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Comptroller demands NYCA develop COVID-19 preparedness plan before winter

Posted at 6:14 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 18:14:58-04

NEW YORK CITY — The City Comptroller Scott Stringer called the likelihood for people to get sick in NYCHA apartments this winter a “perfect storm," with poor heating, ventilation problems, mold, and COVID-19.

Some tenants fear the worst is yet to come this winter. Lashawn "Suga Ray" Marston lives at the Queensbridge Houses and said every winter, it;s the same concern: families living in public housing struggle to get consistent heat.

This year, with COVID-19, Marston demands the city take drastic action to save lives.

Marston joined Stringer, elected officials and residents from half-a-dozen NYCHA developments and called on the city to put into writing what they are calling a "COVID-19 preparedness plan for NYCHA”

“We are in the brink of an emergency. Winter is coming. From March to May this year, 47 developments reported COVOD positive rates higher than the city average, and 7,800 tenants have tested positive, and 1,200 tenants have lost their lives,” said Stringer.

The also want capital projects expedited.

Poor ventilation, old boilers, mold, and broken elevators could lead to a disaster this winter, Stringer said.

Stringer is demanding action plans on how NYCHA plans to improve ventilation, deal with COVID-19 clusters, execute elevator repairs, finish boiler replacements, and conduct mold remediation.

Stringer said NYCHA does have the money to do repairs.

“NYCHA has been awarded 3.1 billion dollars in FEMA Money, and they have only spent 59%,” said Stringer.

PIX11 News has covered heat and hot water problems in NYCHA for two years.

A spokesperson for NYCHA told PIX11, “NYCHA disagrees with the comptroller’s assessment, as it entirely dismisses the improved processes, increased resources, and demonstrable improvements the Authority has made over the past two years.”

Stringer said he’s giving the city a deadline of Nov. 9 to give him a written plan on ventilation systems, boilers, elevators, and mold remediation.

If you have heat issues reach out to Monica Morales at monica@pix11.com.