Follow-up Friday: Advocating for public housing; rat complaints

Monica Makes It Happen

HARLEM, Manhattan — Here’s how PIX11 News helped make it happen this week in New York’s public housing system.

Local leaders joined NYCHA families in Harlem Monday to try and make public housing a bigger part President Biden’s “Build Back Better” infrastructure package. Advocates say it doesn’t go far enough.

For over a year now, Callie Moore says every time it rains, it rains inside her home. Moore says her story is common at the Grant Houses, a NYCHA development in Harlem. plasterers and painters came to Moore’s home to fix her living room ceiling.

“We have completed plastering and painting in this unit and NYCHA staff did not find any leaks,” a spokesperson for NYCHA said.

As the rat complaints surge across the city, people who live in one Harlem building say the problem is so bad there, they’re afraid to leave their apartments. Friday, just outside April Garrison’s front door, rats were everywhere during the day.  

She says she’s complained and put in a repair ticket, but the rats are still running wild.

“I don’t even want to go in and out of my building,” said Garrison.

A NYCHA spokesperson responded to PIX11 News’ request for comment.

“Staff has begun grounds work, including cutting back shrubs, purchasing 40 rodent-proof containers, concrete repairs and other items requested by the exterminator foreman,” they said in a statement. “The janitorial schedule has been adjusted to allow staff more time in the morning on the grounds cleaning common areas and removing trash and we are in regular communication with the exterminator team.”

Families in Harlem want to know what’s taking so long to fix the front door of their building. It’s a recurring problem that has them afraid, especially at night.

Tanya Todd, Christine Radellant, and Minerva Fabian say they have an open door policy when it comes to family and friends visiting but this is ridiculous. For weeks now, Todd says she’s complained to managers at the King towers in Harlem, her front door is always broken.  

It’s the door to the main entrance to her building.

“They use drugs in our hallways. This is public housing, that doesn’t mean it’s open to the public,” said Todd.

Hours later, NYCHA crews began fixing the door.  A NYCHA spokesperson tells PIX11,

“…We are working on getting a vendor to complete this work,” a NYCHA spokesperson told PIX11 news. “Meanwhile, there is 24-hour security at this door and all other doors at the development are secure.”

If you have a story reach out Monica Morales at monica@pix11.com

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