New York states Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for the Housing Authority in New York City. The state of emergency comes after numerous complaints about health issues have come in. After receiving so many complaints, the Health Commissioner was sent out and returned with a full report that showed the emergency at hand and spurred the Governor into action.
Cuomo gave a recent news conference where he outlined his recent tour through some of the city’s public housing which he stated were some of the worst living conditions he had ever seen. The housing authority is responsible for roughly 1,462 buildings in the city. The state has never really offered much financially to the housing authority because it has fallen somewhere between the city and federal government. Along the way, things got out of control, but now that the problems have been brought to light, Cuomo is looking to rectify the situation.
The executive order, which was a $250 million emergency state resource expenditure for the necessary repairs and upgrades, follows the $300 million that was previously promised to the housing authority for necessary improvements over the last few years by the state. At the recent press conference where Cuomo signed the executive order, he also announced the need for an independent manager who would be responsible for overseeing the repairs and construction. This position will be filled by someone who is unanimously selected by the speaker of the City Council, President of NYHA and the mayor of New York within the next two months.
Noticeably absent from the signing was Mayor Bill de Blasio. This came as no shock as Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have been embattled in a long feud over both money and management issues. The mayor was slow to comment publicly on Cuomo’s move to declare a state of emergency but eventually did publicly defend both the Housing Authority and its chairwoman, Shola Olatoye, stating that he knows she is the right person for the job. Along with arguing over who is going to pay for the Housing Authority’s necessary repairs, de Blasio and Cuomo have also fiercely debated who is financially responsible for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, though both sides do agree that it needs much improvement. De Blasio has openly stated he believes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a state run agency and the state should be financially responsible. Cuomo, who feels the city should handle the financial burden, included a stipulation in the recent $168 billion budget deal which includes $250 million additional funding for the Housing Authority but comes with a stipulation that allows the state to withhold the city’s funding if the mayor’s administration failed to cover the $418 million cost of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s emergency repairs.
While it is likely that the mayor is less than pleased at the deal, he did agree to it. It is unfortunate that people were living in dangerous conditions that could cause illness among other health issues, but the state has stepped forward with a solution that will hopefully improve the lives of many of the citizens of New York City. For more information, click here.