NYCHA heat crisis: Dozens of developments without consistent heat and hot water

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — Dozens of New York City Housing Authority developments have been without consistent heat and hot water during this arctic blast.

60-year-old Evelyn Guzman had a pacemaker put in three weeks ago and while she’s recuperating, this Washington Houses resident says her ninth floor apartment at 218 East 104th Street hasn’t had heat for the past five days. The hot water comes and goes. She has had to keep warm by using her stove and a space heater in the bedroom.

When Guzman put her hand on her radiator, she said it was “cold, cold, cold.” And she added, “it has been cold all the time for two weeks.”

New York City controller Scott Stringer announced that his office will launch a new audit of NYCHA heating systems. He said a preliminary audit shows the boilers in these buildings have a defect rate five times the citywide average.

“We cannot have a system of heat for NYCHA residents and another one for the rest of New York City,” Stringer said at a news conference. “We can’t be a city where those in luxury towers are living in total comfort, while NYCHA tenants across the street are left in the cold."

“Our heat is horrible,” Yakemah Wade, another resident at Washington Houses, said. “We pay our rent. We deserve heat and hot water in these types of weathers.” She said she has made all the complaints and 311 phone calls about the lack of heat in apartment. But she still has no response from NYCHA.

In a statement,  NYCHA spokesman Joseph Luciano said "Staff is working to resolve the issue. Our residents deserve safe, warm homes in the winter and our staff is working 24/7 to restore heat as quickly as possible. We must do better for our residents."