Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that he will fight to make sure the state provides an extra $250 million directly to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), in addition to previously-promised funds.
Cuomo made the announcement in East Harlem during his second visit to a NYCHA apartment complex in six days. Before this week, he had not visited NYCHA complexes since becoming governor.
The $250 million for NYCHA in the state budget, if approved, would be in addition to $300 million that the state had already pledged to help the housing authority in 2015. The state has had difficulty releasing some of that $300 million already promised.
Cuomo has previously called out Mayor Bill de Blasio for what he called a lack of leadership in NYCHA.
"Even though the state has no financial responsibility, I am going to fight for another $250 million for NYCHA residents because I want to say to this federal government and this city government: 'It's time to lead,'" Cuomo said at a press conference outside the NYCHA complex he toured.
"What we have at City Hall is not a poverty of resources," Bronx City Councilman Ritchie Torres said at the press conference. "What we have at City Hall is a poverty of leadership, and a poverty of political will."
Cuomo said he will push for the money to be a part of the upcoming state budget, which is due by April, but it is not guaranteed to happen, as the state legislature must approve the allocation.
Republicans in the State Senate have been reluctant to do things for the city because of negative feelings towards Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The funds are also contingent on bringing in a private sector contractor to do the needed repairs.
In a meeting with city council members this week in Albany, Cuomo floated private companies, Bovis and Tishman Speyer, for the job — both of which are major Cuomo donors.
It all rests on Cuomo securing his priorities in this year's state budget.
"The serious budget conversations are going to start this week," the governor said. "I have a meeting, actually, tomorrow night, and there are a number of items that I need included since I did the budget, that I'm going to be talking to them about. This is one of them."
In a response to the governor's announcement, de Blasio said in a statement, "If the State matches the City's recent 200 million investment in NYCHA, it would be a major win for tenants. This is precisely what we've been seeking for months. We sincerely hope the Governor follows through on this new promise, delivers on last year's funding, and gives NYCHA the authority it needs to speed up major repairs."
Cuomo's visit and announcement comes at a time when he and de Blasio are feuding over the crisis in the city's public housing.
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who did not attend the tour Saturday, has found himself walking a tightrope on the issue.
Broken boilers left many NYCHA residents in the cold this winter. The mayor announced earlier this month that the city will expedite repairs.
The chair of the housing authority is also under fire for signing paperwork certifying that apartments underwent lead paint inspections over a four-year period, when they did not.