BROOKLYN — Tenants and advocates from Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) rallied yesterday in front of Brooklyn Housing Court to demand that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) stop forcing residents to live in dangerous and unhealthy conditions, stop misusing capital repair funds for other programs, enhance its Centralized Calling Center (CCC) to prioritize backlogged repair tickets and make repairs in a timely manner, and to use Section 3 funding to train and hire unemployed residents to make repairs.
Following the rally, attorneys from South Brooklyn Legal Services filed a group lawsuit against NYCHA to force repairs at three of its Brooklyn properties.
Residents of NYCHA housing who make repair requests through the CCC often wait months or even years to have those repairs made, according to Valery Jean, FUREE executive director.
“In this economy, it’s even more critical to ensure that our largest affordable housing stock is maintained for generations to come,” she said. “When budgets are balanced on the backs of low-income and working class communities, it is up to those who are negatively affected to make a stand to let decision-makers know it’s no longer acceptable to be treated as less than a human being.”
Citywide, thousands of repairs for NYCHA units are back-logged. Families, youths and the elderly are forced to live with conditions that threaten their health and safety, including serious leaks, mold, disintegrating plaster on walls and ceilings, electrical outlets that spark and sizzle, and unsecured front doors.
Those at the rally also called on NYCHA Chair John Rhea to “heed the recommendations of a report card issued in 2011” by FUREE and other groups that gave poor grades to NYCHA’s repair system, highlighting problems with the timeliness and quality of repairs.