Assistant Secretary Sandra Henriquez Discusses the Future of Public Housing at NYC Panel
Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, Sandra Henriquez, attended a recent forum on "How Private Should Public Housing Go?" hosted by New York University's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy and the Moelis Institute for Affordable Housing Policy in lower Manhattan. The Furman Center regularly hosts policy breakfast on a wide range of social, economic, housing, and urban affairs issues. This was the second policy breakfast in its fall policy breakfast series. In addition to Ms. Henriquez, other panelists included Richard Baron, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCormack Baron Salazar; Paul Graziano, Executive Director of the Baltimore Housing Authority and Commissioner of the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development; and, Mary Pattillo, Harold Washington Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University. Ingrid Gould Ellen, Co-Director of the Furman Center, moderated the discussion.
The discussion focused on innovative steps the public sector is taking to preserve public housing, and what should be the role of the private sector in this effort. The panelists recognized that the hostile climate in Washington, D.C. is posing challenges to preserve operational and capital funding for public housing across the country. As such, the panelists discussed the pros and cons of private financing and private management of public housing and whether these types of public-private partnerships are essential for preserving public housing and, if so, how to structure them so they do not undermine the very foundation of public housing. As one specific example, the New York City Housing Authority has seen a reduction of $700 million in federal operating assistance since 2002. If NYCHA does not generate new revenue, NYCHA projects a $13 billion capital shortfall through 2017. In considering ways that NYCHA could raise revenue, it is proposing to lease land on 14 sites across eight developments in Manhattan for private, mixed-income development. NYCHA's proposal brought forth a lively discussion on whether such an action would hurt or help its residents.