City Making Progress On Maintenance Backlog At Public Housing Developments
Two months ago, the mayor and the city's housing authority promised to reduce a massive maintenance backlog at public housing developments this year. They are making progress, and they say possible cuts from Washington won't stall their plans, at least for now. NY1's
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Waiting nine months for a repair at the LaGuardia Houses is actually an improvement, according to Fernando Manso, the superintendent of the LaGuardia Houses.
"Our oldest scheduled appointment is December the 18th of 2013," Manso said. "We don't want residents waiting for a year or two years for plastering work. That's not fair to the residents."
Work orders have piled up for years. In January, the backlog reached 420,000. In two months, officials said 73,000 have been completed.
"If I was a public housing resident, that would be music to my ears," said John Rhea, the chairman of the New York City Housing Authority.
Rhea and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan in January to get rid of the backlog. They set goals that promised to get through the maintenance work by the end of the year.
In February, the average resident waited 146 days for maintenance work.
"They take their time with it. That's what they do," said one resident. "Unless it's an emergency emergency, they really don't care."
"Routine maintenance work will get done within, on average, seven days, and skilled trades and more complex work will get down, on average, within 15 days," Rhea said. "And we tell them that we've committed to make sure that that happens by the end of this year."
The housing authority said it would hire more people, and they've done so at the LaGuardia Houses. Supplies for quick fixes are now on hand.
"It's getting a lot better," Manso said.
Now, the authority faces another hurdle: some $60 million to $70 million in cuts from Washington. If a budget deal continues to escape Congress, Rhea said that cut could triple.
"Those cuts are having a real impact on our ability to continue to meet our objectives for NYCHA residents," he said.
Even with the threat of cuts from Washington, housing authority officials said that reducing the repair backlog is a top priority, and they said they plan to do it before the end of the Bloomberg administration.
Manso said they are on the way.