New York City officials announce proposal to help NYCHA residents deal with problems

RIVERDALE, Bronx (WABC) -- The heat is already off in many NYCHA buildings across the city and it has been that way all winter long. It's just one of the problems many residents are forced to live with - at least for now.
There's a new push for NYCHA buildings to address these issues.

"I shouldn't have to have space heaters on all day to make sure the apartment is warm enough," said resident Tiara Nepierre.

It is a safety hazard to run space heaters all day. That is widely known - but for too many New Yorkers, it's either that or just stay cold and miserable inside their homes.

"We don't get a sufficient amount of heat every day," Nepierre said. "Even if the heat is on it's not enough to warm the apartment. We do not get enough hot water. Sometimes you have to skip taking a bath because there is no hot water."

It's a familiar tune for many families who live in NYCHA buildings, on top of other common complaints - like vermin and bug infestations.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams outlined a new set of recommendations to address the systemic issues on Tuesday afternoon at the Fort Independence Houses.

He wants to create a grading system for repairs, require NYCHA to have tenants sign off on repairs before a ticket is closed and mandate they better inform residents of lengthy repairs - beyond posting notices in the lobby.

"The proposal we put forth, we want to see done right now," Williams said.

The grading system would be modeled by the one HPD uses for private landlords, classifying repairs in three categories: non-hazardous, hazardous and immediately hazardous.

"We want to create a grading system where the most serious issues are resolved in a shorter period of time," Williams said.

The quicker, the better - unlike the temporary boiler that has been in use at Fort Independence since November.

"It is not acceptable and we are not here to wait for the next tragedy, like we have seen across the city and certainly in the Bronx," said Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson.

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