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NYCHA Tenants Brace for Cold Season, Hold Out Scant Hope for Improvements (NY)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

NYCHA Tenants Brace for Cold Season, Hold Out Scant Hope for Improvements

"Winter is coming.

And tenants in public housing do not expect a happy ending.

New requirements set out by the federal monitor overseeing the New York City Housing Authority — including limits on how long it should take to restore heat — have not put them at ease.

Some of those thresholds — like the requirement that the housing authority must get the heat back on within an average of 24 hours — will go into effect on Tuesday.

But for residents like Lydia Sotomayor, setting low expectations continues to be the only way to prepare.

Sotomayor, 59, has lived in Baruch House for 36 years.

The heat in Baruch, Manhattan’s largest public housing complex, has been spotty for years. Last year, according to NYCHA data, the Lower East Side complex had more outages than any other development in the city.

“We go through this every year,” Sotomayor said. “I’ll be surprised this winter if we have heat.”

To Sotomayor, her husband and their 18-year-old son, winter means space heaters, wearing coats inside and getting up a few minutes earlier each morning to boil water for bathing. September and October are when she starts bracing for the added physical pain winter will bring from to her fibromyalgia and asthma.

During the last NYCHA “heating” season — which spanned from October 2018, when heat was on, to May 2019, when it was cut off — Baruch had a total of 191 heat and hot water outages..."

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