Squalid conditions, NYCHA residents say – their maintenance requests ignored

NYCHA Residents at 1471-1473 Watson Avenue in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx invited us into their homes to show their living conditions and problems are forced to deal with. Residents’ homes appeared to have a variety of structural hazards and health hazards that they say they’ve told the Housing Authority about but cannot get lasting solutions to.

Video by Oliya Scootercaster and @NewYorkCityPeople (FNTV freedomnews.tv)

We saw ceiling damage, wall and floor damage, areas that appeared to have mold, insects, unfinished bathrooms, evidence of rodents among other things. Residents have complained about feeling sick in the building, some experiencing nausea and asthma attacks.

Several residents that we spoke to have filed tickets with the Housing Authority to have issues in their homes repaired, one resident filed a request to have a ceiling leak fixed in 2019, water dripped over her couch and tables causing her to rearrange her apartment, the ticket still hadn’t been answered.

Residents gathered on the front steps to speak out against “A Blueprint for Change” and the unlivable conditions of their homes.

TA Leader Rev. Carmen Hernandez, wants to fight against the blueprint, their desire is to keep NYCHA Public and not let it become privatized.

Gregory Russ, NYCHA Chair, told Fox5: “We have to leave the public housing program and go to the housing voucher program and most residents have correctly pointed out that vouchers aren’t like public housing, the rules are different.”

The NYC Housing Authority’s website states that A Blueprint for Change is a set of ideas that evaluate where to invest capital toward renovations of NYCHA properties. TA Leaders and the residents want a seat at the board of those decisions.

NYCHA residents also held a protest on March 23rd, according to Dean Moses of AMNY – “The catch, to which many protesters bristled, is that NYCHA will remain the owner, a long-term ground lease will be created with the Public Housing Trust Preservation, who will raise the money for the repairs. The Trust is said to answer to NYCHA directly.”

Many residents we spoke to said they didn’t want to leave their community of friends in the buildings where they live, but that they feel the Housing Authority is forcing them to request transfers by not addressing their health and safety concerns, and ignoring their maintenance tickets.

While the residents expressed a desire for change, what it seemed like they want the most is for their health and safety to be addressed. We were repeatedly told how hopeful they were that this story would cause someone to come out and help them repair their homes and treat them like human beings.

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