Legal Aid Society


LAS: Albany Must Create a NYC Public Housing Preservation Trust

The Legal Aid Society is calling on lawmakers in Albany to create a NYC Public Housing Preservation Trust which would provide the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) with additional funding opportunities to address a massive backlog of capital repairs and other operational needs.

“For decades, public housing residents have suffered through horrendous living conditions – including frequent utility outages, raw sewage floods, toxic mold and lead paint, and rodent infestations – stemming from government disinvestment,” reads a statement from Legal Aid. “These dehumanizing conditions have long been unacceptable, and it is time to take real and meaningful steps to remedy NYCHA’s disrepair and prioritize its public preservation.”

A Preservation Trust would allow NYCHA to accept publicly funded federal Section 8 Tenant vouchers, which would significantly raise its revenue. Instead of privatizing ownership and management, the Trust would keep our public housing in the public domain and retain the NYCHA public workforce.

Creating a preservation trust at the state level would also enable NYCHA to bypass outdated federal regulations and streamline its contracting procedures. It’s a model with a proven track record of success at the NYC School Construction Authority.

“This is a one-time opportunity for New York State to create a public-benefit corporation with the potential to access the full capital funding NYCHA needs to address its $40 billion backlog in infrastructural repairs and restore decent conditions to all of New York City’s public housing residents,” Lead Aid’s statement continues.

The bill was recently passed by the New York State Assembly Housing Committee and Legal Aid is calling on the lawmakers to enact this critical legislation this session.

*Update 6/2/2022

The bill has passed the full legislature. Legal Aid is calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to enact the legislation immediately.