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LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — People who live at the Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side say the rat problem is becoming a health hazard.

Alicia Ramos these are no ordinary rats coming out of the lobby at 80 Columbia Street.

“They are mountain lion-looking rats. You can make noise but they pull up on you. I’m horrified,” said Ramos. 

Ramos is not alone. 

She says all her neighbors have stories. 

“A neighbor told me she going into the elevator and a rat ran into her stroller,” said Ramos.

PIX11 News has been to the Baruch Houses before for rat problems, back in August 2019. 

Anthony Baylor says he’s happy we’re back but says conditions now are much worse. 

“They are bigger than cats, there are 35-40 of them easy,” said Baylor. 

Baylor says the a combination of construction and trash is fueling the infestation now.

A NYCHA spokesperson responded to our request for comment.

“Baruch Houses has been receiving pest treatments twice a week in order to mitigate construction impacts that may increase rodent activity, including collapsing burros and bait stations,” a spokesperson said. “NYCHA’s pest control team is coordinating with property management and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to address increased complaints of rodent activity. Additionally, there has been an increase of garbage on site after the weekend, and we have recently installed new compactors as a way to improve garbage collection.”

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