As the U.S. economy continues its slow rise back to where we were before the crash of 2008, many government-run organizations are facing continued cuts to funding. Public housing is one of those organizations, that has had severe cutbacks forced on them, but many are rising to the occasion and working to make themselves more efficient. New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides housing, programs, and services to nearly half a million people in the Big Apple, and is taking funding cuts head on.
“As NYCHA continues to grapple with Federal budget cuts, we will seek innovative new financing structures to best leverage available funding,” said Emily Youssouf, who is the Vice Chair for NYCHA. For the last ten years, NYCHA has been allotted less than $700 million in operating subsidies.
Many of NYCHA’s buildings are 40+ years old and in need of additional funding for repairs or general maintenance, but there is a capital shortfall of about $13 billion through 2015. That means that NYCHA must do what it can to make itself more efficient and self-sustaining without the subsidies they need.
Residents of NYCHA have also come to recognize and rely on the valuable educational, community, and social service programs that are offered. Only about 16% of the cost of these programs is funded by grants, meaning NYCHA is left with the remaining $63 million in operating costs. Because these programs are so valuable to residents, NYCHA has continued operating them and has found ways to do so without receiving all the capital they need.
Other housing authorities across the country face similar problems to NYCHA’s. Following Emily Youssouf’s advice of becoming more innovative and using resources wisely is something that should be heavily considered in other struggling public housing organizations. The road ahead for these government programs is long, but certainly not impossible.