Woes of NYC Public Housing

June 17, 2011 8:12:45 PM PDT
42-year-old Serita Latchman's living room ceiling is cracking, but that's not her most pressing concern.

She says she can barely breathe after years of living in an apartment with mold.

From the bathroom to her children's rooms, black mold covers the ceiling and stretches down the walls. She says that despite numerous pleas for help, she is still living in her apartment. More than six months after, she says New York City housing officials pledged to move her family out.

Her frustration is shared by others living in public housing. Alexis Cole says that there is mold in her bathroom in addition to the crumbling walls and the clogged toilet.

"It's hard because my son should be potty trained. He's scared to use the bathroom - he's afraid the wall is going to fall on him," Cole said.

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) officials have said they are working "unceasingly to address all requests for repair and maintenance" at their more than 2,600 buildings.

Most of the city's public housing is aging. Buildings are often 40 to 70 years old and are in desperate need of repair.

NYCHA officials also say that they are developing a five-year plan and that they believe they will address their current maintenance and repair backlog.

Tenant advocate groups tells us they believe there may be a backlog of repair cases that could keep public housing's maintenance staff busy for decades.

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