NEW YORK (PIX11) — Thousands of public housing residents across New York City are freezing in their homes again this winter, dealing with heat and hot water problems.
NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is calling it a public health emergency. Williams is pushing the city to take action.
Queen McFarlane says it’s a battle ever winter to get heat for the seniors who live at NYCHA’s Twin Parks East. As the tenant president, she’s angry and tired of complaining.
Williams visited McFarlane and the seniors who live there, including 86-year-old Cecerena Matos. She said it’s very cold.
The public advocate said problems persist across the city. Betty Simmons, the tenant president of the Thurgood Marshall Plaza in Harlem, said that onChristmas Eve, several pipes burst, flooding apartments and causing a staircase to be covered in ice.
“NYCHA staff have been working continuously since Christmas to repair the aging hydronic systems at Marshall Houses and will continue to address repairs until we are able to restore service,” an agency spokesperson said. “The pipes are unable to withstand the repairs and new leaks are formed when repairs are made. NYCHA has opened a warming center across the street from Marshall Houses for resident use. NYCHA informed residents about the warming center by posting flyers throughout the development, and sending out robocalls.”
On Wednesday, the NYCHA website said 11 developments across the city were experiencing heat and or hot water outages, impacting more than 3,200 residents. Williams said he questions those numbers. Williams also questioned the effectiveness of the federal monitor in place to keep NYCHA in check.
NYCHA Chief Communications Officer Barbara Brancaccio told PIX11 News:
“It is a fact that NYCHA buildings are starving from decades of federal disinvestment – with harsh weather only compounding these conditions. NYCHA staff—dedicated New York City public servants–worked around the clock throughout the holiday weekend and continue to work nonstop to restore heat and water service where needed. Increased 24/7 on-site and roving repair teams are immediately addressing infrastructure breakdowns, while NYCHA’s emergency services personnel are providing on the ground support, including warming centers and other resources, to residents at impacted developments. We hope the Public Advocate will work with NYCHA to support real, long term solutions such as the Housing Preservation Trust and PACT – the kind of investment necessary to transform NYCHA buildings and improve the quality of life for public housing residents.”
McDarlane says she will continue to fight for her seniors and have more rallies to come.