Peoples-Stokes will shape housing legislation this session

The newly ascendant Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes is expected to play a key role in housing legislation that is expected early this session.

Agencies like the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, have suffered from longstanding mismanagement and neglect, causing deplorable living conditions.

To address all of NYCHA’s needed repairs — including lead paint removal — would cost around $30 billion.  Some say that feat would be politically implausible, but with Democratic majorities in both chambers, it looks like an increasingly likely expenditure.

NYCHA controls 177,000 apartment units, which some have pegged at $109 billion in liquidation value.

Here in Western New York, BMHA manages 28,000 units inside the City of Buffalo. Common Council President Darius Pridgen estimated that needed repairs will cost at least $1 billion.  Others have called that a conservative estimate, given the depth of disrepair at some complexes.

It’s unclear how Peoples-Stokes intends to shape the housing legislation.

Some Republicans would like to raise $50 billion in investment capital for the system through managed liquidation of the agency’s vast real estate holdings in Manhattan.  That capital could be used to fund $30 billion in NYCHA modernizations in the outer boroughs, with the remaining $20 billion used to build new affordable housing units and to relocate displaced tenants.

Some political operatives postulate that Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie may support liquidating NYCHA holdings — at least in Lower Manhattan where real estate valuations are highest — if those revenues are invested in the outer boroughs.

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