New York City Housing Authority Chairman John Rhea announced a plan Monday to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars by leasing out unused space owned by NYCHA to private developers, says the New York Times.
The plan, which would take several years, would begin with the leasing of two dozen sites in Manhattan to developers for commercial, residential and retail space. At least 1,000 of the apartments – or 20 percent of all the units, according to housing advocates – would be set aside for low- and moderate-income families, says the paper.
Rhea said “this is not a plan to privatize Nycha,” and added that no buildings would be demolished, nor residents displaced.
“It wouldn’t require a single penny of housing subsidies,” Rhea said during a breakfast speech to the Association for a Better New York, a civic group.
Judith Goldiner, an attorney in charge of civil law reform at the Legal Aid Society, voiced critisim of the plan to the Times.
“We are concerned that the development proposed will not be affordable to Nycha residents, that Nycha is not consulting with the community as a whole and that losing open space in dense high-rise communities will have a negative impact on the public-housing community,” she told the paper.
Since a series of scathing reports about the NYCHA have surfaced, Rhea has admitted that the agency is mired with problems, and planned to overhaul its executive board. In August, Rhea appointed Cecil House, a former utilities corporate executive, to the position of general manager, in an effort to speed up repairs at hundreds of NYCHA buildings.