NEW YORK (PIX11) — From helping fire victims get help after losing their homes, to helping New Yorkers get home repairs, here’s how Monica Morales and PIX11 News helped viewers this week.

Manhattan grandma recovering from open-heart surgery gets repairs

A Manhattan grandma says she is sick and tired of fighting for repairs after her heart surgery. Milagros Mata, 63, had open-heart surgery and is trying to recover at home, but she says her apartment is falling apart. 

Mata has three daughters and five grandchildren and lives at the Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Mata says conditions in her home are breaking her heart and make her feel ill.

PIX11 News visited and saw mold and chipping paint in her hallway. Water was coming up from the tiles in her hallway floor. Mata says a pipe burst in her closet weeks ago. Crews came, opened up the wall and put a piece of cardboard and duct tape to cover it up. On the other side of that closet wall is her kitchen. She says light fixtures and her fuse box are now damaged by the water. 

Update: A NYCHA spokesperson said, “NYCHA staff completed plumbing repairs at Baruch Houses and plasterers are currently working on repairs, while painters are scheduled for early next week. We are working on cleaning up the trash and fixing the doors at Wald Houses. We ask that all residents continue to use the MyNychaApp or call the Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771to create a work order ticket for any maintenance needs.”

Queens woman on mission to share West African cuisine, culture

An Astoria woman is on a mission to deliver authentic West African food and culture to her Queens neighborhood. She also provides hundreds of meals for local shelters and people in need each month.

Thirty-one-year-old Beatrice Ajaero’s family is from Nigeria, where she says food is the center of community. It’s called Nneji on 34th Ave in Astoria. She has turned her pride in her Nigerian roots into a restaurant during the pandemic. Now thriving, she says with every dish, she’s sharing a piece of her culture, that’s delicious.

Update: PIX11 News caught up with Ajaero giving more than 250 meals in Long Island City, all thanks to the nonprofit Food First. 

20+ Harlem families displaced by fire need clothing, support

A fire swept through a building at 117 West 142nd Street two weeks ago. The families are now in local homeless shelters and need help. Councilmember Kristen Richardson Jordan says we can’t let them fall through the cracks. More than 20 Harlem families lost everything. One local leader is hoping to collect essential items, clothing and food to help families cope. 

On March 13, fire shot out of the third-floor window on a Sunday afternoon. Families fled for their lives. Yvette Matthew lives on the first floor and was there. “I cry every day. This is my life! You lose your life,” said Matthew.

She was uninjured but lost everything. Nearly two weeks later, Matthew is still sifting through what’s left. Just a comforter and a bag of medications remain on her stoop. She’s still in shock. “We didn’t know where to go. It’s overwhelming,” said Matthew. She is staying at a local shelter but needs clothing and support. 

Update: Families still need men’s clothing, toddler clothing, diapers and support. If you want to help, go to

If you need help or have a story to share, reach out to Monica Morales at