Harlem building has no gas, heat

December 16, 2010 8:18:22 PM PST
Residents of a building in Harlem say they have been living without gas and a working stove for months.

Michaela Abad has two young children with asthma and is living in an apartment that is sometimes frigid, has often gone without hot water, and has had no working stove for three months.

"I pay my rent on time," Abad says, "They don't have to call for the rent. But I can't cook for my children."

In fact, no one in the building has a working stove.

Many of the families have children and all are low income.

Without a stove, they spend more money than they can afford on restaurants.

We've called HPD (Department of Housing Preservation and Development) many times, but they don't ever come," Abad said.

So Thursday night, Eyewitness News called, and an inspector showed up to look at the building right away.

But no one was working anywhere in the building, and little surprise, the building has numerous violations, 101 open violations with HPD.

In fact, there are numerous heat complaints from residents, and the city was forced to do more than $5,000 in emergency repairs that the owner was ordered to do but didn't.

Residents took to the street to protest the conditions Thursday night, but it's not clear when the gas to their stoves will be repaired or the heat made more reliable.

"Last year when the heat went off we would turn on the stove," Theresa, a resident, said, "Now that doesn't even work and we have to wrap up in blankets."

Just as the residents often are, Eyewitness News was also unsuccessful at reaching the building's owner.

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