April 25, 2023 By Bill Parry
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge toured the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City on Monday, April 24, to highlight the need for increased federal funding for capital repairs in public housing.
They walked through a five-bedroom apartment that is now environmentally safe and ready for new tenants to move in following a $65,000 renovation project to upgrade the unit.
Today, we saw many examples of the positive work being done by NYCHA thanks to funding from the Biden Administration and HUD,” Velázquez said. “Despite this progress, public housing developments in New York City and across the country face a backlog of necessary upgrades and repairs. That’s why lawmakers must tackle this problem head-on and allocate more federal funding so public housing authorities have the money they need to update and repair their units.”
Fudge was a colleague of Velázquez in the House representing Ohio until she joined the Biden Administration as HUD Secretary in 2021.
“I am here because people need to know how much we really do care about the work we do,” she said. “People think that they are forgotten, that we don’t see them. Now I know that we can’t change every single thing that needs to be changed, but we’re going to give it our best shot. That’s why I’m here.”
Fudge said she learned plenty during the tour of Queensbridge Houses.
“Good things are happening here. When you can make people feel good about where they live, it says an awful lot,” Fudge said. “I hope we can make this a model for people all across the country. We know there’s a lot of work to do, we know we can’t turn it around overnight and we know that we don’t have enough money to make it what it ought to be but we are working every day to bring more and more resources.”
NYCHA Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt led the tour of Queensbridge, the largest public housing complex in North America. “They say in New York, everything is larger than life and that’s true of our public housing developments as well,” Bova-Hiatt said, adding that Queensbridge will celebrate its 83rd anniversary next month. “Like a person who is 83, a housing complex starts to feel the impacts of age over time. This development would need hundreds of millions of dollars to get it into a state of good repair. The good news is that we’re doing some incredible work here. I am confident the best is yet to come for Queensbridge.”
Velázquez said she and the HUD Secretary would work together to ensure that public housing residents in New York City and across the country can access safe, stable, and dignified places to call home.
When we talk about ending the cycle of poverty, we mean it,” Velázquez said. “By implementing different tools that will empower communities to be able to rise like here in Queensbridge.”
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.