Local and federal officials on Friday announced the completion of $434 million in repairs at nine NYCHA complexes in Brooklyn, all of which have undergone conversion to private management under the controversial Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.
The nine complexes include Armstrong Houses I and II and Marcy-Greene Avenues A and B in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Berry Street-South 9th Street, Independence Towers, and Williams Plaza in Williamsburg, 572 Warren St. in Boerum Hill, and Weeksville Gardens in Crown Heights. The complexes house over 2,600 apartments and 6,000 residents in total.
“All New Yorkers have the same right to public safety and quality of life, no matter where they live,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. “Today we take one major step closer to realizing those rights for 6,000 New Yorkers.”
The developments converted to private management, through NYCHA’s Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program (a local version of RAD), back in February 2020. RAD, a program of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, infuses public and private money into decaying public housing stock in exchange for converting them to private management. NYCHA, with $40 billion in unmet capital needs, has been increasingly turning over its housing stock under RAD in hopes that the private sector would be able to more efficiently handle the massive repair log.
RAD has been controversial at every NYCHA development where it’s been pursued, with many fearing it portends the privatization of public housing and potential displacement. Some developments have seen high numbers of evictions, and new management often has trouble fixing long-term issues with heat, elevators, and the like, though at others, the tenants sing the praises of the new management.
The nine complexes, deemed the “Brooklyn Bundle II,” saw long-unmet repairs completed, such as fixes to roofs, elevators, and pipes, repairs within apartments, new security cameras, renovated community centers, and, perhaps most crucially, a new boiler at every development. Four of the developments will now derive energy from rooftop solar panels.
Tenant association presidents said they were pleased with the completed repairs.
“Before PACT, too many of our residents at Independence Towers suffered through extremely cold nights every time our ancient boiler system fell apart,” said Samuel Guttman, tenant association president at Independence Towers, in a statement. “We can now sleep more easily thanks to new, modern boilers that keep us warm, provide hot water, as well as everything else that our residents deserve so they can have a better quality of life.”