PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NYC Ombudsman: Public Housing Tenants ‘Have Gone Through Hell’

Virginia Portella pull a cart load of groceries to her third floor apartment on Tuesday in the Red Hook Houses residential complex in Brooklyn, N.Y. Portella and some of her neighbors have been without use of elevators after losing electricity during superstorm Sandy. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

More than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, 20,000 people who live in public housing are still without heat and hot water, and some still don’t have power.

Alisha Robinson lives on the 11th floor of one of those complexes and says she was originally stuck in her apartment after the storm hit.

“Our building did flood. There was water inside of the building, probably about about waist high. Until it receded, we were stuck in our apartment because I wasn’t walking through no water.”

Alisha has since left her apartment, and said she doesn’t think she should have to pay rent for the full month.

Unfortunately the situations there have gotten dirtier and less safe and less healthy over the course of two full weeks.

– Bill de Blasio, New York City Public Advocate

“For two weeks our building was unlivable, so I’m thinking that’s half a month that they should be giving, half a paycheck. I just feel that half time, half pay.”

But the New York City Housing Authority says tenants must pay their rent as normal, and that’s causing some controversy. Housing chief John Rhea said tenants will get a housing credit in January, calling it a “nice little Christmas present.”

Bill de Blasio, who holds the citywide elected position of New York City Public Advocate, is among the vocal critics of that comment and the housing authority’s policy.

“John I respect, but he’s made a huge mistake in framing it that way,” de Blasio said. “Folks have gone through hell. I mean they’ve been through over two weeks of literally substandard housing conditions and for some of these housing developments it will continue longer.”

De Blasio said he walked through a public housing development in Red Hook, Brooklyn, last weekend that has not had electricity for two weeks.

“Unfortunately the situations there have gotten dirtier and less safe and less healthy over the course of two full weeks,” he said. “People feel very insecure, of course, whenever there isn’t electricity in their stairwells at night. You’re talking about an unacceptable situation.”

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

June 6 Comment

Introducing A New Here & Now Website

Coming June 9, 2016, Here & Now listeners and visitors will experience our stories and journalism online in a whole new way.

June 3 Comment

Teenagers Create Impromptu Exhibit At San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art

As the pair toured the museum, they wondered if they could do better. So 16-year-old Kevin Nguyen decided to get creative.

June 3 3 Comments

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Author Explores Conformity, Mental Health In New Teen Novel

Matthew Quick published his fourth young adult book, "Every Exquisite Thing," this week.

June 2 13 Comments

Do Meal Kits Provide Great Taste Along With Convenience?

Resident chef Kathy Gunst tested a multitude of meal kits, and gives co-host Jeremy Hobson the inside scoop.