Checking in on the city’s public housing maintenance promise

Posted at 11:06 PM, Jul 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-02 10:47:54-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) – For tens of thousands of residents who call the New York City Housing Authority their landlord, patience is often a hot commodity.

In too many cases…that patience runs out.

“So that’s what the mold is bringing – the little critters as you can see them. “I took out all the mold that I could from the bottom of the sink. There’s still mold present in there.” Marlene told PIX11.  She took out most of the mold on her own because she got tired of waiting.

Marlene Gardenhire – a life-long resident at the Alfred E. Smith Houses in Lower Manhattan, says she’s still waiting for the agency to come clean up the mold under her sink, and help evict the dozens of crawling roommates who have no right to be here.

But there’s good news for Marlene and tens of thousands of other NYCHA tenants waiting for that maintenance worker to show up.

That massive 420K repair backlog we first told you about in February?

Well, in their latest update, NYCHA officials say they’ve whittled down that backlog to 219K as of July 1st.

They say that puts the agency on pace to clear the entire repair backlog by a self-imposed deadline of December 31st.

The bottom line – many tenants are ready for changes – big changes within the agency.

Tenant Association President Aixa Torres – who’s also waiting for NYCHA to complete repairs in her own apartment, says is hopeful Governor Cuomo will sign the bill that’s currently sitting on his desk.

“It’s gotten to the point where people from the outside, really don’t understand. They don’t live here in the trenches. So they have no clue what we’re going through. But it’s OK to pay the rents that we pay. Most people think we pay five-dollar rent. We don’t. We pay mortgage rents”, said Torres.

A memo to the bill states that by adding tenant representatives, “This would ensure that NYCHA residents are well-represented on the Authority.”

The bill would also replace the existing salaried board members – who make about 186-thousand dollars a year with new members who would serve at the pleasure of the mayor and earn a stipend of 15,000 dollars a month.

Marlene Gardenhire – who’s desperately in need of mold remediation so she can begin her roach extermination a new day in NYCHA can’t come soon enough.

“I’m still here waiting. And my son is an asthmatic, and most of these issues is a trigger to his asthma. So, I would give them an ‘f’”, said Gardenhire.