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The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), created by urbanist Charles Abrams, provides public housing for low and moderate income residents throughout the five boroughs of New York Citymarker. NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. Many of its facilities are known popularly as "projects," or "developments" and are associated with poverty and crime. As a security measure, these premises are patrolled by the NYPD Housing Bureau, with a total of 9 "PSA's," or Police Service Areas that patrol each borough except Staten Island which has a separate unit from the Housing Bureau command known as the "SIHU" or Staten Island Housing Unit.

NYCHA was created in 1934. At the end of 1935, NYCHA dedicated its first development, called First Houses, located on the Lower East Sidemarker of Manhattanmarker. The Authority boomed in partnership with Robert Moses after World War II as a part of Moses' plan to clear old tenements and remake New York as a modern city. The majority of NYCHA developments were built between 1945 and 1965. Unlike most cities, New York depended heavily on city and state funds to build its housing, rather than just the federal government. Most of these postwar developments had over 1000 apartment units each and most were built in the modernist, tower-in-the-park style popular at the time.

The Authority is the largest public housing authority (PHA) in North America and in spite of many problems is still considered by experts to be the most successful big-city public housing authority in the country. Whereas most large public housing authorities in the United States (Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, etc.) have demolished their high-rise projects, New York's continue to be fully occupied. New York also maintains a long waiting list for its apartments. Because of demand, it has, in recent years, selected more "working families" in a bid to diversify the income structure of its housing. NYCHA's Conventional Public Housing Program has 181,581 apartments (as of July 20, 2005) in 345 developments throughout the city.

NYCHA has approximately 13,000 employees serving about 175,116 families and approximately 417,328 authorized residents. Based upon the 2000 Census, NYCHA's Public Housing represents 8.6% of the city's rental apartments and is home to 5.2% of the city’s population. NYCHA residents and Section 8 voucher holders combined occupy 12.7% of the city's rental apartments.In mid-2007, NYCHA faced a $225 million budget shortfall.

NYCHA Buildings

Manhattan (Neighborhood)

Highrise public housing tower in Harlem
Chelsea Elliot Houses
Washington Heights

Bronx (Neighborhood/Police Precinct)

Grafftiti on a wall of the Monroe Houses in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
The Millbrook Houses define the skyline of the Mott Haven section of Bronx.


Coney Island Houses
Cooper Park Houses
Ingersoll Houses, Ft Greene
Lafayette Houses
Marlboro Houses, Gravesend
Dusk in Sheepshead Houses
NYCHA, Sheepshead Houses
NYCHA houses in Canarsie
Unity Tower, Coney Island


The Queensbridge Houses
Police investigate the murder of rapper Stack Bundles in the Redfern Houses of Far Rockaway.

Staten Island

Social Problems From Crime To Decay

Elevator in Harlem damaged by fire
Like many other large low income housing authorities across America, many NYCHA developments have experienced social problems associated with poverty and such as vandalism of building facades, drug dealing, domestic violence and unsanitary conditions such as the disposal of garbage and defecating and urinating In the stairwells and elevators. Originally planned as temporary housing for working class families, many current residents have resided in the same developments for generations. The welfare population in NYCHA has recently dropped to under fifteen percent of families (a figure significantly lower than public housing in other American cities).

New York's public housing has been better managed than that in other cities, but poor maintenance, and vandalism have taken a toll on many developments over the decades. Most buildings are now nearing the end of their planned life expectancy (most were built to last fifty years), and over six billion dollars have been spent on renovation over the last decade. Major renovations included the replacement of over 1,000 elevators and repainting of hundreds of buildings. NYCHA also operates a central call center for repairs that has significantly speeded up apartment repairs. There remains much to do and in light of the continuing financial problems of the Authority there is some doubt if the necessary repairs across the system will be achievable. NYCHA has no plans to shut down its public housing projects due to a shortage of affordable housing, but a notable decline in building operations may come to pass if financial problems persist.


  • The Brownsville section of Brooklynmarker has the highest concentration of low income public housing in America.
  • The Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, Queens, is North America's largest housing project with 3,142 apartments.
  • The Bronx's largest development is Edenwald Houses in Edenwald with 2,036 apartments.
  • Brooklyn's largest development is Red Hook Houses in Red Hook with 2,878 apartments.
  • Manhattan's largest development is Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side with 2,391 apartments
  • Staten Island's largest development is Stapleton Houses with 693 apartments.

  • Staten Island has 10 developments with 4,431 apartments
  • Queens has 26 developments with 17,500 apartments
  • The Bronx has 98 developments with 44,179 apartments
  • Brooklyn has 100 developments with 58,334 apartments
  • Manhattan has 103 developments with 53,830 apartments

  • 6 developments consisting of FHA Acquired Homes are located in more than one borough and total 192 apartments
  • 42 developments are for seniors only; 15 seniors-only buildings exist within mixed-population developments
  • NYCHA has more than 10,000 apartments designated for seniors only
  • There also are 7,639 retrofitted apartments for families of persons who are mobility impaired as of September 30, 2007

As of October 1, 2007: Two developments are at least 70 years old; a total of 13 developments are at least 60 years old; there are 62 developments 50 to 59 years old; another 76 developments are 40 to 49 years old, and 95 developments are 30 to 39 years old.

Notable Residents

See also


External links

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