Governor Signs Legislation Establishing Public Housing Preservation Trust for NYCHA
The trust allows NYCHA to access new revenue streams to help fund renovations to 25,000 apartments. On Thursday, June 16, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation that created the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust. The Trust will give the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) access to new revenue streams and enable needed repairs to 25,000 apartments in NYCHA developments. These repairs have been postponed due to a lack of funds, often attributed to reductions in contributions from the federal budget.
NYCHA was previously funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under Section 9 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. This made funding subject to national political priorities and partisan power struggles. The newly created Trust, as a separate entity from NYCHA, would allow NYCHA to access funding through Section 8, which covers private owners. Section 8 would allow NYCHA to accept Tenant Protection Bonds, which are project-based funds that remain permanently tied to a property and, according to the city, are worth more than traditional Section 9 funding.
As a private owner, the Trust could also issue its own debt to raise capital, instead of relying on government borrowing. According to the governor, this will allow renovations to be “better funded and completed more quickly.”
The Trust will be a public benefit corporation, which is defined by New York State law as a public corporation whose purpose is the provision of a “general public benefit”. The benefit in this case is the maintenance and improvement of NYCHA-owned social housing stock.
The governor’s office emphasized that this will not result in any loss of any rights or protections currently guaranteed to NYCHA residents, including current inheritance taxes, filling apartments based on waiting lists, and that residents will still only pay 30% of their income for rent. Residents will also have the right to vote to join the Trust and will have a say in determining which vendors are selected to carry out renovations in their developments.
The legislation comes after the governor announced a $25 billion housing plan in his State of the State address, which later became part of the enacted budget for fiscal year 2023.
The legislation was sponsored by State Senator Julia Salazar and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.
Governor Hochul said, “Today is a major victory for all New Yorkers who call NYCHA home.” This legislation will unlock additional federal funding and drive billions of dollars in renovations — after decades of federal divestment — and make critical improvements for 25,000 apartments in NYCHA developments across the city.
Mayor Eric Adams said, “For too long we have underinvested in NYCHA, leaving aging infrastructure and public services unrepaired, but, with this law, we are ensuring NYCHA residents now have access to safe, high-quality, affordable housing they deserve.
NYCHA Chairman and CEO Greg Russ said, “Today is a momentous day in the history of public housing in New York and across the country. Thank you to Governor Kathy Hochul for signing into law the Public Housing Preservation Trust legislation. The Trust gives NYCHA the ability to raise billions of dollars in capital funds to invest in its properties and gives residents a real voice in the future of their homes. Governor Hochul – alongside NYCHA residents, bill sponsors Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and State Senator Julia Salazar, New York State Legislature, Mayor Eric Adams, community leaders and advocacy partners – has led the way with the vision and courage to disrupt the status quo, end decades of disinvestment and, for the first time, deliver real and lasting solutions that will transform the quality of life of residents of social housing in New York.
By: Christophe Kipiniak (Christopher is an intern at CityLaw and a student at New York Law School, class of 2024.)
Governor: Governor Hochul signs legislation creating the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust (June 16, 2022).