Watch CBS News

Audit: NYC Housing Authority Sitting On 2,000 Vacant Units

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- An audit has found that hundreds of apartment units stand empty while 270,000 New Yorkers are on a waiting list for public housing.

The New York City Housing Authority is sitting on more than 2,000 vacant apartments -- at least 80 of which have been empty for more than 10 years, City Comptroller Scott Stringer said.

An apartment at the Harlem River Houses has been vacant since 1994, Stringer said.

"These are real apartments that could have been given to real New Yorkers, who are in real need, and it's shameful," Stringer said.

Audit: NYC Housing Authority Sitting On 2,000 Vacant Units

The audit found that 1,366 apartments are empty for repairs while another 976 are between tenants.

The audit found renovations at NYCHA buildings keep apartments vacant for an average of seven years, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.

"We're insisting that they turn over apartments more quickly, and we need to ensure that they know who or what is in every vacant apartment," Stringer said, adding inspectors found evidence of squatters in some apartments.

The Housing Authority said its vacancy rate is the lowest it's been in years, currently at 1 percent.

The agency disputed the audit's finding that the vacancies led to $8 million in lost rent. It says it qualified for rent compensation from the federal government.

The audit covered the period between July 2012 and April 2015.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.