The New York City Housing Authority is finally being brought to task for years of false statements and mismanagement, including failing to comply with lead paint regulations and other issues that have endangered mainly low-income families and their children, said federal prosecutors on Monday.
"Today marks the beginning of the end of the nightmare for these residents," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said. Berman's comments come after years of complaints from NYCHA residents who have dealt with everything from broken elevators to vermin infestations to lack of heat during the winter.
According to Berman, the agency has "engaged in a culture of false statements and concealment" when filing for federal housing subsidies. "The culture of NYCHA is to blame. The management of NYCHA is to blame."
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement regarding the matter:
"Decades of divestment by the federal and state governments and decades of neglect by New York City government have pushed our public housing system to the brink. I didn't run for mayor to continue that history. I ran to help turn it around.
"This morning I entered our city government into a contract with the United States Attorney that will aggressively address the infrastructure and accountability failures outlined in the Consent Decree. Our work with the federal government ensures not only the continuation of record-level investments by my administration but also requires the next mayor to invest in NYCHA with that same dedication.
"By further acknowledging and providing solutions to a decades-old pattern of mismanagement, divestment and neglect, I am confident this settlement will be a turning point for our public housing system. By enshrining in city government my administration's absolute commitment to never turning a blind eye to those in need, this agreement takes a dramatic step to fulfilling our obligation to more than 400,000 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home."