Kathryn Garcia

Kevin Rincon/WCBS 880

Interim NYCHA Chair Gets Head Start On New Role

February 11, 2019 - 4:00 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The new, temporary head of the New York City Housing Authority got a first hand look at public housing on the Lower East Side.

Kathryn Garcia, who was named interim chair of the troubled agency last week, toured the Vladeck Houses on Monday. She walked to the roof to inspect recent renovations and then went down to the boiler room before meeting with residents having lunch.

She doesn't officially start her new role for another week, but is getting a head start as she works to implement an agreement struck between the city and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"There are a lot of basic foundational pieces that I think that I can be helpful with moving forward," Garcia said.

Part of that includes really basic things, WCBS 880's Kevin Rincon reported.

"We need to make sure that there are not drainage issues on the roof because that will undermine those investments more quickly," Garcia said.

Garcia was tapped to serve as a bridge between the outgoing NYCHA chair and the new permanent replacement. Garcia says it's her hope that HUD will become a better partner in all of this.

"There are best practices at other public housing projects across the country that they think will be useful here. I'm willing to listen," Garcia said.

Meanwhile, HUD's regional administrator Lynne Patton has started her month-long stay in NYCHA housing at the Patterson Houses in the Bronx. 

Garcia commended Patton.

"Anytime that she can bring attention from D.C. to the needs of affordable housing and making sure that we're making the investments in affordable housing is important," Garcia said. "So if that is helpful in making the case to Washington, I look forward to it."