NYCHA residents in Bronx building say they have little or no heat despite freezing temperatures

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021
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Naveen Dhaliwal reports residents of a senior NYCHA development in the Bronx say they have had little to no heat in these recent freezing temperatures, and it's not a new problem.

CROTONA, Bronx (WABC) -- Residents of a senior NYCHA development in the Bronx say they have had little to no heat in these recent freezing temperatures, and it's not a new problem.

The apparent issues are at the Twin Parks Residences, a 14-floor building with 17 apartments per floor, where city officials and tenants held a news conference Wednesday to raise awareness about the untenable conditions.

City Council Member Fernando Cabrera is demanding repairs to the heating system.

"Once again, NYCHA residents are forced to live in inhumane conditions because of the neglect and lack of transparency of this agency," Cabrera said. "It's unimaginable that NYCHA would allow tenants of a senior citizen development to live without heat since the beginning of the winter and not even address these issues in advance of the city's worst snowstorm since 2016. NYCHA is putting seniors' lives at risk. I have submitted legislation to the NYC Council that would allow NYCHA residents to use the City's 311 system to register complaints and make service requests since NYCHA's system is dysfunctional and unaccountable."

Three residents who spoke to Eyewitness News spoke with said they now have heat, but it is minimal.

"I have to put on the stove," tenant Diana Virella said. "I have to wear the jacket."

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Some have put plastic on the windows, which doesn't help as the cold air seeps through. Along with turning their stoves on, others are using portable heaters that are hiking up their Con Ed bills.

"I have to sleep with a space heater on, and I have to pay a Con Edison bill that's $200 a month," Tenants Association President Queen McFarland said. "And I'm a fixed income."

Individuals with health problems like arthritis and high blood pressure say their ailments get worse in the winter due to the lack of heat.

"When you take a shower, the warm water, before you get out, it's cold," resident Blanca Nieves said. "I'm asthmatic. I'm diabetic. I have high blood pressure. I need to keep warm."

They say this has been a problem for years in this building.

"I've been here eight years," Virella said. "Every winter, it's the same problem."

Residents have reached out to NYCHA but have yet to receive a response, which is why they say they decided to speak out to the media.

"The heat is so low, until you call in to say there's no heat, they say if they turn the boiler on all the way up, it's going to bust the pipes," McFarland said. "But in the meantime, you're in your apartment freezing."

According to the New York State's website, landlords are required to ensure the temperature inside an apartment is at least 68 degrees if the outside temperature falls below 55 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

"This is a senior building with a lot of sick seniors," McFarland said. "Some of them are bedridden, can't get out of bed."

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