Dangerous living conditions at public housing after Sandy

November 14, 2012 6:00:00 PM PST
The power is back on finally in all New York City public housing buildings.

With the lights back on there's a new and dangerous problem.

Families are living in deplorable conditions with no heat, no hot water, and disease carrying bugs everywhere.

Now, a community's sounding the alarm over what they fear is a growing public health crisis.

Every single piece of donated food will make a difference in this community.

At a place called the "Action Center" workers are preparing for the day ahead and the crush of residents from the Ocean Bay Housing Complex that are in need.

Aria Doe runs the food pantry. She's thankful for what she has, most if not all of it came from private donations.

She says she's still waiting for a stronger response from the government.

"In this community, these folks live 200 percent below the poverty level. FEMA is not here. But there are other organizations that should be here," said Doe, a community advocate.

There is significant storm damage and decay and residents are living in it.

"Everything's falling apart," said Serena Young, a resident.

On the ground floor of one of the buildings, a family of 14 allowed our cameras in to their four bedroom apartment.

There was an X on the door, put there by Red Cross workers trying to address resident's needs.

The water made it in and it's like it never left.

"The walls are bubbling and it's leaking from the ceiling," Young said.

Their belongings are soaked and are now in bags, they use the stove to heat the apartment, they have generator powered lights, but there is no hot water.

Mattresses are still wet with mold spreading, and they say the flood water and sewage damaged walls and brought insects that cover every surface.

There are six children still living here. Briana is just 3 years old.

"The closets smell because of the cockroaches and the kids have been getting sick because of the closets," said Cynthia Torres, a resident. She says they have no money to leave.

"We need help. Anything to help us get out of here," Torres said.

There are, according to Aria Doe's estimates, several thousand people there living in the same conditions.

"It was the perfect storm, except it wasn't perfect for this community. It was the perfect thing to make it finally go under is what it was," Doe said.

On Wednesday, FEMA members came to the Torres' apartment, reviewed their paperwork and said they would receive a check for $4,000 in aid.

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