Almost four years ago, the mayor and the then-head of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) unveiled a new rescue plan for the struggling agency.

"I can tell you: NextGeneration NYCHA, this is a game-changer," the mayor said at a 2015 news conference. "It's a 10-year plan to transform the Housing Authority."

As part of the blueprint, NYCHA would create a new nonprofit arm to raise money to improve services for residents. In three years, the fund aimed to raise $200 million.

"We created the Fund for Public Housing, which is our social innovation hub that is investing in people, place, and work," former NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye said at a 2018 news conference.

NY1 reviewed the fund's tax documents and found the nonprofit never even came close to reaching its goal.

In 2017, the fund raised $436,090. Its ending balance for that year? It was in the red: -$213,358.

According to the Housing Authority, as of the end of 2018, the fund had raised $1,829,259 since it was founded.

Its ending balance as of October? It was -$46,111 in the hole.

The Fund for Public Housing is currently without a president. Rasmia Kirmani-Frye left the job at the end of last year.

Jennifer Jones Austin is one of the founding board members. "They didn't raise anywhere near $200 million. But I think we need to appreciate that the money that they did raise they sought to put it to good use," Austin said.

Those close to the fund argue that even without millions of dollars, it did some good work. It did get holiday gifts for kids, and secured funding for tax prep services for residents.

We know it helped build two playgrounds: one at a development in Queens and another at a development in Brooklyn.

Tax forms show the group created youth councils and awarded scholarships to go towards college.

"In its first three years, the greatest impact really was in stating to the community, the residents of NYCHA, that there was a fund that was interested in figuring out how to strengthen people's opportunities, to focus on education, development and workforce," Austin said.

In a statement, the head of NYCHA told us that the agency is proud of the work the fund did, and officials are looking for more private funds to improve the lives of public housing residents.


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