New York City Housing Authority, has failed to provide basic amenities like heat and hot water to many citizens of New York City. Owing to which on Monday Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he was all set to declare an emergency at New York City Housing Authority.
The reason for this failure is stated to be the budget problem and failure in providing maintenance services. Mr. Cuomo has threatened Mayor Bill de Blasio as last resort to solve the issue. He did the same on a visit to Bronx housing project. Mayor who was there in Washington on Monday has defended the chairperson Shola Olatoye and her agency.
Mr. Cuomo may replace the entire Nycha management which is nation’s largest public housing agency under the state of emergency. The budget for the operation of housing board is around $3 billion, where almost 400,000 tenants are residing in 326 houses.
Governor Mr. Cuomo said that his only interest is the welfare of tenants. He said, ” I have been asked by the residents to declare an emergency, and I have no problem declaring this an emergency because it is a health and safety emergency”. Mr. Cuomo has also served as a federal housing secretary under the presidency of Bill Clinton.
Governor said that conditions are disgusting and his team has announced that they have asked the state health department to look into the matter and find out about the violations of health and safety norms.
Group of tenants has filed the application against Nycha for not providing tenant’s safe and healthy environment. They only invited Mr. Cuomo to discuss the issues. Tenants also wanted to be involved in policy making for residents.
Mr. Cuomo has taken the matter into his hands and has blamed Nycha for delaying the repair of the building which is aging. He has stated this as sheer negligence and mismanagement of the authorities.
Declaration of emergency can empower the state and may be quick and strict actions will be taken which otherwise was not possible.
Alphonso David who is Mr. Cuomo’s counsel sent a letter to the city on Monday. In the letter has said, ” “could include a replacement of existing management, the appointment of an independent monitor, the identification and selection of contractors to be responsible for repairs, and/or the appointment of a public health monitor to focus on lead testing.”
Mr. Cuomo has shown intentions to meet city council members on Tuesday to discuss the matter and regarding declaring the state of emergency.
“I want the decision in two weeks. Otherwise, I will make the decision myself by the time we do the budget,” quoted Mr. Cuomo. In this quote, he has referred April 1 as a deadline.
However, Alicia Glen, the deputy Mayor of housing and economic development has the different view on the matter and has said that emergency declaration is no solution for such problem and has taken the dig at Mr. Cuomo only stating it was him who did not release the fund sanctioned for housing development project.
Ms. Glen said that Mr. Cuomo has pledged $ 300 million for the project but he has not even released 200$ of that allocated money. She also said that city is not at all obliged to raise funds for the same and it has to be done with the money allocated to the Mayor.
In his defense, Mr. Cuomo said that he will release the money only when an independent monitor will be appointed for Nycha.
“Once an independent mechanism is chosen and we know the money will be spent in a timely way — not three to four years — the state will make $200 million available immediately,” Mr. Cuomo said.
The bill has been praised by both Mayor and Governor. Bill has suggested to speed up the process for development of public projects f New York city. It also focuses on reducing the repairing cost.
Mr. de Blasio has praised the Assembly’s action, saying that “speed up critical repairs by more than a year.”
“The rest of Albany needs to follow the Assembly’s lead,'” he added. “Stop playing games and promoting gimmicks. Deliver the key investments and reforms NYCHA tenants are waiting for.”