The Impacts of Living in NYCHA | Report by Regional Plan Association

The people in New York City leading both the efforts to bring attention to the deteriorating conditions in our public housing, and the efforts to have them repaired, are their residents. It is important to recognize that government and civic organizations, as well as the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) itself, have only followed after. We all benefit from public housing, and the entire city would be hugely affected by its loss. However, NYCHA residents need to be recognized as both the people with the most at stake, and the people who have taken the most direct initiative to secure repairs, both inside and outside of the existing resident engagement structure. For this, we all owe a debt of gratitude.

Access to budgets, physical needs assessments, and other documents are necessary to obtain a true picture of NYCHA, as are conversations with stakeholders from New York City and NYCHA management. But even more necessary are the on-the-ground knowledge and experience of residents. Resident leaders from grassroots organization Community Voices Heard (CVH) have been instrumental in working to ensure NYCHA residents’ voices are heard and that attention is brought to conditions in public housing through door-to-door engagement, public meetings, and community organizing. RPA’s recommendations for improving NYCHA would not have been possible without this partnership and the input from residents, many of whom have knowledge and experience which stretches back decades.

As part of this process of resident engagement, CVH gathered several meaningful insights into how NYCHA’s living conditions impact the physical and mental well-being of residents. These insights have directly informed both CVH’s ongoing efforts as well as RPA’s recommendations for changes in property management, services, and engagement. A necessary starting point of any effort to repair NYCHA needs to be engagement with residents and an acceptance of their experiences as authentic — far too often this is not the case.

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Posted on: November 9, 2020