STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The holiday season is starting. While most New Yorkers are planning their Thanksgiving menu, many residents of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments – Mariner’s Harbor Houses in particular – are left wondering if they will be able to cook dinner.
Residents of 168 Brabant St. in the Mariner’s Harbor Houses have been without cooking gas since Sept. 3, when National Grid shut down service to the building after a resident smelt gas.
When an Advance/SILive.com reporter asked NYCHA last week for an approximate timeline for gas restoration, the agency said construction was set to start soon, but didn’t indicate a timeframe for completing the work.
And this isn’t the first time NYCHA residents have lived without cooking gas. Residents of the Stapleton Houses were recently without cooking gas for nearly a year. And if you look at NYCHA’s outages map on any given day, there are other developments across the city without cooking gas, electric, heat and elevator service for extended periods. On Monday, Nov. 14, the outage map showed 55 NYCHA buildings across the city with gas outages.
Over the last year-and-a-half the Advance/SILive.com has highlighted the appalling conditions at several publicly subsidized housing complexes on Staten Island. And it has sparked outrage and drawn the attention of community members, as well as local elected officials.
“Appalling,” “inhumane,” “preposterous,” “hazardous” and “unacceptable” are among the words local elected officials and community leaders have used to describe living conditions in Staten Island’s NYCHA developments.
In fact, NYCHA has been at the top of the Public Advocate’s “Worst Landlord Watchlist,” earning the title of the worst landlord in the city for the past four years.
And it’s not just about living without basic necessities – like cooking gas and hot water. Many NYCHA residents on Staten Island and across the city have reported abhorrent conditions, including mold infestations, insufficient heating, decrepit walls due to leaks when it rains, outstanding work orders with months passing and no action taken, and many reports of mice and rat infestations.
NYCHA recently made headlines when traces of arsenic were found in tap water in the Jacob Riis Houses — located in the East Village section of Manhattan — two weeks before tenants were informed. Greg Russ, NYCHA’s CEO and chairman, subsequently stepped down after the controversy. He continues to serve as NYCHA’s board chairperson.
‘DECENT’ AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The NYCHA website says city subsidized housing was designed to provide “decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.” The key word here is “decent.” The city can’t just provide housing for low-income New Yorkers with little to no upkeep.
The lack of maintenance at NYCHA developments on Staten Island and across t…