The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced last week that Independence Towers and Williams Plaza in Williamsburg will undergo renovations as part of the authority’s Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program.
According to NYCHA, Independence Towers is in need of $66 million in repairs, while Williams Plaza needs $90 million for fixes. Nearly 1,100 families live in the complexes.
“This community engagement period is an important step as we are committed to ensuring advocates, partners and residents understand how new public-private partnerships will help us create permanently affordable housing for future generations,” said NYCHA chair Shola Olatoye in a statement.
The two developments were built in 1960 and run by New York State for nearly four decades. The properties were transferred to NYCHA ownership in 1998.
Due to state “disinvestment from public housing,” NYCHA officials say they had to stretch its federal operating funds across 3,000 apartments.
Through the PACT program, public housing apartments will get new kitchens, apartment interiors, roof replacements, facade repairs and other security features.
Residents will not pay more than 30 percent of their income toward rent, NYCHA officials said.
But to fund the repairs, NYCHA will enter a long-term ground lease with private developers, who will manage the developments. NYCHA will continue to own the land.
Elected officials said in statements that they will monitor the situation to ensure the units remain affordable for the long term, and that residents are included in the process.
“What is most important in implementing the program is the inclusion of tenants and tenant organizations in the process so the Housing Authority chooses new management who understands the local community and commits to being a partner,” said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol.
Joel Gross, president of the Williams Plaza Association, said he will work to ensure rents will not rise and that no residents lose their apartments.
“We will make sure that all residents will have full knowledge and all their questions will be answered,” he said in a statement. “We will make sure all senior citizens and disabled residents will be protected.”