BRONX — At a news conference Thursday, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. slammed the city for evicting a 72-year-old man who was recovering from a major surgery.
"We need to right this wrong, but it starts with the New York City Housing Authority and it starts with City Hall," Diaz said during the news conference.
Bienvenido Martinez, a 72-year-old former resident of NYCHA's Union Avenue Consolidation in the Bronx, was evicted from his apartment in late 2018 while he recovered from an emergency above-the-knee leg amputation in a Bronx rehabilitation center.
Martinez lost everything – his home and belongings – all because he was behind on his rent by $816 dollars, he said Thursday.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Martinez said he has no family in New York and that he's never been late paying rent in 14 years.
Martinez said he was still in the hospital when NYCHA allegedly classified his Bronx apartment as "abandoned," and then threw out all his belongings, including furniture, his birth certificate, his social security card, and all of his family photos.
NYCHA spokesperson Barbara Brancaccio gave PIX11 the following statement on Thursday: "We are unable to comment on individual residents' lease agreements, however we will work with the resident to restore his tenancy."
PIX11 streamed Thursday's news conference live on Facebook, with thousands of people watching and many asking how they could help Martinez.
If you want to help, reach out to Bronx Borough Hall at (718) 590-3500.
Watch the full Facebook live stream of Thursdays news conference: