On Tuesday, October 12, 2021, Monitor Team Member Joseph Jaffe and Resident Engagement Monitoring Team Leader Asha Muldro hosted the 13th Meeting of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) via Zoom. A recording of the meeting is available on the NYCHA Monitor’s YouTube channel.

Ms. Muldro began the meeting announcing a new meeting format focused on suggestions and recommendations to solve select key issues.

During his opening remarks, Mr. Jaffe highlighted key items from Mr. Schwartz’s recently issued quarterly report letter. He noted the Monitor’s optimism about developments happening at the city, state and federal levels that will impact NYCHA including the installment of a new New York City Mayor in January; Mr. Schwartz’s meeting with the new Lieutenant Governor of New York State, Brian Benjamin, and the funding available in the federal infrastructure bill that is making its way through Congress. The Report also discussed the steps forward NYCHA has taken to improve its operations; but commented on the systematic breakdowns that still exist and need improvement such as better staff management and training, developing enhanced data collection methods, improving communications with residents, and fostering a culture of integrity amongst staff. The monitoring team is committed to continuing to work with NYCHA on these key areas.

Council Member and Committee on Public Housing Chair, Alicka Ampry-Samuel provided an update on the Public Housing Committee’s hearing held earlier that morning. Highlights included analyzing benchmarks in process from NYCHA’s Heat Action Plan; as well as improvements in NYCHA’s heat restoration time and decrease in heat outages as a result of planned maintenance schedules and NYCHA’s ability to monitor heating and water temperatures in real-time using sensors.

CAC members provided input to improve NYCHA’s winter readiness and preparedness. Key recommendations included boiler inspections, checking pipes, educating residents on the proper use of sensors, and encouraging residents to utilize the MyNycha App to report outages.

The CAC then focused on the topic of tracking development funding from local politicians. Suggestions were made to utilize a tracker similar to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Capital Project Tracker; address procurement issues; and have resident leaders develop a plan, with bids, detailing how their funds will be expended.

Next, the CAC tackled the issues community center leaders experience when contacting NYCHA’s Community Call Center (CCC) for urgent requests. Recommendations were made to provide CCC operators with data identifying community centers and with a tailored script to escalate an issue in a timely manner.

Providing better mental health services to residents was also addressed as a topic.  NYCHA’s Nancy Ortiz is spearheading plans to conduct roundtables at developments and provide mental health help training that incorporates role playing based on real instances and experiences. Senior Advisor of Housing and Economic Development at the New York City Mayor’s Office, Katherine Brennan announced that the Mayor’s Office has connected with THRIVE, a group that provides mental health services/access, and is working on getting these resources to residents.

The final meeting topic focused on safety and security concerns. Ms. Brennan provided a safety update that included a collaboration with the New York City Police Department to review acts of violence and shootings to determine where they can be proactive. NYCHA has a new chief of security and is working on new initiatives.

Ms. Muldro closed the meeting by thanking all the members for their contributions. The next CAC meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021, and will continue in this new format. Please visit the nychmonitor.com website for more details.