NYCHA Budget Cuts Could Lead To 500 Jobs Lost, Section 8 Rent Hikes

The federal sequester’s impact could soon be causing big headaches for New Yorkers who live in public housing.

 

During a City Council hearing today the New York City Housing Authority said its budget is losing $205 million in federal funding.

 

Your Call On NYCHA Budget Cuts

What’s your reaction to NYCHA’s plan to make up for a $205 million loss in federal funding? What cuts would you make to the Housing Authority? Join the conversation on “The Call” at 9 p.m. with NY1’s John Schiumo, or email your thoughts.

To make up for the loss, the agency says it will lay off 500 workers, eliminate some programs and consider potential furloughs.

 

It would also mean the likely removal of 1,200 low-income families from the Section 8 housing program.

Those who are able to remain in the program will see, on average, a $57 increase in their monthly rents.

“When we talk about sequestration, you know, we are talking about the Republican Party of this country holding our nation hostage because of politics. This is not about principle, this is about a preventing our president from moving his agenda forward,” said City Councilwoman Melissa Mark Viverito.

The agency’s 37 senior centers and 69 community centers will remain open this summer, but it’s not clear what will happen to them in the fall.

The city’s Department of Aging says it may be abler to keep four of the senior centers open while the Department of Youth and Community Development said it could save 45 of the community centers.

At the hearing, some City Council members lashed out at NYCHA officials saying they should have provided more information about the cuts long before the city’s budget deadline now just two weeks away.

In a statement, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson even demanded Mayor Michael Bloomberg fire the agency’s chairman for not doing enough to prepare for the federal cutbacks.

“Anyone saying that NYCHA is responsible for these budget cuts, I mean that’s preposterous,” said NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. “The federal government is responsible for sequestration and the continuing resolution. And we had a $205 million grenade dropped on us and we’re doing what you would expect us to do, which is to be responsible in trying to deal with it. And doing it in partnership with many of our other agencies around the city and with the Office of Management and Budget. The blame game doesn’t get anything solved.”

Meanwhile, state lawmakers in Albany this week approved a bill to reform NYCHA’s board.

It comes in response to critics who have long said the agency’s management is dysfunctional.

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