NEW YORK CITY — Rep. Nydia Velázquez is now pushing for what some are calling a “Hail Mary” pass to keep public housing public, and out of the hands of private developers.
Velázquez also has a message for President Doland Trump: Write a Check.
“You work hard and play by the rules, and we know if we go to public housing we see people who work hard and work two or three jobs and they cannot make it,” said Velázquez.
Velázquez sat down with PIX11 in her office in Brooklyn Monday.
Velázquez is leading the way in going after the White House and proposed cuts to the federal Housing and Urban Development budget.
Most of New York’s congressional delegation is behind her: 16 memebrs.
They sent a letter to Secretary Ben Carson last week, warning of dire consequences. According to the letter, the proposed budget cuts total $8.6 billion, about 15% of the current budget.
That would mean a 10% loss in funding for NYCHA daily operations, and it would severely cut building improvements if the Public Housing Capital Fund is eliminated.
It would also cost nearly 10,000 people their Section 8 apartments.
PIX11 spoke one-on-one with Carson back in August on the rooftop of the Ocean Bay Apartments in far Rockaway.
Carson said the future of public housing was a public-private partnership called RAD: rental assistance demonstration.
Velázquez is very much against NYCHA using public-private partnerships as a fix, and said she wants to keep public housing public.
“RAD should be the last resort, and all we need is the will and commitment from presidential candidates. The issue that I have with it, is it has not been tested. When they say tenants’ right will be protected — well, there hasn’t been a study,” said Velázquez.
A few months ago, Velázquez introduced what’s called the Public Housing Emergency Response Act.
The bill calls for $70 billion from HUD to update public housing nationally.
Velasquez said $32 billion will go directly to NYCHA, calling it a “national emergency.”
PIX11 reached out to HUD and NYCHA for a response and is waiting to hear back.