The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office have reportedly selected a federal monitor to oversee NYCHA, as part of an agreement between those agencies for more federal oversight of the ailing housing authority.
According to THE CITY, the monitor will be Bart Schwartz, the chairman of Guidepost Solutions, a private firm that provides “security, investigative, compliance and monitoring leadership” services. Schwartz is a former prosecutor who worked under former mayor Rudy Giuliani when the latter was the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York (SDNY)—the same office that worked with HUD to appoint the federal monitor—and has previously served as a monitor in several other cases. (THE CITY has more on Schwartz’s background and his “strange political bedfellows.”)
The appointment of a federal monitor to oversee NYCHA is the latest development in what has been a rough few years for the housing authority. The agency has been reeling from years of disinvestment, a lack of funding for critical repairs, and a lead paint scandal (and seeming coverup of the problem). Last year, NYCHA even claimed the top spot on then-public advocate Letitia James’s “worst landlords” list, a first for the beleaguered authority.
The appointment of a federal monitor was brokered as part of a larger agreement, reached last month, between the de Blasio administration, HUD, and SDNY to fix NYCHA’s longstanding problems. The monitor will not oversee day-to-day operations, but will hold the agency to strict milestones; they’ll also work with NYCHA to overhaul the agency’s “management, organizational, and workforce structure (including work rules), and overarching policies.” As part of the deal, the city would agree to invest an additional $1 billion into the authority’s crumbling housing over the next four years and $200 million per year after that.
A formal announcement is expected in the coming weeks.