Brooklyn’s Nostrand Houses officially became the first New York City Housing Authority development to join the “NYCHA Public Housing Preservation Trust” with a certification of the complex’s vote to opt into the entity on Friday.
Mayor Eric Adams announced the campus officially joining the trust, which is designed to unlock billions of federal dollars for making major renovations across the city’s crumbling public housing stock, during a news conference at City Hall on Dec. 15.
“With the certification of voting results, residents at Nostrand Houses made history and voted to enter the Public Housing Preservation Trust,” the mayor said. “The vote was about the lives of working people and for the first time gave NYCHA residents a voice in what happens to their homes.”
The trust is a city-owned public benefit corporation established through state legislation that passed last year — it has the power to borrow money by issuing bonds. It will allow NYCHA developments that join access to billions of dollars by converting from the federal Section 9 subsidy program to Section 8.
“Anyone who has walked through NYCHA … you look at the cabinets, you look at the peeling paint, you look at the dilapidated floors,” Adams said. “You look at these conditions to state that it’s not fair and it’s not right and we need to get something done.”
Proponents of the trust say it also sets new procurement rules that will make repairs cheaper and move more quickly. Additionally, it will allow NYCHA to maintain ownership of its developments and the land they sit on.
The trust is also designed to preserve current rents for NYCHA residents — who pay no more than 30% of their income on rent, succession rights and citywide and local tenant associations.
The Nostrand Houses vote results included participation from 808 residents of the 1,150 apartment, 16 building, campus in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn. Of those residents who voted, 464 voted in favor of entering the trust, 172 voted to stay in Section 9 housing and 163 voted to enter the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program — another program designed to convert NYCHA units to Section 8.
The voting process took place over a 30-day period from Nov. 8 through Dec. 7.
Lucy Newman, Supervising Attorney of the Public Housing Unit at The Legal Aid Society, applauded the vote results in a Friday statement.
“Today is a historic day for the residents of Nostrand Houses, who have voted to join the Housing Preservation Trust, providing them leverage in deciding the future of their homes,” Newman said.
The residents of NYCHA’s Bronx River Addition development will be the next to vote on the trust over a 30-day period from March 13 to April 11 of next year, according to City Hall.
However, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer said the actual work to upgrade Nostrand Houses will not start until 2026.
“In the meantime, the work that we’re going to continue to do, that NYCHA is going to continue to do, with the residents of Nostrand Houses includes the work to prepare the conversion from Section 9 to Section 8, a release of an RFP (request for proposals) for the vendors to do the work, really finalizing scoping for the project,” Torres-Springer said. “So, all of that will start immediately and by 2026, the repairs will start.”