Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson is up in arms about the New York City Housing Authority’s plan to lease unused space and playgrounds in public housing complexes to developers of luxury housing. In a statement released this afternoon, Mr. Thompson described the plan as a “wrongheaded move” that goes against the purpose of NYCHA.
“NYCHA was created to provide housing to low and moderate income New Yorkers, not to play Monopoly with financiers so they can build more high priced apartments in the city,” Mr. Thompson said. “Furthermore, this wrongheaded move comes at a time when more and more poor and working families are being priced out of the City.”
Mr. Thompson also blamed Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the plan, which he described as “yet another example of the mayor’s failure on housing.” If he is elected, Mr. Thompson has promised to make the mayor’s office directly responsible for appointments to the NYCHA board. His campaign has claimed this would remove the “plausible deniability to the mayor when housing policy goes south” that exists under the current system.
“When I’m mayor, I will use my strong experience in the public and private sectors to lead the way on housing, not dodge accountability by hiding behind NYCHA’s bureaucracy,” said Mr. Thompson. “I will overhaul NYCHA’s board and make the Office of the Mayor responsible for appointing qualified board members that appreciate the true mission of NYCHA.”