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CHAIR

DISTRICT OFFICE
573 East Fordham Road
(Entrance on Hoffman Street)
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 842-8100
FAX: (347) 597-8570

PUBLIC HOUSING

COMMITTEES
GENERAL WELFARE
GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
HOUSING & BUILDINGS

CITY HALL OFFICE

LAND USE

250 Broadway, Suite 1759


New York, NY 10007
(212) 788-6966
FAX: (212) 788-8977

PUBLIC SAFETY

DEPUTY LEADER OF
THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL

Monday, January 25, 2016


Shola Olatoye, Chair
New York City Housing Authority
250 Broadway
New York, NY, 10007
Dear Chair Olatoye,
I commend you and your talented team for creating a serious strategic plan for preserving
public housing at a time when NYCHA faces a deepening crisis in both its finances and
infrastructure. Opting for reality over wishful thinking, the plan recognizes that NYCHA is
at an existential crossroads: either the Housing Authority evolves or it will not survive for
the next generation. Period.
The big-picture value of the plan aside, NextGen NYCHA still has its shortcomings. The
plan, while tall on vision, is short on detail, and the lack of detail raises real questions about
transparency.
NYCHA has been quick to market its latest adventures in open government, citing laudable
initiatives like NYCHAMetrics. But how can NYCHA claim to be transparent when core
components of NextGen remain shrouded in secrecy? Even I, as the Chair of the Committee
on Public Housing, have been kept largely in the dark, as has the public at large.
Nowhere is the lack of detail more glaring than on the subject of land lease. Even though
NextGen NYCHA projects somewhere between $300 and 600 million in revenue from land
lease, it fails to specify where and how those revenues would materialize. When asked
about its wide-ranging revenue projections during an Executive Budget Hearing in June of
2015, NYCHA couldn't give anything resembling a coherent response. Nor would your
agency give the Public Housing Committee information about the development sites behind
its projections. Throwing numbers at the Committee, without revealing which sites those
numbers are based on and how those numbers were arrived at, is hardly a show of
transparency. Land lease is but one example in a long list of NextGen proposals that
generate more questions than answers.

As you know, I fully support the strategic goals set out in NextGen NYCHA, especially land
lease. But I have serious concerns about the slow and secretive manner in which the details
of the plan are being unveiled. There is no defensible reason for withholding information
from either the general public or their elected officials. If NYCHA has confidence in its own
strategic plan, it should have enough confidence to bring the details of that plan out in the
open for everyone to see. The field hearing at Holmes Houses, scheduled for the evening of
January 26th, offers a fresh opportunity for NYCHA to commit itself to the highest
standards of transparency. I ask you, Madam Chairwoman, to show the public you have
nothing to hide by releasing all the details of NextGen.

Regards,

Council Member Ritchie Torres,


Chair of the Committee on Public Housing

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