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17 months after Hurricane Sandy, NYCHA residents are still waiting for repairs: report

By Greg B. Smith
March 11, 2014

Public housing residents in developments affected by the superstorm were told to wait at least six months for repairs, according to a new survey.

In housing projects hit by Hurricane Sandy, it’s like the recovery never came.

A survey being released Wednesday shows that nearly 17 months after the storm struck, public housing residents are furious at the glacial pace of NYCHA repairs.

Residents revealed that after the storm hit, they were told they’d have to wait at least six months for apartment repairs at badly damaged NYCHA developments.

And after the storm, mold infestation — already a problem across the authority’s 340 developments — actually got worse in Sandy-affected NYCHA apartments in Brooklyn, Queens and lower Manhattan, the survey found.

A coalition of nonprofit advocacy groups, including Community Voices Heard and the Urban Justice Center, surveyed 597 NYCHA tenants in developments that were hit hardest by the October 2012 superstorm.

Sandy wreaked havoc for 80,000 public housing residents in low-lying areas in Red Hook and Coney Island, Brooklyn; Far Rockaway, Queens; and lower Manhattan.

Tenants waited weeks for heat, hot water and power to be restored — with little communication from the New York City Housing Authority. They relied instead on volunteer groups that showed up to lend a hand.

NYCHA continues to use 24 temporary boilers at 16 developments. Residents recently learned the devices — which have a tendency to break down in frigid weather — will remain in place well into 2016.

Of those surveyed, 62% said they were told after the storm there would be a six-month — or longer — wait for repairs. About half, 55%, said they were already awaiting repairs when Sandy hit, and 40% said Sandy caused new repair requests.

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