Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency within the New York City Housing Authority and allocated $250 million to replace the system’s failing heating systems and make other repairs.
Cuomo signed an executive order on Monday “declaring a public housing disaster” in all five boroughs, citing “grave concerns” over the state of the 326-building system’s boilers as well as the presence of lead paint and mold. The quarter-billion dollar commitment follows $300 million worth of funding already pledged by Albany this year.
The emergency designation comes after several months of heavy scrutiny leveled against the housing authority and Mayor Bill de Blasio for repeated heat outages within the NYCHA system dating back to last October. More than 320,000 residents have gone without heat at some point since last fall, with the average outage last 48 hours.
“I was the HUD secretary,” Cuomo said during a speech at NYCHA’s Johnson Community Center in East Harlem. “I’ve been through housing authorities all across this country, what I have seen at NYCHA is as bad as anything I’ve seen anywhere.”
In addition to the money, which the governor was able to allocate unilaterally under the provisions of the emergency declaration, he also ordered the mayor, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and NYCHA’s Citywide Council of Presidents to appoint an independent emergency manager within 60 days.