Federal monitor asks about NYCHA lighting in response to '7 On Your Side' investigation

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The federal monitor brought in to oversee mandatory reforms at the New York City Housing Authority addressed an Eyewitness News investigation into growing wait times for non-emergency repairs on NYCHA properties and the lack of exterior lighting that left one community in the dark for about a year.

During a Community Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday evening, October 7, Bart Schwartz expressed concerns about the findings by 7 On Your Side Investigates addressing what he called an "obvious connection between lighting and security."

"Before we get into some of the other issues, I want to highlight something that Council Member Alicka-Samuel brought up recently through Eyewitness News," Schwartz said, acknowledging that while improving exterior lighting was not a directive he was given, improving security is.

"One of the things I'm going to ask the committee to talk about today is whether we might serve as a funnel for anyone who has a complaint about lighting? Send it to us, and we will package it all together so that they are not just one-off going to NYCHA, to the PD or wherever they may go," Schwartz said. "Let's get them all together in one place, package them (the complaints) together, and then get them to the right people."

Schwartz has previously expressed concerns about the lack of security on NYCHA properties, writing in his first quarterly report on NYCHA that the properties had "become easily accessible to trespassers."

Schwartz's comments were encouraging to residents at the Cypress Hills Houses, who did eventually get their exterior lights repaired by NYCHA around the same time Eyewitness News started asking questions.

"It means that somebody cares," said Mattie Hill, Assistant Vice President of the Tenant Association Board at Cypress. "You (Eyewitness News) did have a good impact because it stirred up a lot of people."

NYCHA did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

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