Public housing’s future

Housing Brass Tacks is an informal discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in housing policy and development.

May 8, 2017
7:00 p.m.

New York City’s public housing agency owns and manages 2,547 buildings across 326 developments with 178,000 homes and about 500,000 residents—more than the population of Atlanta. With responsibility for more than 8% of New York City’s rental market, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is the largest landlord in North America.

Public housing is a critical public asset that provides vital affordability in a city with soaring rents and a tight rental market. The average income of NYCHA residents is $23,300, and NYCHA units comprise 51% of the apartments renting for under $800 a month. Yet, strained by its sheer enormity and decades of public disinvestment, NYCHA faces grave threats. The authority has $17 billion in unmet capital needs in order to repair and maintain its aging building stock, leaving many residents to live in substandard or even dangerous conditions—with much deeper federal funding cuts imminent.

In our seventh Brass Tacks discussion, Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, the President of the Fund for Public Housing, will detail public housing’s unique role in the city and the current challenges NYCHA faces. She will focus on the roles of NextGen NYCHA, the agency’s ten-year strategic plan, and the Fund for Public Housing, a newly-created autonomous not-for-profit established to mobilize private sector investments toward addressing these threats in creative new ways.

Ample time for conversation will follow Rasmia’s presentation. You bring the questions, we’ll supply the experts and the wine.

Rasmia Kirmani-Frye is the President of the Fund for Public Housing. She was appointed Director, Office of Public/Private Partnerships for NYCHA in March 2015 and continues in that role. When the Fund for Public Housing incorporated in August 2015, Rasmia became its founding President. Prior to joining NYCHA, Rasmia served as Director of The Brownsville Partnership, an initiative of the national not-for-profit organization Community Solutions. Rasmia began her career in New York City at the Times Square Business Improvement District. She holds a Master’s of Public Policy from the New School, where she is currently a doctoral candidate.

About Housing Brass Tacks

Understanding housing policy, finance, and regulation is daunting. One must wade through a sea of acronyms, untangle public and private interests, trace knotty financial flows, and decrypt complex bureaucracies. Making heads or tails of all this can take a lifetime, but the need to understand is urgent. We all feel New York City’s housing squeeze; increased affordable housing is a centerpiece of our mayor’s agenda; and sweeping changes in housing and community development policy may soon come at the federal level. The Architectural League is here to introduce (or refresh) our housing proficiency. Housing Brass Tacks is an informal discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in housing policy and development. We’re getting down to brass tacks: the fundamentals that structure this unwieldy topic.