THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — A new photography and oral history exhibit in the Bronx tells the stories of public housing residents who have struggled with mold and leaks in their homes for years.
The exhibit is located inside the Bronx Documentary Center Annex on East 151st Street. The focus of the exhibit is the stories of the struggle of more than a dozen NYCHA residents. Organizers said the purpose is to highlight the help and hope available now for the hundreds of thousands of residents who still suffer.
Seventy-three-year-old Bernard Smith’s apartment used to filled with leaks and mold. Smith said he used to be embarrassed by it, but he is now one of a dozen NYCHA residents who are part of the new exhibit called “Speak Out.”
The exhibit is open to the public for free until Nov. 5. The work is thanks to Manhattan Together, South Bronx Congregations and Metro IAF.
Father Francis Skelly is also profiled in the exhibit. Skelly is part of a section of the exhibit of unsung community champions fighting for NYCHA residents.
Skelly said after a federal lawsuit 10 years ago, called Baez v. NYCHA, progress has been made. The federal lawsuit oversight created what’s called the Ombudsperson Call Center (OCC), a hotline for NYCHA residents to call and get their leaks and mold problems fixed, independent of NYCHA.
Over the last three years, the OCC has impacted more than 17,000 families. The OCC hotline is 1-888-341-7152.
A NYCHA spokesperson told PIX11 News: “NYCHA remains steadfast in its commitment to improve its response to mold and leaks in residents’ apartments. The work under the Baez consent decree has been truly transformative, and we will continue to identify measures to improve the health and safety of our residents. We also continue to advocate for significantly more capital investment in our buildings in order to address our aging plumbing systems – a key source of leaks and mold in our buildings.”
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