Cuomo pledges to help fix 'intolerable' situation at NYCHA properties

14 March, 2018, 20:32 | Author: Wade Massey
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In January, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $200 million investment to replace boilers and upgrade the heating systems at 20 NYCHA developments experiencing chronic outages. "There are roaches, vermin, there are health safety issues, the paint is coming off the walls, the plaster is coming off the walls, it has nothing to do with the way the family is taking care of the unit, the unit is crumbling around them", Cuomo said.

The emergency declaration is not a "magic cure-all", said Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development, who faulted Mr. Cuomo for not releasing state funds that had already been appropriated to the housing authority.

A former federal housing secretary, this was Cuomo's first visit to NYCHA as governor.

"As many of you know, the mayor is out of town". NYCHA informed us that it would take 3 or 4 years to spend the money and make the repairs. "I got involved in Puerto Rico because it was an emergency in Puerto Rico", Cuomo said.

"I accepted the tenants' invitation today to tour NYCHA facilities and I stand firmly with the residents".

Cuomo's general counsel, Alphonso David, noted in a letter that some methods could include "a replacement of existing management, the appointment of an independent monitor, the identification and selection of contractors to be responsible for repairs, and/or the appointment of a public health monitor to focus on lead testing".

He also indicated that he would be willing to declare a state of emergency, but Cuomo asked city officials to figure out how, exactly, the city could implement the necessary fixes. The state is now reviewing options, including an emergency declaration, to expedite immediate, competent repairs for tenants.

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Cuomo threatened to propose his own solution if city officials don't have an improvement plan in the works by April 1.

Even more striking from a political perspective was that Cuomo confirmed a rumored meeting with council leaders on the Housing Authority last month, and promised to allow them to guide his decision on how to intercede in the city's sprawling public housing network.

Some tenants who spoke with NY1 felt the same way.

In addition to hazardous health conditions, many NYCHA tenants have been left without heat or hot water throughout the cold winter months.

"I feel like they take it too easy, I feel like they don't have the need to rush like whenever they have the time they come and do it, that's just the way I feel they come and do it, they're not that concerned", said one NYCHA resident.

The chair of the housing authority is also under fire for signing paperwork suggesting apartments underwent lead paint inspections, when they did not.


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