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'Troubled' Developments Make Up 10 Percent of City's Public Housing: Report

By Eddie Small | February 16, 2017 5:06pm
 The quality of public housing in New York City is below the national average, according to an analysis of federal inspection data from the Independent Budget Office.
The quality of public housing in New York City is below the national average, according to an analysis of federal inspection data from the Independent Budget Office.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Wall

NEW YORK CITY — A total of 10 percent of the city's public housing developments are considered "troubled," and the overall quality of public housing in New York City is well below the national average, according to the Independent Budget Office.

The IBO recently published an analysis of federal inspection data for the city's NYCHA developments using data from January 2015 to April 2016 and found that the average inspection score for projects was 73.5, about 13 points below the national average of 86.7.

Developments with a score of less than 60 are considered "troubled," and 10 percent of them, or 33 developments, fell into this category, with Mott Haven's Patterson Houses receiving the lowest score at 33.

Developments that scored 90 or greater were considered "high performers," and these projects made up 9 percent of the total, or 30 developments overall.

A trio of Manhattan projects — 154 W. 84th St., Stanton Street Houses and Lower East Side III — and a pair of Brooklyn projects — Marcy Avenue-Greene Street Sites A and B — all had a score of 97, the highest achieved throughout the city.

A vast majority of the city's developments received scores between 60 and 89, putting them in the "standard performers" category.

IBO Supervising Analyst Elizabeth Brown, who prepared the study, said she was surprised by the large range of scores in public housing developments.

"You have some building doing very well — I think 97 was the highest we saw — and then others that are 33," she said. "It’s a big, big range of scores, so I would say I thought that was particularly interesting: that some public housing is really doing very well, while others, not so much."

Projects in the "troubled" category tended to be relatively old and large, with an average of 819 apartments and an average completion year of 1966. The "high performer" developments had an average number of 321 apartments and an average completion year of 1977.

Due to this disparity in size, just 5 percent of the city's public housing residents live in high-performing developments, while almost 16 percent live in troubled developments, according to the IBO.

NYCHA's Chief Communications Officer Jean Weinberg said in a statement that the report demonstrated the consequences of cuts to public housing funding.

"This report confirms what NYCHA knows too well—that decades of federal and state disinvestment have resulted in the decay of NYCHA’s buildings," she said.