April is traditionally the month when people around the world focus on the quality and sustainability of our precious environment. There's no question that a unified focus on sustainability is urgent: You need look no further than the destruction that Superstorm Sandy inflicted on NYCHA developments and the rest of our City to understand that climate change is real and devastating. Individuals, corporations, organizations and governments all have a role to play in protecting and restoring the health of our planet for our generation and generations to come.
As part of our NextGeneration NYCHA strategic plan, the Authority has already made a number of significant steps toward reducing NYCHA’s impact on the environment by improving our energy conservation, using sustainable materials, implementing recycling at every development, planting farms to provide residents with locally grown produce, and more. We will continue these efforts to help keep our city a safe, healthy place for all residents to live. In this issue, you will read about some of our sustainability initiatives, many of which will create jobs for residents, and our environmental heroes who are making it happen.
But sustainability is not just about environmental quality of life. At this moment in time, for NYCHA, there is an even more pressing sustainability issue. Our funding for this year has been cut by tens of millions of dollars by HUD. These cuts alone will jeopardize the progress we have made in the past two years with our strategic plan. It will mean longer waits for repairs, fewer staff at developments, and limited programming for residents.
We are now looking at very tough, very unpopular choices to try and preserve the housing we have now. We will definitely need to build affordable and market-rate housing on our properties to generate revenue. We must continue to use the RAD program to convert properties to Section 8, as we did with Ocean Bay-Bayside, to protect as much housing as possible for our residents while reducing the burden on the Housing Authority so we can focus our resources on other developments that can’t be converted.
We need your help. Now is the time for the entire NYCHA community to band together and fight for the funding and support public housing residents need and deserve. Please support your elected officials, your community-based organizations, your resident association leadership, and the Authority as we continue to lobby for funding for NYCHA. More than ever, your partnership is critical—for your future, and the next generation of NYCHA residents.
Chair and CEO