Residents living in New York City Housing Authority developments are teaming up with the city's comptroller to tackle critical housing issues.
“Residents are the experts on what is broken in their homes, and their insight is an integral part of the oversight process to ensure that NYCHA is meeting its obligations,” said Comptroller Brad Lander.
On Feb. 22, Lander and the Resident Audit Committee announced the launch of two new audits aimed at the repair process and eviction rates in NYCHA developments.
“Problems with the repairs process and concerns about rising evictions rose to the top in our conversations, and our auditors will be diving in on the details to understand what’s happening and what needs improvement,” Lander said.
Both audits will be conducted by the comptroller’s Bureau of Audit. The first audit will review NYCHA’s repair process. It will analyze how contractors are selected, the quality of work and oversight measures taken by NYCHA.
The audit of eviction rates at RAD/PACT developments will examine how rates have changed since RAD/PACT conversion and if the reasons provided for eviction are different than other developments.
“As the RAD/PACT program continues to expand to NYCHA developments, we as residents want to ensure that there is accountability and oversight of this program,” said NYCHA resident Brenda Temple. “City resources must be directed towards robust outreach to tenants in converted buildings to learn more about their experiences of RAD/PACT.”
The Resident Audit Committee was initiated by the comptroller and first convened in the fall of 2022 after a number of round tables and listening sessions were held across the five boroughs in the summer months.
“The residents of NYCHA need answers to these critical quality of life issues, that are depressing reminders of the struggles we face, including disproportionate rates of illnesses. The audits we have selected are important steps to finding solutions to these problems,” said NYCHA resident Aixa Torres.
The committee is tasked with steering the new resident-powered audit process and will provide feedback and input to the comptroller over the next several months.
“Our new, resident-powered approach to auditing will help focus our independent and objective oversight on the issues that matter most to NYCHA residents,” said Maura Hayes-Chaffe, deputy comptroller for the audit. “This is the first step towards bridging the gap between our community and government, and we look forward to continuing our work with the NYCHA resident committee throughout this process.”
Lander has been actively monitoring NYCHA operations and management since taking office, even placing the authority on a watch list.
In December, the comptroller’s office conducted a survey that received responses from nearly 800 residents from across 132 NYCHA developments. Findings from the survey indicate that sanitation, safety and repair tickets being closed before repairs were completed ranked as the highest issues being experienced by residents.
Before undertaking the new audits, the comptroller also conducted two reviews. The first review was of the entryways at NYCHA building, which found 60% of entrance doors were open and/or had broken locks. This figure is an increase of 24% from a similar review conducted in 2018.
There is also another ongoing review that is auditing rent calculations based on concerns raised at a Red Hook round table.
“Achieving real progress for NYCHA residents must include a close look at how the authority is operating. I am proud to be a part of the resident committee on behalf of my community to provide insight on the impact evictions are having on residents. The commitment of Lander and the audit bureau to reviewing the eviction rates at RAD/PACT developments is an important step toward change and accountability,” said NYCHA resident Joveta Paige.
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