ASTORIA – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris on March 26 announced that the State Senate’s budget proposal contained a $750 million commitment to residents of NYCHA developments. This funding would have a variety of uses, including capital expenses to repair aging facilities. The Senate’s funding proposal represents a first step towards increasing the state’s financial commitment to public housing residents.
“For too long, deferred investments in public housing have had dire consequences. The State Senate will not leave NYCHA tenants behind and will fight for necessary resources,” said Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris. “While we still need to convince our governing partners to support this financial commitment, our $750 million proposal is a major step towards the state taking the needs of NYCHA residents seriously. This is a down payment on the future of public housing and I am committed to working with residents and community leaders to ensure our public housing receives the investments it needs to be some of the best housing available in New York.”
The Executive Budget, proposed by the Governor in January, included $250 million in state aid for residents of NYCHA houses. The Senate’s budget proposal raised that by $500 million, to $750 million. The Senate, Assembly, and Governor must come to an agreement on the final budget by April 1.
Senator Gianaris represents three major NYCHA developments, including Queensbridge Houses – the largest public housing development in North America – Ravenswood, and Astoria Houses.
The budget proposal was hailed by Queens NYCHA community leaders.
Astoria Houses Tenants Association President Claudia Coger said, “Senator Gianaris has always been an ally of our neighbors in Astoria Houses and I am pleased to learn he's been fighting for more funding for our neighbors. I hope everyone in Albany is listening to the Senate right now and includes that $750 million for our community members.”
Ravenswood Residents Association President Carol Wilkins said, “Ravenswood residents live in homes that are in need of serious repairs. This $750 million is critical funding we can use to put towards making our homes more livable for another generation. This funding could also be used towards bringing back the Centralized Call Center hotline for repairs, a resources our seniors especially depend on. I am hopeful other leaders in government will join Senator Gianaris in fighting for this money so we can ensure more resources are made available to our residents.”
Bishop Mitchell Taylor of Urban Upbound said, “Serving NYCHA residents throughout the western Queens community, I know firsthand the high needs our families and neighbors have. $750 million would be a serious downpayment on a better future for the residents of public housing. I thank Senator Gianaris and the Senate Majority for including this funding in their budget proposal and am hopeful the Assembly and Executive will follow suit.”
Chris Hanway, Executive Director of the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House said, “We are always in need of more resources to provide the engaging programs our community members have come to expect from the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House. I'm very pleased Senator Gianaris is once again championing funding for NYCHA residents in the legislature and urge the rest of the budget negotiators to follow the Senate Majority's lead.”
Community Builder and Visionary Suga Ray said, “$750 million is nowhere near enough to rebuild NYCHA. I'm looking forward to working with Senator Gianaris to secure adequate funding for NYCHA – the property and its residents, in the future.”