The de Blasio administration has committed $500 million to build thousands of affordable housing units for low-income seniors, in order to reduce the public housing waitlist, which currently has about 207,000 families registered. The city will allocate unused land, lawns and parking lots of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and other public locations.
The city also recently agreed to spend $2 billion on public housing over the next decade after the NYCHA was charged with failing to meet health and safety standards by federal prosecutors. In the complaint, Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said, “The people who suffer as a result of NYCHA’s misconduct are its residents, including lead-poisoned children; elderly residents without heat in winter; asthma sufferers whose condition is worsened by moldy and pest-infested apartments; and disabled residents without functioning elevators.”
Not only did NYCHA violate safe housing conditions, it also took measures to conceal things like mold and lead paint from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspectors. Lead exposure can cause extensive neurological problems in both children and adults, or exasperate existing health issues.
The number of seniors in the city has been increasing, and the Mayor’s office estimates additional 40% growth by 2040. In addition to the housing waitlist, there are an estimated 60,000 people living in homeless shelters. Demand for affordable housing will remain high as the population ages, new development space dwindles, and real estate values rise.
Article by Katya Demina | Photo via CBCNY