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New York City Forced To Pay 2 Billion In Settlements Over The City's Housing Authorities' Multiple Violations

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty

Meanwhile, Government Officials Say A New Initiative Is Coming

It’s cold.


And yet, some New York City Public Housing (NYCHA) residents still don’t have heat.

Now, plans to go on rent strike are swiftly approaching, according to New York Daily News.

Many NYCHA residents are spending their time at home in freezing temperatures as a polar vortex makes it’s way across the U.S.

“It’s a disaster,” said 76-year-old Bertha Spivey, a resident of NYCHA’s Soundview Houses in the Bronx. “You can’t take showers or do dishes. We have no heat or hot water. If one goes, both go. It happens every winter for last four years.”

Spivey’s neighbor Rachel Jean, 40, said she had to boil water to make it hot and bring some heat into her apartment. “We’re bathing with it,” Jean said. “When the water does come on it’s brown and then it shuts off. I have six kids. We’re just waiting for them to do something.”

Tenants at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City are tired of waiting for the government to do something. Certain residents have already started laying the groundwork for a major rent strike, which could force NYCHA to make long-neglected repairs. Almost 70 people assembled at the Queensbridge complex on Monday where they received advice from housing advocates and lawyers.

Back in 2013, tenants of NYCHA’s Lexington Houses in East Harlem threatened the city with a rent strike after having no gas for more than two weeks. NYCHA made the repairs 24 hours later.

“I’m 100% behind a rent strike,” said Brooklyn City Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr., a candidate for public advocate, who showed up at the rent strike strategy session. “If you’re not getting adequate service you have every right to withhold your rent until the work is done.”

A NYCHA spokesman said repair crews arrived at various sites on Wednesday to restore heat. The agency also activated its situation room in Long Island City, Queens to prepare for dangerously low temperatures.

Meanwhile, City Hall is trying to convince federal housing officials and a federal judge that NYC is capable of running its own housing system without any takeover from the Trump administration. Last fall, U.S. District Judge William Pauley rejected a settlement between the city and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), saying the federal government was neglecting its responsibilities to NYCHA.

Both sides have since been discussing ways to address the various issues NYCHA residents face, including heating problems, mold and dangerous levels of lead.

HUD secretary Ben Carson is set to appear in New York on Thursday to make a “huge & historic announcement that will be great news for the residents of @NYCHA,” according to a tweet from Lynne Patton, the head of HUD’s federal housing programs in New Jersey and New York.

We’ll find out if they make impactful moves.

Or else…

They better gear up for that strike.


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