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Thursday 18 October 2018
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New York State Will Receive $67 Million For Public Housing, Officials Say

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Model Houses On Rungs Of Wooden Property Ladder

It’s no secret the State of New York has been in a housing crisis. But now the Empire State may finally be receiving the help it needs to get back on track.

According to CNYCentral, Upstate New York is set to receive more than $67 million in federal funding for public housing.

The money, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be used to improve affordable housing options for families, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Buffalo, the second largest city in New York, will receive the biggest grant of $11.7 million. Yonkers and Syracuse will receive $5 million and Rochester will receive $4.8 million.

The funding comes in the wake of failing public housing scores across the state. Failing scores were given to 12% of the public housing complex inspections conducted statewide over the last five years.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sets the passing score at 60. Forty-six areas in the state, 24 of which were in New York City, scored below 60.

According to the New York Times, New York City will be made to spend $1 billion on its public housing system. They’ll also need to accept a federal monitor to oversee the public housing as a settlement with the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.

The settlement would put an end to HUD’s investigation into NYC’s public housing, which houses over 400,000 working class and low-income Americans.

The federal intervention is said to mark a turning point for the New York housing authority, or Nycha. Nycha, which oversees 325 housing developments, suffered more than $2.7 billion cuts in federal funding since 2001.

The investigation into Nycha first began in 2015 before becoming public in March 2016.

During the investigation, it was made public that Nycha hadn’t conducted lead inspections in thousands of apartments between 2012 and 2016. False paperwork had also been submitted reporting that Nycha had conducted the inspections.

As a result of the findings, Nycha was prohibited from drawing on federal funds by HUD without prior approval. New York City official says the de Blasio administration has volunteered to fund Nycha by investing $3.7 billion in the agency.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the prosecutors’ concerns with Nycha are historically grounded. “I think … we can get to a fair settlement,” he said, “that’s in everyone’s interest.”

New York is far from the only state to suffer from public housing issues.

In May, the California Energy Commission passed a new mandate, which would require all new homes built in the state after January 1, 2020, to have solar panels.

The solar panels would lessen environmental impact (compared to the 3 billion tons of hazardous materials shipped every year, conventional roofing products contribute 20 billion pounds of waste to landfills annually).

Yet, the solar panels would increase the value of California’s already skyrocketing housing prices. Landscaping alone increases a home’s value by 14%. The solar panels are predicted to increase housing prices by $10,000.

“We either have affordable subsidized [housing] by the government,” said Scot Sandstrom of New Pointe Communities, “or these very expensive million dollar homes.”

The high prices of housing are reflected in New York’s own housing crisis and skyrocketing rent.

“As real estate speculators and Wall Street gamblers flood the market, rents are skyrocketing and tenants are displaced and they can’t keep up,” said LA Tenants Union officer Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal.

“I think that’s probably why we are seeing the turn of the rent strikes,” Rosenthal said. It may also explain the return of the federal government’s public housing investments.