Housing Authorities Like NYCHA Should Have ABO Oversight. Bill Step in Right Direction


Reinvent Albany urges the legislature to draft and pass new legislation that requires housing authorities, including NYCHA, to disclose their activities to the NYS Authorities Budget Office. We find it inconsistent that local authorities like NYC Health and Hospitals and NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) are subject to ABO oversight, but NYCHA is not. Today we are again issuing a memo of support for S1081 (Comrie) / A2229 (Hyndman), which requires NYCHA to report details of its state-funded spending to the ABO.

S1081 (Comrie) / A2229 (Hyndman)
Requires Municipal Housing Authorities (including NYCHA)
to Report Use of State Funding to the Authorities Budget Office

An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to creating annual reporting obligations by municipal housing authorities to the authorities budget office with respect to state-funded activities of such municipal housing authorities.

Section 1 requires municipal housing authorities to submit to the Authorities Budget Office (ABO) operating and capital budget information regarding estimated receipts and  expenditures for the next and current fiscal year, and the actual receipts and expenditures for the last completed fiscal year for all projects and activities funded in whole or in part by the State.

Section 2 sets the effective date as immediate.

Reinvent Albany supports this legislation because it would increase accountability and transparency of municipal housing authorities, bringing their disclosure requirements more in line with other state and local authorities. The Authorities Budget Office publishes budget information for a number of state and local authorities on their website, which is available for stakeholders and the general public to review. We see no reason that municipal housing authorities should be exempt from this requirement. This legislation would require reporting by municipal housing authorities to the ABO on projects funded in whole or part by the state.

Local housing authorities serve more than 528,000 residents in NYC alone through NYCHA’s public housing and Section 8 programs. NYCHA is currently facing a fiscal crisis, and has suffered from decades of neglect and mismanagement so egregious that the authority was placed under the eye of a federal monitor

We support this legislation as an important step forward toward better understanding how state funds are being managed by municipal housing authorities. We urge the Legislature to ensure that municipal housing authorities like NYCHA have proper oversight and accountability to residents and the public by considering whether full NYS Public Authorities Law requirements should be extended to housing authorities like NYCHA.

Click here to view the memo as a PDF.