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In a letter to the agency’s Interim Chair & CEO Stanley Brezenoff, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is proposing that each non-resident member of the city’s public housing board of directors spend a week living in a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartment inorder to get a first-hand look at the problems tenants face within their developments.

“The leadership of our city’s public housing must have hands-on experience with the issues tenants face at all times of the day,” writes Borough President Diaz in the letter. “To that end, I am calling on each non-resident member of your agency’s board of directors to spend one full week living in a NYCHA apartment.”

Borough President Diaz notes in the letter that during his early childhood years he lived in NYCHA’s Moore Houses in Mott Haven, and later spent a great deal of his teenage years in the former Bronxdale Houses in Soundview. Throughout his more than two decades in public service he has worked to improve the lives of NYCHA tenants, first in the New York State Assembly and now as Bronx Borough President.

However, the borough president noted that even the most strenuous advocacy can be met with resistance from NYCHA’s leadership, and suggested that a more hands-on approach by NYCHA board members would serve the city’s more than 400,000 public housing residents well.

“I know exactly what it means to live in a NYCHA apartment,” said Borough President Diaz. “Perhaps if the leadership of NYCHA was required to spend one week living in a public housing development and saw the issues faced by tenants as part of an extended, more intimate, first-hand experience they might not be so quick to dismiss such (tenant) concerns or simply cite perpetual funding issues as a reason for inaction.”

The borough president added that NYCHA residents should choose the development board members would spend their week in. He also noted that the one-week stay should be a requirement for any future NYCHA board members.

Read the full letter here: