New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt today announced that Bronx River Addition will become the second development to hold an official vote to give residents a say in the future of their homes. The voting process — first launched at Nostrand Houses in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn — will provide residents with an opportunity to decide on whether the development should enter the Public Housing Preservation Trust or join the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program, both of which leverage alternative funding streams available through the federal government. Residents can also choose for their development to maintain the traditional public housing financing model and remain Section 9 housing.
Following 100 days of public engagement, a 30-day voting period is expected to run from March 13 to April 11, 2024 — during which time residents may vote online or by mail, or in person during the last 10 days of the voting period. A qualified, independent, third-party administrator will conduct and oversee the election.
“As someone who grew up on the edge of homelessness, I know how important it is to have access to affordable and reliable housing,” said Mayor Adams. “From the start of this administration, we have worked to help NYCHA residents have a seat at the table and a say in the future of their homes. We are thrilled that Bronx River Addition will follow in Nostrand Houses’ footsteps to cast ballots in this historic voting process, and I urge all residents to make their voices heard.”
“Our administration is thrilled to offer Bronx River Addition residents the opportunity to vote on a comprehensive plan to renovate and modernize their homes,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “This is an important decision that will impact families living in NYCHA for generations, and their voices must always be heard. Over the next 100 days, we look forward to hearing directly from residents about which path is right for them.”
“Following the vote at Nostrand, residents of Bronx River Addition will now have their own opportunity to weigh in on the future of their campus through this important and groundbreaking process,” said NYCHA CEO Bova-Hiatt. “Every day, we see the impacts that decades of federal disinvestment have had on public housing developments across the portfolio. We are pleased that, through this voting process, residents will be able to decide how to address the vast and growing needs of their buildings.”
Home to 146 residents from 133 households, Bronx River Addition has an estimated 20-year capital need of $66 million and has dealt with several severe infrastructure issues in recent years that have caused tenants to be relocated in one of its two buildings. NYCHA estimates needing nearly $80 billion for repairs across its portfolio.
The New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust is a public entity established by Mayor Adams and NYCHA in May 2023 and authorized by a law signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul last year following extensive advocacy from the Adams administration and NYCHA. A fully public entity, the Trust is expected to unlock billions of dollars in federal funding for comprehensive renovations at NYCHA developments to improve living conditions for residents. Under the Trust, a development is kept 100 percent public and converted to the more stable, federally funded Project-Based Section 8 program, while ensuring residents always maintain their rights, including permanently affordable rent.
The PACT program similarly transitions developments from traditional Section 9 assistance to Project-Based Section 8 and unlocks funding for designated third-party PACT partners to complete comprehensive repairs.
Since the creation of the Trust last year, Mayor Adams and NYCHA have taken a series of steps to establish a board and release official voting procedures, which were finalized after receiving more than 300 comments from members of the public last fall. Residents of Bronx River Addition, including those who relocated from one of the two buildings who meet all other voting criteria, will be able to participate in the vote. Residents are eligible to vote if they are 18 years or older and part of the household composition. Participation from a minimum threshold of 20 percent of all heads of household is required for a vote to be considered valid and binding. The independent voting administrator will conduct the vote and certify the results. Once the 30-day voting period has ended, votes will be tallied and announced.
“By giving residents at Bronx River Addition the ability to vote on their future is incredibly empowering and gives residents agency over their homes,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Finding ways to support public housing is critically important, and I am pleased that Mayor Adams and NYCHA are looking at new ways to empower our residents. I am optimistic that programs like this can be expanded to provide other NYCHA tenants with a say in the future of their communities. Thank you to Mayor Adams, NYCHA CEO Bova-Hiatt, Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer, Bronx River Tenants Association President Norma Saunders, and all those involved in advancing this housing policy and bringing it to Bronx River Addition.”
“It’s a new day for Bronx River Addition (senior buildings),” said Norma Saunders, president, Bronx River and Bronx River Addition Resident Association. “We have had our share of challenges, but finally, not only are we getting the attention we need and deserve, but the ability to choose the way forward for our homes is in our hands. The residents will be the ones guiding the future of Bronx River Addition.”
“NYCHA has engaged in a trailblazing effort to get residents out to vote at Nostrand Houses,” said David R. Jones, president and CEO, the Community Service Society of New York (CSS). “CSS has supported this historic process for public housing residents to choose their future. We congratulate Bronx River Addition residents on taking this monumental step, and continue to call for the expansion of resident democracy across the entirety of the public housing stock.”