Rats, mice, and roaches plague Mitchel Houses tenants

ByCeFaan Kim, Eyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Rats, mice, and roaches plague Mitchel Houses tenants
CeFaan Kim reports from the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.

MOTT HAVEN, Bronx (WABC) -- Angry tenants are demanding changes in their public housing complex in the Bronx.

There are a lot of problems and the New York City Housing Authority is no stranger to that.

But it's the vermin that has some folks in the Mitchel Houses worked up, and for good reason.

Crumbling ceilings and no heat, those are the types of complaints Eyewitness News has heard before from public housing tenants.

In this case, there's a dead rodent, either a mouse or a rat, stuck trying to crawl back into a hole. It's not the subway, or by a dumpster, it's right next to Joshua Gonzalez's kitchen sink.

"We're not animals. There are people that live here that actually care about where they live. We shouldn't be living like this," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez lives in the Mitchel Houses in the Bronx.

He found the rodent Monday, but his problems with the New York City Housing Authority go back years.

"I don't know what that is. On the ceiling while I'm taking a shower it falls on me. This wall has been cracking on me. There's been a leak from upstairs. I've complained about it. They've done nothing. There's mice behind this wall," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez has a baby on the way, and a 6-year-old son.

Behind the little boy's bedroom is that wall is where the dead rodent is stuck.

It had been chipping away at the wall, trying to get in.

Gonzalez is one of many tenants who say they've had enough.

"They're the biggest slumlords in this country," said Tony Herbert, a Community Activist.

Tiffany Brand, in a wheelchair, says she once had to wait 13 hours for a broken elevator.

"So from 8 o'clock in the morning, 9:15 is when I looked at my phone and is when I actually got upstairs," Brand said.

"Because we live in quote, unquote, the South Bronx, we don't have to be treated like we're derelicts. We are people. We are human," said Robin DeSisso, a tenant.

In a statement, a NYCHA spokesperson said, "We understand resident frustrations and they can be assured we are committed to continuing to improve the quality of life at Mitchel Houses."

Tenants say the question is how long will it be before that happens?

"It's frustrating because you kind of give up," Gonzalez said.

NYCHA says it has a 10-year plan called NextGeneration NYCHA. It's meant to streamline and digitize landlord workflow. The Mitchel Houses are part of NextGeneration Operations.