Street closures for UN General Assembly

How Monica’s making it happen this week

NEW YORK — Violet Rittenhour from Harlem is dying of stage 4 ovarian cancer. The 43-year-old says her doctor has given her about six months to live.

"I have three college degrees, one from Columbia University and two from NYU. I've been working since I was 13. I put myself through college. No one could have told me this was going to be my life," Rittenhour said.

Rittenhour needs to be near her doctor in Harlem. She says she has to reapply every 10 days to prove she needs help. It's a grueling process for a dying woman.

"I'm at my wits end. I've never been in the shelter system. Its been the hardest thing in my life. It stripped me of my dignity. I know what's happening to me is wrong," Rittenhour said.

A Department of Homeless Services spokesperson said the agency is "reviewing this application to determine eligibility for shelter. In all instances we require complete information to determine shelter eligibility, including housing history and documentation to verify medical conditions to ensure we’re connecting clients to the most appropriate services. In this case new information was provided in this week and we are still awaiting further information to make our determination. In the meantime this client is receiving shelter and will continue to receive shelter."

A PIX11 News viewer named Mario Azallone with Salerno Service offered to pay six months of rent for Rittenhour. PIX11 news will stay on this story.

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Lester Morrison says everyday it breaks his heart as he struggles to take his mother-in-law Ester Carter in and out of her home.

"She's 89-years-old and full of life. There are too many steps for her wheelchair. She can't get out of her home," Morrison said.

Daughter Stacy Carter said her grandfather passed away years ago. Warren Carter was in the Navy for four years and is a WWII hero.

Ester Carter was an advocate for children and people who needed affordable housing her entire life.

"Now she needs our help," said Carter.

PIX11 news reached out to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A spokesperson says, "We truly appreciate you brining this to our attention and will do everything within our ability to assist Mrs. Carter with her situation.”

A nonprofit group called Homes For Veterans is building the ramp next week.

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Giovanna Gambino says she loves her home on Ionia Avenue, but hates the city tree in her front lawn.

"I've been battling the city for over a year. I've spent more than $1,000 on repairing my pipes. I'm done," Gambino said.

PIX11 reached out to the Parks Department and a spokesperson said "NYC Parks Forestry inspected this city tree today and spoke with the homeowner. We will be sending a crew to prune the tree for dead wood and branches within a week."

The agency added that:

  • The city does not reimburse home owners for plumbing repairs—tree roots cannot invade a pipe unless there is a pre-existing hole leaking water and sewage into the soil, which is illegal. Tree roots will follow water flow toward the source to exploit the nutrients.
  • The comptroller’s office handles claims for reimbursement against the city. They can be submitted here.
  • Root damage in a homeowner’s backyard is not within Parks jurisdiction.

If you have a story, reach out to Monica Morales on Facebook.