Congresswoman wants $32 billion more from feds to fix NYCHA, calls it a national emergency

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — Representative Nydia Velasquez introduced what she’s calling the Public Housing Emergency Response Act outside the Alfred E. Smith houses on the Lower East Side Wednesday.

“What we need is a bold proposal with $70 billion dollars,” said Velasquez.

Velasquez said she is backed by political musclel every member of the New York City congressional delegation has cosponsored the bill.

The bill is asking for $70 billion from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to update public housing nationally.

Velasquez said $32 billion dollars will go directly to the New York City Housing Authority, calling it a “national emergency.”

PIX11 was there in Harlem when Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for NYCHA.

HUD Regional Director Lynne Patton called conditions inside public housing last winter a national emergency when she stayed in NYCHA for a month.

Velasquez said it’s time to show the money to the people of public housing. She admitted the bill will be a tough sell in Washington after decades of disinvestment, Velasquez said city and state officials also need to step up.

She has a  message for President Trump.

“I would say 'shame on him' and he sends us a budget I would say 'put your money where your mouth is. Don’t dare send us a budget with zero money,'” said Velasquez.

Patton doesn't think money is the answer.

“Throwing valuable tax-payer dollars at the decades long culture of mismanagement and fraud that is NYCHA does not fix the problem. This Administration has given more funding to NYCHA than any other administration since 1997, totaling nearly $30 million dollars per week, yet the distressed conditions never change. If Congresswoman Velasquez wants this bill to truly help her long-suffering constituency, then she will work with HUD and Secretary Carson’s federal monitor to ensure that any/all future Congressional funding is allocated in a fiscally responsible and effective manner."

But a NYCHA spokesperson said public housing needs money.

"Public housing requires a massive infusion of capital to help improve NYCHA buildings and resident homes," the spokesperson said. "We are grateful for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and the New York delegation for their leadership in pushing this new legislation and fighting to secure more funding for public housing across the country."

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