NEW YORK -- Lynne Patton is halfway through her month-long “hands on tour” of New York City public housing as she arrived at the Queensbridge Houses Monday night -- the nation’s largest public housing development -- insisting her presence will make a difference.
“This is not about change overnight," Patton said. "It’s about permanent change for the long term. I’m getting a wish list from every single property that hopefully we can effectuate on the ground within six to eight months."
As the federal housing administrator for the New York – New Jersey region, Patton has a direct line to the newly appointed federal monitor assigned to oversee the way Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration manages the troubled New York City Housing Authority.
“They work order system is a complete failure," Patton said. "We need to overhaul that. We need to figure out through forensic accounting where the money is going. And why it’s not going to effective repairs NYCHA seems to be able to make every time I come to a property."
That influence means something to Queensbridge Houses Tenant Association president April Simpson.
“I’m going to show her ratchet apartments," Simpson said. "People are living with holes, and then given tickets to come repair in June. Does that make sense to you when you pay your rent?”
Patton’s profile is at an all-time high.
Last week, she returned to the nation’s capital to quietly stand next to Republican Congressman Mark Meadows during Michael Cohen’s blockbuster testimony -- her presence intended to rebut Cohen’s "claim" that his former boss - is a racist.
But Patton was quickly accused of being used as a human prop.
Her appearance even made it into a skit on this weekend’s edition of Saturday Night Live.
Back in one of the Queensbridge Houses courtyards, a tenant named Yveliss says she’s still taking a wait and see attitude on what Patton’s stay will mean for daily life at the apartments.
“We gotta see change first before we can speak on it,” said Yveliss.
Yveliss adds she is also willing to give Patton a chance to trigger change.