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2018-01-11 / Other News

Residents Frustrated With City’s Heating Efforts

By D. Rybstein

A break in the recent cold weather had tenants and community activists out protesting poor heating conditions in city projects on Tuesday. The demonstration, which drew a small but focused crowd, took place in front of the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Vandalia Houses, on Vandalia Avenue between Louisiana and Pennsylvania Avenues. Residents from the nearby Pink Houses – another NYCHA property on Linden Boulevard - were also on hand to weigh in with their heating nightmares.

“There is no heat when we need it and no hot water,” said Louise Green, a Pink Houses resident and tenant association member. She told the Canarsie Courier that NYCHA managers had the wrong priorities. “They should have used the capital funding they received to fix the boilers rather than the brick facing they did.”

Nikki Lucas, the 60th Assembly District leader, has been fielding complaints from cold tenants for years. She is in touch with the mayor’s office on their behalf and is not happy that the successes she’s had don’t last for long.

“We need a permanent fix – not every year a temporary solution,” said Lucas. She believes in empowering NYCHA residents to take ownership of their living conditions.

“If NYCHA can’t handle it, allow the tenants. Tenant-managed facilities need to be tried. Allow HUD money to go to the tenant associations who will be more responsive to problems.” Lucas was referring to the federal Housing and Urban Development agency that provides funds to municipalities to run their public housing projects.

Regarding contracting for repairs and other expenses, Lucas had some advice: “Keep it competitive. There are always cheaper options. Where is all the HUD money going?”

Ernestine William, a Vandalia resident added, “Today, it’s warmer and they gave us heat. If they are able to provide heat today, why not other days?”

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