NYCHA’s Rhea visits Marble Hill to discuss cameras, field questions
By Sarina Trangle
The cameras, but after New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair John Rhea finished lauding new security measures at the Marble Hill Houses, he was mobbed with questions about senior center funding, shrubbery and safety concerns.
As Mr. Rhea acknowledged, he does not make it out into public housing communities as frequently as he would like. So there was plenty to discuss when he came to Marble Hill on Oct. 3.
Despite NYCHA pushing back the installation date of security cameras in Marble Hill nearly three-years, Mr. Rhea said he felt the extra time was worthwhile because it allowed the agency to conduct a pilot study in 2010. The research ultimately led to twice as many cameras – 53 – than the budget would have originally bought, according to Mr. Rhea.
“The procurement process is essentially more efficient than it was before,” Mr. Rhea said. “It’s delivering significantly more cameras and the number of people impacted by having a thought-through strategy to deploy money is greater.”
Residents and politicians began questioning NYCHA last year, when Comptroller John Liu reported the agency was sitting on more than $40 million earmarked for security camera installation in public housing and systems that had been installed did not share the same technology, leading to a fractured approach to supervision.
As for repairs promised for Marble Hill when the development was federalized, Mr. Rhea said NYCHA had been clear that it never had sufficient funding to completely rehab Marble Hill and 20 developments ceded to the federal government in 2010.
NYCHA announced that a provision of the federal stimulus package allowed the bankrupted agency to place 21 projects, including Marble Hill, into the care of the federal government. For years, NYCHA diverted money from federally-backed complexes to the 21 developments, contributing to the agency’s deficit and leaving Marble Hill and other communities in disrepair.