to private developers, who will leverage private financing sources in order to make much-needed repairs. While the RAD program offers potential to improve quality of life for residents, it also raises concerns around the preservation of New York City’s biggest resource of deeply affordable housing. This panel brings together advocates, tenant leaders, policy experts, and community development professionals to discuss the impending RAD conversions, implications for public housing residents, and the potential role of community development organizations in protecting long term affordability.

The panel will be moderated by Hunter College Master’s student Eliot Hetterly.

The panelists will include:

Matthew Washington, Deputy Borough President, Manhattan Borough President’s Office

Victor Bach, Senior Housing Policy Analyst, Community Service Society

Diana Blackwell, President of Fred Samuel Resident Association, NYCHA

Roberta Semer, Manhattan Community Board 7 Chair

Frank Lang, Director of Housing, St. Nick’s Alliance

Emily Kurtz, Vice President of Housing, RiseBoro Community Partnership

Ed Braxton, Program Officer, Enterprise Community Partners​

Have questions about Under the RADar: Community Development and the Future of NYCHA? Contact Hunter College, Department of Urban Policy & Planning

NYCHA shakes up federally-mandated compliance office

By Anna Sanders  | New York Daily News | Apr 17, 2019 | 3:51 PM

NYCHA replaced the official responsible for ensuring it complies with health and safety rules after criticism that Mayor de Blasio gave the important job to a political patronage hire.

Vilma Huertas-Cymbrowitz, named chief compliance officer last July, was replaced on Monday with three officials who will be responsible for overseeing NYCHA’s conformity with the same crucial regulations it’s flouted for years.

The scandal-scarred authority restructured the federally-mandated compliance office this week by adding a “quality assurance unit” and an environmental health and safety department, officials announced on Wednesday.

Daniel Greene, a former Cuomo administration official, was appointed acting chief compliance officer. Patrick O’Hagan was named acting environmental health and safety officer and Cathy Pennington was appointed acting quality assurance officer and senior vice president for information technology.

Restructuring of the compliance office – and choosing a new chief compliance officer – were specified in an agreement reached by de Blasio and the feds in January to settle a bombshell complaint alleging years of mismanagement at NYCHA.

Huertas-Cymbrowitz was made a special advisor to the NYCHA chair as part of the staffing shuffle.

The head of the City Council’s investigations committee blasted her as “patently unqualified” when she was made chief compliance officer last year. Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres also said at the time that putting her in the job violated the intent of a federal consent decree, which NYCHA denied.

“I feel vindicated,” Torres said. “I was the first to expose NYCHA’s ploy to reduce the Chief Compliance Officer to little more than a patronage position. The CCO can and should be a catalyst for reform, rather than a creature of a failed bureaucracy.”

De Blasio and the authority entered into that consent decree after federal prosecutors sued City Hall in June 2018 alleging NYCHA officials for years lied and covered up their failure to address health and safety concerns in their developments, including toxic lead paint, mold contamination, heating outages and faulty elevators.

A federal judge shot down the consent decree last fall for being insufficient. In January de Blasio agreed to a settlement that includes a federal monitor and $2.2 billion in city funding for NYCHA over the next decade. NYCHA consulted with the monitor on the compliance office changes.

NYCHA fails repeatedly and continuously

“Today, NYCHA named leaders – working in consultation with our Monitor – to the three new and restructured departments called for in the Agreement,” interim NYCHA chair Kathryn Garcia said in a statement. “The appointments reinforce NYCHA’s commitment to accountability, compliance and quality assurance, and most importantly improving quality of life for our residents.”

The city has until mid-May to name a permanent NYCHA chair after missing an April deadline. As part of the settlement, the chair must be picked from a shortlist OK’d by U.S. attorney for Southern District of New York and the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.



Group Assisting NYCHA Tenant Leaders has a New Name but a Long History


NYCHA: Harlem developments not being sold and demolished

From: Rosalba Rodriguez, Borough President Gale Brewer’s Office <>
Date: 07/11/2016

FYI–I have received many calls and emails about a post made on July 8.  Below is the response and the article. 
Subject:  NYCHA: Harlem developments not being sold and demolished


NYCHA: Harlem developments not being sold and demolished

AmNews Staff Reports | 7/11/2016, 1:17 p.m.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) says rumors claiming that three Harlem housing projects have been sold to a ...

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Houses Photo by Bill Moore

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) says rumors claiming that three Harlem housing projects have been sold to a “billionaire housing developer” and are slated for demolition are not true.

The allegation stems from a WordPress blog post with the headline “Harlem Housing To Be Demolished” that appeared on the internet on Friday. The WordPress account and blog entry is authored by someone who identifies themselves as “Jett Rubenstein” claiming to be a Harlem resident from Boston and getting the information from a “reliable source.”

According to the post, the billionaire developer bought the Polo Grounds Houses, the Alexander Hamilton Houses and the Harlem River Houses with plans to demolish them and build luxury housing.

Only 10 percent of the new housing would be affordable and displaced NYCHA residents would get monthly vouchers and a “small moving stipend.”

Here is the full post:

Harlem Housing Projects To Be Demolished

By Jett Rubenstein / July 8, 2016

I am a Harlem resident originally from Boston. I have received some disturbing news regarding my community, from a very reliable source that an identified billionaire housing developer has recently purchased three Harlem housing project developments from the City Of New York, which will displace thousands of low-income families. The Polo Grounds Houses located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 155th Street, the Alexander Hamilton Houses on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and also the Harlem River Houses also located at Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem.  These housing complexes which houses approximately 6,000 low-income tenants has been sold to a developer which will demolish the property and build 6,000 luxury condominium units ranging from 400,000-2.2 million dollars in early 2017 which 10% of the units being offered to middle income families with an average income of 58,000 a year through a special lottery. According to my sources, current tenants will be given a monthly voucher worth 1,000 dollars for rent and a small moving stipend to cover their moving expenses, but most tenants will not be guaranteed these vouchers according to a reliable source and many tenants will have to go on their own to find other housing. I have contacted several housing agencies and the Mayor’s office regarding this situation and neither agency will issue a comment regarding this breaking news matter. Of course, if I receive any additional news, I will update new information to my blog.

The blog post has gone viral getting heavy rotation on social media. It had been shared over 10,000 times on Facebook as of Monday afternoon.

In a statement to the AmNews, a NYCHA spokesperson said the rumors are completely false and that the agency has no plans of demolishing any public housing developments. The agency added that there are programs in place to prevent such a thing from happening.

“These rumors are 100% not true and irresponsible,” the statement said. “Every step NYCHA is taking under NextGeneration NYCHA, the Authority’s ten-year strategic plan, is to prevent the demolition and abandonment of public housing like other cities have done. NYCHA does not know the source of these false statements, which are intended to incite little more than panic, but residents can be assured they are completely untrue and baseless.”

The AmNews has reached out to Rubinstein about the allegation.