New York City's public housing developments are getting a new independent monitor to oversee repairs and upgrades.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order creating the position Monday. The monitor will be selected by the New York City Council and the leaders of an organization that represents tenants.
The order comes two days after lawmakers agreed to budget an additional $250 million in state funds for repairs and upgrades to city housing units. It will be added to an existing pool of $300 million designated for the New York City Housing Authority. The emergency manager will have discretion over the full $550 million, but also over any city funds used to abate public health hazards.
A letter from Shola Olatoye, NYCHA's chair, was sent to tenant association presidents highlighting a 46 percent increase in national funding for public housing from Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“HUD looks forward to working with NYCHA to effectively address the health & safety needs of their residents with the unprecedented funding granted to them by this Republican-led Congress and endorsed by both Secretary Carson and the President," HUD Regional Administrator Lynne Patton said.
Cuomo has called conditions in New York City's public housing "intolerable" and has blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio's oversight of the authority.
The mayors office continues to place blame on the state funding saying, “Public housing tenants deserve that (state) funding to be quickly applied to NYCHA’s most pressing needs. And that means this funding cannot be held hostage to the same delays and dynamics as in previous years.”
De Blasio's top housing official noted in a letter to Cuomo's office Monday that the state hasn't released $200 million for city public housing from last year's budget.