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The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides housing for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs of New York City. NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. These communities are often referred to in popular culture as "projects", or "developments". These facilities commonly have large income disparities with their respective surrounding neighborhood or community.

New York City Housing Authority
New York City Housing Authority (logo).svg
Agency overview
Formed1934 (1934)
JurisdictionNew York City
Headquarters250 Broadway, Manhattan, NY
Agency executives
Key document

The New York City Housing Authority's mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA's 328 public housing developments across the City's five boroughs. Another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program.


List of propertiesEdit


NYCHA is a New York state public-benefit corporation organized under the Public Housing Law.[2][3] The NYCHA ("NYCHA Board") consists of seven members, of which the chairman is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Mayor of New York City, while the others are appointed for three-year terms by the mayor.[4]


The Authority is the largest public housing authority (PHA) in North America. In spite of many problems, it is still considered by experts to be the most successful big-city public housing authority in the country. Whereas most large public housing authorities in the United States (Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, etc.) have demolished their high-rise projects and in most cases replaced them with lower scale housing, New York's continue to be fully occupied. Most of its market-rate housing is also in high-rise buildings.

NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. However, new applications for Section 8 have not been accepted since December 10, 2009.[5]

New York also maintains a long waiting list for its apartments. Because of demand, the Housing Authority in recent years, has selected more "working families" from applicants to diversify the income structure of occupants of its housing, as had been typical of residents who first occupied the facilities. NYCHA's Conventional Public Housing Program has 181,581 apartments (as of July 20, 2005) in 345 developments throughout the city.[citation needed]

NYCHA has approximately 13,000 employees serving about 176,221 families and approximately 403,120 authorized residents. Based on the 2010 census, NYCHA's Public Housing represents 8.2% of the city's rental apartments and is home to 4.9% of the city's population. NYCHA residents and Section 8 voucher holders combined occupy 12.4% of the city's rental apartments.[6]

In mid-2007, NYCHA faced a $225 million budget shortfall.

In late 2015, NYCHA announced the formation of the Fund for Public Housing,[7] a nonprofit organization that will seek to raise $200 million over three years to supplement NYCHA's efforts and improve the lives of NYC public housing residents. The Fund received its first donation of $100,000 from the Deutsche Bank in December 2015.[8]

Capital needsEdit

In about 2004, NYCHA contracted with the Architectural/Engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas to perform a needs assessment survey of all 2500+ properties owned by the agency (excluding FHA Homes, which were inspected by in-house NYCHA personnel in about 2007). In 2005, a report was released detailing the conditions of every aspect and building component of each individual property, based on a scale of 1 to 5 (in this case, 1 being the highest, or best rating, and 5 being the lowest, or poorest rating). This report identified $6.9 billion in needs required to bring the Authority's structures into a state of good repair. In 2011/12, a second needs assessment survey was done by PBQ&D, which identified $16.5 billion in needs. This represented an average of $93,000 per unit. It is anticipated that an upcoming needs assessment contract will reveal capital needs in excess of $25 billion.[9]. The needs assessment survey is divided into five broad categories, which are: Architectural, Mechanical, Electrical, Site, and Apartments. Given the large number of apartment units within NYCHA, the report's findings on apartments are based upon an inspection of 5% of NYCHA's total inventory.

Superstorm Sandy and its impact on NYCHAEdit

In October, 2012, Superstorm Sandy turned out to be the single most destructive event in the history of the New York City Housing Authority. The storm impacted approximately 10% of NYCHA's developments, which left 400 buildings without power, and 386 buildings without heat and hot water. After Sandy, NYCHA took the following steps to recover from its devastating impact[10]:

  • February 2014: NYCHA's Recovery and Resilience Department was created
  • March 2015: Initial agreements in over $3 billion in funding for over 33 developments
  • August 2015: Construction begins on Lower East Side V
  • December 2015: NYCHA gets access to nearly $3 billion in disaster recovery funding
  • December 2016: $201 in major Sandy construction underway
  • December 2017: $1.85 billion in contracts awarded, and construction underway at 27 developments
  • Year 2021: Construction at all Sandy sites expected to be completed by the end of the year


  • 326[11] developments in New York City
  • Staten Island has 10 developments with 4,499 apartments
  • Queens has 22 developments with 17,126 apartments
  • The Bronx has 100 developments with 44,500 apartments
  • Brooklyn has 98 developments with 58,669 apartments
  • Manhattan has 102 developments with 53,890 apartments[6]
  • The Bronzeville, section of Chicago now has the highest concentration of low income public housing in America, following the demolition of a huge 5-mile long tract of public housing stretching along State and Federal on Chicago's South Side. While pre-Plan For Transformation Chicago Housing Authority high-rise developments tended to be much larger and more concentrated than those of the NYCHA, the NYCHA operates several times as many apartments and houses three times as many residents. East Harlem in Manhattan has the second highest concentration of public housing in the nation, closely following Brownsville.
  • The Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, Queens, is now North America's largest housing project with 3,142 apartments, following the demolition of several larger Chicago housing projects, including the Cabrini–Green Homes and the Robert Taylor Homes (whose 4,321 three, four and five bedroom apartments once made it the largest public housing project in the world).[12]
  • The Bronx's largest development is Edenwald Houses in Edenwald with 2,036 apartments.
  • Brooklyn's largest development is Red Hook Houses in Red Hook with 2,878 apartments.
  • Manhattan's largest development is Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side with 2,391 apartments
  • Staten Island's largest development is Stapleton Houses in Stapleton with 693 apartments.[6]
  • 10 developments consisting of FHA Acquired Homes are located in more than one borough and total 200 apartments
  • 42 developments are for seniors only; 15 seniors-only buildings exist within mixed-population developments
  • NYCHA has approximately 9,822 apartments designated for seniors only
  • There also are 7,639 retrofitted apartments for families of persons who are mobility impaired as of September 30, 2007
  • As of April 13, 2017: 14 developments are at least 70 years old; a total of 60 developments are 60 to 69 years old; there are 75 developments 50 to 59 years old; another 89 developments are 40 to 49 years old, and 52 developments are 30 to 39 years old.
  • The combined demographics of all public housing developments in New York City is about 46% Black, 44% Hispanic, 4% White, 5% Asian, and 1% other.[13]
  • NYCHA residents in Chelsea earn significantly less money than the average Chelsea resident and are almost half as likely to have a college degree.[1]


NYCHA was created in 1934.[2] At the end of 1935, NYCHA dedicated its first development, called First Houses, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. However, First Houses was basically a renovation of existing apartment buildings. NYCHA's first two "new from the ground up" developments were Harlem River and Williamsburg. Both are noted for their art-deco style of architecture, which are unique in public housing. The Authority boomed in partnership with Robert Moses after World War II as a part of Moses' plan to clear old tenements and remake New York as a modern city. Moses indicated later in life that he was disappointed at how the public housing system fell into decline and disrepair. The majority of NYCHA developments were built between 1945 and 1965. Unlike most cities, New York depended heavily on city and state funds to build its housing, rather than just the federal government. Most of the postwar developments had over 1000 apartment units each, and most were built in the modernist, tower-in-the-park style popular at the time.

In 1995, the New York City Housing Authority Police Department and the New York City Transit Police were merged into the New York City Police Department by NYC Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and continues today as the New York City Police Department Housing Bureau.

NextGen NYCHAEdit

As of May 2015, NYCHA's overhauling is currently in progress with the proposal of ‘NextGeneration NYCHA’, a ten-year plan aimed at preserving public housing for the future generations. The multifaceted plan introduces a new strategy designed to expand and preserve public housing, improve the current infrastructure, increase stakeholder engagement, create more affordable housing and modernize the current tools connecting residents and property management. NextGeneration NYCHA, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan, is a long-term strategic plan that details how NYCHA will create safe, clean, and connected communities for our residents and preserve New York City's public housing assets for the next generation. NYCHA residents are important partners in this work.


Tenant lawsuitEdit

In February 2018, attorney Jim Walden filed a lawsuit on behalf of 400,000 NYCHA tenants living in squalid conditions. The suit demands that the court appoint an independent monitor to oversee NYCHA because the agency failed to provide tenants with heat and hot water, keep residents safe from lead, involve tenants in policy-making, and hire residents, as required under federal law.[14] In April 2018, under intense pressure from the lawsuit, chairwoman Shola Olatoye resigned in disgrace.[15]

Federal lawsuitEdit

On June 11, 2018, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman filed a lawsuit accusing NYCHA of violating health and safety regulations, exposing children to lead paint, and training its workers to deceive inspectors.[16] According to federal prosecutors, deceptions NYCHA workers used included shutting off buildings' water supplies during inspections to hide leaks and building false walls out of plywood to hide dilapidated rooms from inspectors.[16] That day, NYCHA settled the lawsuit by admitting to the allegations, agreeing to spend an additional $1 billion over the next four years, and by agreeing to oversight by a federal monitor.[16][17]

List of chairpersonsEdit

No. Chairperson Term Mayor Previous Position
1. Langdon Post February 17, 1934 – December 1, 1937 Fiorello H. La Guardia U.S. Assistant Federal Relief Administrator
2. Alfred Rheinstein December 17, 1937 – October 9, 1939 Fiorello H. La Guardia Chairman & CEO, Rheinstein Construction Company
3. Gerard Swope December 11, 1939 – January 26, 1942 Fiorello H. La Guardia President, General Electric Company
4. Edmond Borgia Butler May 2, 1942 – July 1, 1947 Fiorello H. La Guardia Professor, Fordham University Law School
5. Thomas Francis Farrell July 1, 1947 – September 15, 1950 William O'Dwyer Chief of Field Operations, The Manhattan Project
6. Philip J. Cruise September 15, 1950 – April 3, 1958 Vincent R. Impellitteri (acting mayor) Assistant Chairman, New York City Housing Authority
7. William Reid April 1958 – December 31, 1965 Robert F. Wagner Jr. Chairman, Hudson and Manhattan Railroad
8. Missing Name January 1966 –
9. Gerald J. Carey 1966 John V. Lindsay General Manager, New York City Housing Authority
10. Walter Edward Washington 1966 – 1967 John V. Lindsay Exec. Dir. National Capital Housing Authority, DC
11. Albert Walsh October 31, 1967 – January 7, 1970 John V. Lindsay Deputy Commissioner, NYS Division Housing & Urban Renewal
12. Simeon Golar January 16, 1970 – May 31, 1973 John V. Lindsay Chairman, NYC Commission on Human Rights
13. Joseph J. Christian 1973 – December 31, 1985 John V. Lindsay, Abraham D. Beame, Edward I. Koch Commissioner of Development, NYC Housing and Development Administration
14. Emanuel P. Popolizio January 4, 1986 – November 1990 Edward I. Koch Chairman, NYC Conciliation and Appeals Board
15. Laura D. Blackburne November 1990 – February 22, 1992 David N. Dinkins President & CEO, Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution, NYC
16. Sally B. Hernandez-Pinero February 22, 1992 – January 1994 David N. Dinkins NYC Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development
17. Ruben Franco January 31, 1994 – January 7, 1999 Rudy Giuliani Pres. and General Counsel, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
18. John G. Martinez April 19, 1999 – April 1, 2001 Rudy Giuliani First Vice President, Paine Webber Inc.
19. Tino Hernandez April 1, 2001 – December 12, 2008 Rudy Giuliani, Michael R. Bloomberg Commissioner, New York City Department of Juvenile Justice
20. Ricardo Elias Morales December 15, 2008 – May 13, 2009 Michael R. Bloomberg NYCHA General Counsel & Chief Ethics Officer
21. John B. Rhea June 1, 2009 – December 30, 2013 Michael R. Bloomberg Managing Director & Co-Head of Global Consumer/Retail Group, Barclays Capital
22. Shola Olatoye February 8, 2014 – April 30, 2018[18] Bill de Blasio Vice Pres. & NY Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
* Derrick Cephas (Acting Chair*) May 4, 2018 – May 31, 2018[19] Bill de Blasio Vice Chair of NYCHA Board of Directors
** Stanley Brezenoff (Interim Chair & CEO**) June 1, 2018 – February 15, 2019 Bill de Blasio Interim CEO, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
*** Kathryn Garcia (90 day Interim Chair***) February 5, 2019 – Present Bill de Blasio Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation (continuing as)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b Public Housing Law § 401; "The New York City Housing Authority is hereby constituted and declared to be a body corporate and politic with all the powers, rights and duties set forth in article five of the former state housing law." Municipal Housing Authorities Law (L. 1934, ch. 4), comprising §§ 60–78 of the former State Housing Law (L. 1926, ch. 823, as re-enacted by L. 1927, ch. 35), now the Public Housing Law (L. 1939, ch. 808).
  3. ^ Bass v. City of New York, 38 AD2d 407 (2nd Dept 1972).
  4. ^ Public Housing Law § 402(3)
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-06-15. Retrieved 2006-04-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "NYCHA - Fund for Public Housing". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  8. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (2016-02-11). "Public Housing, Private Donors". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  9. ^ Citizen's Budget Commission, December, 2017
  10. ^
  11. ^ NYCHA 2017 Fact Sheet
  12. ^ Barry, Dan. "Don't Tell Him the Projects Are Hopeless", The New York Times, March 12, 2005. Accessed July 16, 2008. "UP, up, up it rises, this elevator redolent of urine, groaning toward the rooftop of another tired building in the Queensbridge public housing development, the largest in Queens, in New York, in North America."
  13. ^
  14. ^ Mays, Jeffery C. (2018-02-27). "Tenants Sue New York City Housing Authority: 'We Have Let Other People Speak for Us for Too Long'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  15. ^ Goodman, J. David (2018-04-09). "Embattled Housing Authority Chief in New York City Is Resigning". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  16. ^ a b c Weiser, Benjamin; Goodman, J. David (11 June 2018). "New York City Housing Authority, Accused of Endangering Residents, Agrees to Oversight". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  17. ^ Press Release (11 June 2018). "Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Settlement With NYCHA and NYC To Fundamentally Reform NYCHA Through the Appointment Of a Federal Monitor and the Payment By NYC Of $1.2 Billion Of Additional Capital Money Over the Next Five Years". United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  18. ^ Cite error: The named reference :02 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  19. ^ E-mail to NYCHA Employees from General Manager - May 4, 2018

External linksEdit