Public tenants living in shocking conditions -- without heat, hot water and electricity for weeks -- will still have pay their full rent, said NYCHA Chairman John Rhea on Monday while visiting devastated Red Hook. Rhea said the tenants would get a credit in January -- a refund he called "a nice little Christmas present," the New York Daily News reports.
Tenants at the Red Hook Houses have lived in misery since Hurricane Sandy hit Oct. 29, with many elderly or disabled stranded in high rise projects, unable to navigate pitch-black stairwells.
Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio said tenants shouldn’t have to pay any rent at all while their buildings are unlivable. "NYCHA should cease rent collection in affected developments until basic services are restored, such as electricity, heat and hot water. No tenant in public housing should be forced to pay the city for rent they do not actually owe," he said.
The blithe comment by Rhea left many in shock as Occupy Sandy and other citizen relief groups are calling for donations of medicines, flashlights and batteries, cleaning implements, masks and gloves, hydrogen peroxide, and food and water. Typical of one request on Twitter: “IV fluids desperately needed at medical clinic by Occupy site at B 113 and Rockaway Beach Blvd.”