By Patrick Donachie
Ocean Bay Apartments, a NYCHA development in the Rockaways, will benefit from more than $200 million in state-issued bonds to pay for necessary repairs, including new roofs, heating systems, elevators and security systems.
The repairs for Ocean Bay are the first phase in the city’s Permanent Affordability Commitment Together Program, which implements the federal government’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program to ensure that NYCHA retains ownership of the Ocean Bay properties and that they remain affordable.
City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Arverne) said the repairs are long overdue and lauded the federal program that spurred them.
“For years, residents have complained to our office about deteriorating and crumbling infrastructure due to declining investment in public housing,” Richards said. “RAD will finally address these longstanding issues, while also creating economic opportunities for local residents in the Rockaways.”
Ocean Bay Apartments in Arverne is home to more than 3,700 residents in 24 different buildings. It was constructed in the early 1960s and suffered extensive damage in Hurricane Sandy, according to NYCHA. The agency said the buildings needed a full upgrade of elevator machinery as well as new boilers and heating systems. Each unit would be renovated to repair kitchens and bathrooms.
The state-issued bonds were agreed upon in a last-minute session Dec. 28 held by the three-person Public Authorities Control Board. NYCHA first applied to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for funding in 2013, and the agreement granted NYCHA a $43 million immediate allocation, which meant it would not have an operating deficit at the close of the year.
“As someone who was literally born in public housing, I know firsthand how critically important these apartments are to thousands of New Yorkers who need an affordable place to live,” said state Sen. James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park). “I commend NYCHA for its diligence in finding new funding sources to supplement its budget and working with the federal government to facilitate this public-private partnership.”
NYCHA said that without this outside funding, the repairs would have had to be done piecemeal as the agency could only afford them as part of its regular annual budget — a process that would take as long as 20 years. However, the new funding means all new construction and repairs should be complete within three years.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona