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NYCHA Moves Away From Operating Single-Family Homes

By Amy Zimmer | March 3, 2017 12:37pm | Updated on March 6, 2017 7:34am
 NYCHA is moving single-family homes out of its portfolio, like the one pictured above, and into the affordable homeownership pipeline for nonprofits to restore and sell.
NYCHA is moving single-family homes out of its portfolio, like the one pictured above, and into the affordable homeownership pipeline for nonprofits to restore and sell.
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NYCA

QUEENS — The city’s largest landlord no longer wants to operate single-family homes.

The New York City Housing Authority finalized an agreement last week to transfer 20 vacant single-family homes scattered across Brooklyn and Queens to Habitat for Humanity New York City, which will invest $415,000 per home — from city, state and private financing — to bring them up to a state-of-good repair, city officials said. 

The nonprofit will then sell the houses as opportunities for affordable home ownership, targeting families earning 80 percent of the Area Median Income, which is $65,280 for a family of three. 

► Read More: What is AMI?

Seventeen of the homes in the deal are in Queens, including Jamaica, St. Albans, Cambria Heights, and Springfield Gardens.

Three are in East Flatbush.

“It doesn’t make a lot of operational sense to maintain single-family homes in Queens and Brooklyn when trying to maintain 178,000 units in public housing,” said Nicole Ferreira, NYCHA’s executive vice president for real estate.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development department assumed control of hundreds of homes or buildings in the city after their FHA loans — mortgages ensured by the Federal Housing Administration — went into foreclosure. HUD then handed them over to NYCHA, which used them as public housing.

Running these homes has put a strain on NYCHA, which manages nearly 178,000 apartments within 328 developments in the five boroughs, by taking staff away from big buildings to mow lawns and fix roofs on houses across the boroughs, Ferreira said.

“We’ve just been boarding them up [as they’re vacated],” she said. “They’ve been sitting around blighting blocks.”

However NYCHA has still been on the hook to provide security for the homes.

In addition to the 20 under the Habitat deal, another 55 of these boarded-up homes have been transferred to nonprofits either last year or will be closing this year, Ferreira said.  

The authority will soon issue a request for proposals for another crop of vacant homes, including 20 more single-family and six multi-family homes.

NYCHA has given the tenants in the remaining 146 single-family homes operated by the authority the opportunity to buy them. Nearly 50 of those households are now going through that process, with NYCHA assisting in making repairs.

While NYCHA isn’t making a profit on selling the homes, the authority is saving money by shedding them from its portfolio of properties to manage.

“We have a $17 billion backlog [for the capital repairs], so every $100,000 counts to us,” Ferreira said.