Pro Bono News
NYCHA struggles to keep New Yorkers warn even with the mild winter (NY)
Thursday, March 05, 2020
- New York Post
NYCHA struggles to keep New Yorkers warm even with the mild winter
"The city’s embattled Housing Authority struggled to keep the boilers on and the water flowing during this winter’s heating season, even as Mother Nature gifted the Big Apple with mild weather.
More than 134,000 New Yorkers living in public housing lost their heat between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31 thanks to 322 outages recorded at 126 developments, records obtained by the Legal Aid Society and analyzed by The Post show.
“NYCHA is clearly still unable to ensure that utility systems seamlessly provide for residents, and these numbers confirm what we hear from our clients on a regular basis,” said Legal Aid lawyer Lucy Newman. “These outages could be meaningfully addressed with the right resources.”
Her group is pushing for lawmakers in Albany to give NYCHA an additional $2 billion in the state’s next budget.
However, that request will likely be complicated by New York’s looming $6 billion budget deficit.
Brooklyn’s 1930s-era Williamsburg Houses were the hardest hit by heating outages over the three-month period, suffering through 24 unplanned outages that lasted for 11 hours on average.
That’s up from the 21 outages endured at the massive 20-building complex all last winter, according to stats provided to the federal monitor imposed on NYCHA last year.
“It’s either the heat is off or the hot water is off or both. At night, I got to turn my oven on to 450 and leave it on all night,” said Crystal Nelson, 37. “I had to use three or four heavy quilts to keep warm. I have to dress like I’m going outside when I go to sleep.”
The boiler failures also play havoc with the hot water supply at the Williamsburg Houses, forcing residents to take cold showers or use stoves and pots to heat up water on their own..."