In March, the New York City Housing Authority had a maintenance backlog of about 350,000 pending work orders from residents. Officials held a press conference to announce a goal: get the backlog down to about 100,000 by the end of the year.
Given that the agency receives 50,000 new repair requests a week, it seemed a daunting, possibly unfeasible task.
But on Thursday, NYCHA claimed that it got damn close: as of January 1, it had 106,000 open work orders.
The number of outstanding work orders, according to NYCHA, reached as high as 423,000 and stood at 333,000 at the start of 2013.
Because the housing authority classifies 90,000 pending orders as “normal work in progress,” housing officials note that the actual “backlog” is nearly gone.
“With open work orders now at 16,000, this is the equivalent to the number of work orders NYCHA creates in 12 days,” NYCHA General Manager Cecil House said in a statement. At these numbers, the Authority will be able to better manage the workload and continue to deliver improved service levels and response times to NYCHA residents in the months to come.”
Closing the backlog was possible, the statement explained, because response times for maintenance requests improved. The wait time for carpenters, for instance, dropped from 270 days to 80 days.
The average response time for a maintenance request was 15 days, and less than two weeks for requests for extermination or mildew removal.
This final point is key because last month NYCHA a settlement agreement with lawyers representing tenants that required the housing authority to respond to mold complaints within 15 days. The tenant coalition had sued the city agency for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by allowing residents with asthma to live with mold, which worsened the symptoms of their condition.
A federal court will oversee NYCHA for up to three years. The terms of the agreement include: responding to mold complaints within 15 days, fixing the cause (such as a broken pipe) within at timeframe, and returning for a follow-up inspection within 60 days.