NEW YORK — The head of the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) new plan to save the struggling agency got its first hearing in front of state lawmakers Tuesday.

It didn’t go that well.

“I don’t trust the trust,” said Brooklyn Assemblyman Charles Barron.

“I have some serious concerns about the trust and the vouchers proposal,” said Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim.

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker piled on: “This is not the model that I can say I support wholeheartedly at this time.”

State lawmakers were clearly skeptical.

What You Need To Know

  • In desperate need of repair, NYCHA is proposing a new plan to raise billions of dollars

  • NYCHA's plan includes creating a public trust to oversee the rehabilitation of those apartments

  • The plan needs state and federal approval

“The greatest risk as we see it is maintaining the status quo,” said NYCHA Chair and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Russ.

NYCHA's leader attempted to sell it — arguing consequences could be disastrous if nothing is done.

“Failing systems, never-ending repair backlogs and unacceptable conditions for NYCHA residents — these issues are only going to get worse if we do not act now,” Russ said.

This summer, Russ proposed completely restructuring the authority by converting 110,000 units into Section 8 and transferring them to a new public entity, the "public housing preservation trust."

That trust would oversee and finance the rehabilitation of those units, badly in need of billions of dollars for repairs. NYCHA would still manage developments on a daily basis.

This plan needs state and federal approval.

There is now a bill in the State Assembly, one which NYCHA officials say would protect tenants and public housing.

But on Tuesday, not a single lawmaker voiced unwavering support for the idea.

“The housing committee has not made any decisions on whether to endorse the blueprint, and has no plans for or against advancing the bill 11419,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, chair of the housing committee.

The tenants council’s leader threw cold water on the idea.

“The citywide council of presidents do not agree with the blueprint plan for change,” said Daniel Barber, the head of the Citywide Council of Presidents.

A handful of labor leaders were supportive.

“There is no other plan unless the federal government starts pouring money into public housing, which may not happen,” said Gregory Floyd, the president of Teamsters Local 237.

Clearly, as of this point, this is far from a done deal. NY1 spoke to Russ after the hearing.

“We’ll spend more time talking to folks about it,” the public housing chair told us. "If someone has a better set of ideas, if someone can generate as much money in the time we are talking about, we’d be glad to chat with them."


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