The investment was made possible through the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT) program, which is New York City's implementation of the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, which was created by the Obama administration in 2011.
The Ocean Bay Houses are the first in New York City to utilize the program.
In New York State, PACT converts the housing to the state’s Section 8 program to allow for private investment, although New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) maintains a 50 percent ownership stake.
“HUD’s RAD program spurs private investment in public housing, providing funds to preserve and upgrade this critical housing stock that is home to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers across the state,” said New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas.
Residents will continue to pay 30 percent of their income towards rent and maintain the same rights they possessed when the Ocean Bay houses were under the purview of NYCHA.
RDC Development, which is comprised of MDG Design and Construction, Wavecrest Management Team, Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, and Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, will sign a long-term lease and manage the day-to-day operations of the property.
In addition to the renovations, through nonprofit partnerships there will be a wide range of tailored programs for residents, such as senior programs, job training and a young adult paid internship program.
After Hurricane Sandy, the Ocean Bay Houses were devastated. To ensure longterm sustainability, work will include 11-foot walls to protect against storm surges from Jamaica Bay.
Each building will have a rooftop boiler to better protect the infrastructure from flood waters. Work is expected to be completed in December 2019.
NYCHA CEO Shola Olatoye said partnerships like the one at Ocean Bay Houses are the only way the agency can fight 30 years of disinvestment and an $18 billion deficit.
Congressman Gregory Meeks, a product of public housing, hopes all levels of government can come up with creative solutions like the RAD program to improve the quality of life for public housing residents.
“You can’t fix apartments unless you have the money to do it, and if NYCHA doesn’t have the money to do it, it is a problem,” he said.