NYC's public housing woes: what exactly is going on, at issue

The "endemic character of [its] collapse."

That is the central point underscored in a recent New York Magazine article chronicling the deep and documented woes of the New York City Housing Authority. The NYCHA is charged with operating and maintaining the nation's largest public housing program. The authority plays a critically important role in the lives of hundreds of thousands of lower- and moderate-income metro residents.

By virtually every measuring stick, its performance can be judged faulty.

And blame is aimed at a number of specific individuals and entities that in turn deflect it further toward additional third parties. The above article notes that prominent recipients of criticism "have a fondness for blaming culprits ... for those ills that have befallen entities they effectively control."

State officials in Albany fault city management of the vast program. The NYC Office of the Mayor counters with verbal jabs that slam state government for withholding promised NYCHA funding. And virtually everyone spotlighted for mismanagement points an accusatory finger at the feds. They routinely stress that the singular size and nature of the NYCHA make it imperative that national support help keep the program afloat and viable.

Viability is unquestionably being challenged in a most dire way, with New York Magazine noting "no end in sight to New York City's public housing crisis." Reportedly, the NYCHA badly needs a stunning $32 billion or so to attend to multiple matters that are in arrears.

We will take a more detailed look at NYCHA's pressing problems in our next blog post.

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