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PIX11 News helps NYCHA tenants who need heat ahead of storm

Posted at 6:48 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 21:14:28-05

NEW YORK — Two NYCHA communities in Manhattan and Brooklyn reached out to PIX11 News for help because of heat problems.

Beverly MacFarlane is the tenant president at the Taft Houses in East Harlem.

“We have nine buildings and our senior building had three lines — the J, K and H with no heat for weeks,” said MacFarlane.

MacFarlane says every time a storm comes, her cellphone starts ringing seniors call her when the heat goes out . It happened while we were talking to her.

It’s not just at the Taft Houses, tenants from the Brownsville Houses are also having problems.

They sent us videos of seniors and children bundled up in their cold apartments.

“The heat doesn’t come on from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. seven days a week,” said Velma Wilkins.

The New York City Housing Authority tells us they are activating its Emergency Operations Center for the upcoming winter storm. NYCHA has invested more than $45 million to upgrade heat and hot water equipment since the start of 2020. And they have hired 70 new heating plant technicians and 12 plumbing teams over the past year to provide 24/7 coverage.

A NYCHA spokesperson tells PIX11 News, they are reaching out to the Taft and Brownsville tenant presidents. They will send staff out after 6 p.m. Wednesday to check on the heat to make sure they are warm.