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Public Housing Capital Needs is a Focus of Lawmakers

Arlene Conn, PHADA Policy Analyst

There has been a wave of activity related to improved funding for the Public Housing Capital Account, beginning last April with draft legislation from Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) and more recently with legislation introduced by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and a plan from Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) as part of his presidential candidacy platform.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez introduced the Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R. 4546) on September 27. Cosponsored by New York City’s congressional delegation, among others, the legislation is intended to address decades of underfunding by the federal government and the resultant critical backlog of capital needs across the country. The bill would authorize $70 billion for HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund, including $32 billion for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). This legislation would allocate funding on a needs basis, as determined by agencies’ most recent Physical Needs Assessments (PNA). In its 2017 PNA, issued in March of 2018, NYCHA’s engineering consultants estimated the cost of repairing and replacing necessary building systems over five years to be $31.8 billion, or $180,700 per unit, and $45.2 billion ($255,700 per unit) over 20 years.

 

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