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Queens Chronicle

NYCHA launches new data webpage

To promote transparency, public housing authority creates dashboard

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:51 am, Thu Aug 7, 2014.

The New York City Housing Authority is attempting to create greater transparency when it comes to work orders and vacancies.

The agency, which oversees just under 180,000 units, launched NYCHA Metrics, a webpage that will provide information on the number of open work orders, wait times for routine repairs, vacancy rates and more.

The page is expected to be updated monthly.

“We’re sharing our data month to month and building more trust day by day,” NYCHA Chairwoman and CEO Shola Olatoye said.

The site was launched on July 21, and is considered by some NYCHA residents as a step in the right direction.

“I have to say bravo, but also, it’s about time,” Shanice, a resident of the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, said. “I’m glad the communication is there now and hopefully they’ll be more open than the past.”

During the Bloomberg administration, NYCHA was heavily criticized by residents and community advocates.

During the mayoral race, every candidate was invited by Rev. Al Sharpton to stay in the home of a public housing resident in the Bronx to experience the day-to-day struggles and witness firsthand how work order backlogs and a lack of communication can deeply affect people.

When Mayor de Blasio entered office, he replaced much of the NYCHA board with new people, including Olatoye, in hopes that the new leadership would restore residents’ faith in the agency.

“I do have to say, I’ve noticed little things here and there that I’m liking,” one Ravenswood resident, who would not provide his name, said. “They’re putting themselves out there, which is good. I’m not going to lie though, it’s still the projects, but it’s getting better.”

The NYCHA Metrics page already boasts a dramatic reduction in maintenance wait time from 129 days last year to 4 days.

In addition, fewer work orders are being submitted. According to NYCHA, there were 81,487 orders filed in June 2014, compared to 422,639 open work orders in Jan. 2013.

However, the wait list for public housing is still long. Nearly 250,000 households are on the wait list for public housing and approximately 98.3 percent of available units are occupied.

According to Olatoye’s office, NYCHA plans to add more features to the data dashboard as time goes on in order to “help residents, and all New Yorkers, learn more about NYCHA.”

“Making NYCHA more transparent is one essential part of my customer service-focused agenda which also includes greater accountability,” Olatoye said. “We’re accountable to our hundreds of thousands of residents who can now see our progress as a landlord and to the general public that can now gain a better perspective on NYCHA’s integral role in New York City.”

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