NEW YORK — Over the years, families living in public housing have shown PIX11 News they put in work orders for repairs, only to have them closed, without anyone doing repairs.
Sara Bernstein, an attorney from the Legal Aid Society, says these are not isolated incidents but a chronic, systematic problem in NYCHA.
LAS represents dozens of NYCHA tenants right now with closed tickets and incomplete repairs.
“A work ticket is supposed to generate other tickets to resolve underlying issues, but the problem is that it is just not happening,” said Bernstein.
Richard S. Neubarth has been a housing attorney in Brooklyn for 17 years.
“I call that corruption. I call that dishonesty,” said Neubarth.
Councilmember Ritchie Torres, the chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee of the City Council, says the root of the problem is that no one is checking work after these tickets are closed.
“There is a difference between closings complaints and resolving a ticket. NYCHA continues to blur the line," said Torres.
PIX11 News reached out to NYCHA Federal Monitor Bart Schwartz, who was appointed to improve conditions in NYCHA. His team told PIX11News to look at his latest report on Aug. 13. Tickets continue to climb.
Schwartz said in the report, “prior to the COVID crisis there were 382,513 open work orders as of March 16, 2020, which have grown to 407,904 as of August 3, 2020.”
But there’s no information about how many of these tickets are now closed.
"NYCHA has a dedicated Quality Assurance unit to ensure the quality and completion of repairs, in addition to follow-up checks conducted by property management staff,” said NYCHA in a statement to PIX11 News.
Nicholas Bloom, a professor of urban policy and planning at Hunter College and the author of several books about public housing, says NYCHA has a deficit in two areas: money and simple basic accountability.
“It’s a mismatch between this well meaning call center that sends out a team and the real facts on the ground. NYCHA has been systematically underfunded for decades,” said Bloom.