New Yorkers don’t often agree on much, but a majority of those recently surveyed believe Mayor Bill de Blasio is doing a poor job of handling housing issues, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
The poll, which surveyed 955 city voters from Thursday to Tuesday, found that 60 percent of people disapprove of the mayor’s management of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), while 20 percent approve. Voters’ attitudes toward the mayor on NYCHA were nearly equal among various demographics as well as by borough, with Republicans most fiercely taking exception at 72 percent disapproval.
The beleaguered city agency has recently faced severe criticism, as well as several lawsuits, for its response to heating problems, a lead paint scandal involving NYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatoye, and complaints of thorough dilapidation being raised by the likes of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
While de Blasio has stood by Olatoye regarding revelations that false paperwork was filed certifying lead-based paint inspections had taken place when the apartments had never actually been checked, he has taken steps to try to address the boiler and heating issues plaguing NYCHA developments — though some housing advocates have argued the increased funding is not enough. The mayor also snapped back at Cuomo, whom he often feuds with over state-city issues, for his recent comments about the poor state of NYCHA apartments by asking the governor for the $300 million the state promised the city for public housing improvements over the past two years.
However, NYCHA isn’t the only housing issue that New Yorkers are unhappy with. Voters also disapprove — 56 percent to 31 percent — of the mayor’s handling of affordable housing for low- and middle-income New Yorkers. Bronx residents most strongly condemned de Blasio on affordable housing at 68 percent, per the Quinnipiac poll.
Some housing advocates, however, take issue with what the city deems affordable for low-income New Yorkers, while others have called on de Blasio to close rent-law loopholes they argue are contributing to the housing crisis.
De Blasio’s deputy press secretary, Melissa Grace, pointed to several achievements on the mayor’s record in her response to the poll Wednesday.
“We’ve seen successive rent freezes for 2.5 million New York tenants, made sure families facing eviction from their home have a lawyer, created the most affordable housing in city history and invested more funds in NYHCA than any prior administration,” Grace said in an emailed statement. “We stand by this record and seek to do much more.”
With Matthew Chayes