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Public Housing Residents in BK Are Helping the NYC Comptroller Audit NYCHA

As part of the audit process, a NYCHA residents survey was conducted to hear people's thoughts on NYCHA's performance in numerous areas.
NYCHA Audit Resident Committee and Comptroller staff
The inaugural NYCHA Audit Resident Committee and Comptroller staff. Photo: Provided/ Brad Lander. Credit: Photo by Jose Suarez

A committee of 21 New York City Housing Authority residents — which was assembled by NYC Comptroller Brad Lander — just had its first meeting this month to discuss how public housing in NYC can be improved.

The inaugural resident committee was put together to assist the Comptroller's office with the auditing process of NYCHA, which Comptroller Lander said has been under frequent scrutiny for its financial and managerial issues.

“NYCHA residents are the experts on what is broken in our public housing authority, and they must be part of the solutions. By partnering directly with residents, our resident-powered audits will aim to move the needle forward on the much-needed repairs, resources, services, investments, and quality of life issues that matter most to the people who call NYCHA home,” Lander said.

As part of the audit process, a survey of NYCHA residents was conducted by the Comptroller's office back in July. The City received 795 responses total from all five boroughs, but one borough was represented the most: Brooklyn accounted for 29% of all responses.

The results from the survey were recently released and were discussed by the NYCHA resident committee at the meeting.

Results from the NYCHA performance survey indicated some significant findings for housing in the Brooklyn borough.

On a scale of one to five (one meaning very poor, and five meaning excellent) the average timeliness of home repairs was by far the lowest measure in Brooklyn, with a score of 1.86.

In addition, the Brooklyn results of other NYCHA performance areas — including average housing quality (2.21), safety (2.28), social/community services (2.59), and affordability (3.00) — were all below the citywide average.

Lander said the resident survey has already yielded a quick response review of the building entry doors of NYCHA developments.

According to Lander, almost 60% of building entrance doors were found to be either open and/or had broken locks, which was up 23.5% from 2018.

Lander said that by listening to residents and enlisting their help, positive change can be made.

“As we’ve listened to hundreds of NYCHA residents at Family Days, structured roundtables, and informal discussions this summer, it’s been agonizing to hear the level of frustration, distrust, and appalling conditions they endure,” Lander said.

“The challenges NYCHA faces are large, and both the costs of repair and the need for management reform can seem overwhelming. But by making sure we include residents in the conversation, we can bring transparency to the process and take meaningful, achievable steps to restoring basic services, safety, and trust."