Cash-strapped NYCHA’s rent collection is crashing to a record low.
The public housing agency reportedly collected just 65% of the rent it charged during the 12 months leading up to December — the lowest in NYCHA’s history.
The alarming cash drain — figured at about a half-billion dollars — is the lowest in NYCHA’s history, and a stunning slide from annual pre-pandemic numbers of 90% or better, the New York Times reported.
The money loss could also hobble the agency’s performance of essential services — like repairing elevators or addressing mold growth at 177,569 apartments within 335 developments around the city.
NYCHA houses one in 16 New Yorkers — and advocates told The Post the coffers can’t be allowed to go dry.
“The state has to dole out the money or find the money,” Iziah Thompson, a housing analyst with tenants’ rights organization Housing Justice For All, told The Post.
“The governor said they had tons of savings and tons of money from the federal government last year. It was weird that public housing was just left out of that assistance during the biggest pandemic of our lifetime,” he said.
The New York City Housing Authority is no stranger to budget struggles. But with recent inflation and more than two years of COVID-19, NYCHA residents are struggling to pay rent.
From 2019 to 2021, the agency processed 500,000 requests for rent adjustments by tenants trying to stay financially afloat — even with measures like the state eviction moratorium in place. The moratorium ended in January 2022.
At a budget hearing last year, the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonprofit fiscal watchdog, said in a news release that NYCHA’s operating costs per unit have jumped about 50% since 2013. The financial toll triggered the agency to slash 150 job positions in its department earlier this month, the agency announced.
A number of solutions have been floated to support NYCHA in the past, including going private.
In 2021, the agency partnered with some private developers to operate Baychester Houses in the Bronx and used a federal program known as Rental Assistance Demonstration to access funding through Section 8 vouchers. And in June 2022, legislation was passed making NYCHA a public development corporation, allowing it to lease up to 25,000 apartments and borrow money for its maintenance.
Earlier this month, Mayor Adams, HUD regional administrator Alicka Ampry-Samuel and interim NYCHA head Lisa Bova-Hiatt announced renovations on over 36,000 NYCHA apartments using a program to transition developments to the federally funded Section 8 program.