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Directory of NYC Housing Programs

Public Housing (PH)

Public Housing (PH) is constructed, owned, and operated by a public agency. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) owns and manages public housing units, which are currently funded with project-based subsidies from HUD, and in some buildings, with city and state financing. NYCHA is the largest Public Housing Authority (PHA) in the country and is the biggest landlord in New York City with over 175,000 units. NYCHA completed the first public housing project in the nation in 1935, First Houses on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. To finance the project, NYCHA bought the site using a tax-exempt bond authorized by the State of New York. This bond had a 60-year amortization period, which significantly reduced the cost of construction, as did the employment of low-wage relief labor from the Public Works Administration program. However, the financing model would soon change. The nationwide Public Housing program, under which construction flourished in the middle part of the century, was mostly financed with grants for construction and operating subsidies from the federal government.

New York State implemented its own public housing program in 1939. These projects were federalized in 2010, while other projects have been restructured to reduce their need for ongoing subsidies. Federal funding for Public Housing has declined since the 1970s. Under the Obama Administration the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program was established to convert public housing units from Section 9 to Section 8. This enabled needed renovations and capital investments to take place. NYCHA construction peaked in the 1950s and no new units have been constructed since the 1990s.

Program Information Help Icon

  • Supply/Demand: Supply
  • Category: Rental Subsidies and Assistance
  • Scale: Very Large Scale (over 10,000 units)
  • Timeframe: 1935 - Present
  • Occupancy tenure: Rental
  • Construction Type: New Construction, Rehabilitation
  • Building Type: Multi-family
  • Developers/Owners: Government
  • Income Restrictions: Very Low-income, Low-income, Moderate-income

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