Dear MHACY Residents,
When I first started at MHACY in January 2007, I was 61 and planned to stay about three to five years and then retire. Instead, I have stayed thirteen years. Obviously, I found MHACY a good place to work. I have especially enjoyed my relationship with you, the residents. I have tried to attend every Resident Advisory Board meeting that I could. I have attended local resident council meetings at every site as often as I could. And I think our relationship has paid off. We have been able to successfully stage the redevelopment of Cottage Gardens so that many residents were able to move directly from their old unit to one of the new units. But more importantly, when we embarked on the conversion of our public housing units to project based voucher units, we did not experience the opposition and disruption that occurred at many other housing authorities.
And look what we accomplished. With your support, the Authority was able to obtain almost $500 million in funding to rehabilitate every single apartment. Yes, we at last have obtained funding for Calcagno and Loehr. Work will begin there once the present emergency subsides. This means that by the end of next year all of our 1,800 units not in Cottage will have been rehabilitated. And remember, work only started in December of 2017 (our first closing was in November 2017). Further, when phase four at Cottage is completed later this year, there will be more units at Cottage than were on site before the redevelopment started, 350 (290 new and 56 old) compared with the 256 apartments we had at the beginning.
I want to thank the staff who had to carry out all the new initiatives and changes. It is really difficult to work in a constantly changing environment. But people work at a housing authority not just because it pays well, but because they feel good knowing that they are helping people who need help.
I also want to thank my Board of Commissioners. I have served under three chairman, former police chief Don Christopher, former judge, Mike Doran and now Jim Landy. This Board took a great leap of faith by supporting the conversion to project-based vouchers at a time when few authorities were doing so. It took strength of character and a real commitment to our residents.
Much of our success is due to the strong support we have had from Mayor Mike Spano and the Yonkers City Council. City agencies processed our requests quickly because they knew the Mayor was committed to our success. And a special shoutout to Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Shelley Mayer who helped with the funding.
Lastly, I want to welcome our new President and CEO Wilson Kimball and congratulate our Deputy Executive Director Carlos Laboy on his new position as Chief Operating Officer. Please extend to them both the warmth and support you have shown me. With that support, I know they will be successful.
Joseph Shuldiner, Executive Director, MHACY