In what has become an all-too-familiar story, thousands of public housing residents in New York City were without heat and hot water on Monday, when temperatures dropped to single digits. On the coldest day of the year, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) reported nearly 12,000 residents were experiencing heat and hot-water outages. A similar service disruption occurred roughly one year ago; during two weeks of brutal cold and a major snowstorm, the city had received 22,000 heat and hot water complaints, with a majority of those from NYCHA developments.
Close to 12,000 @nycha residents lost working heat and/or hot water over the last 24 hours at developments in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Monday was the coldest day this season so far. #ResidentsDeserveRentRebates pic.twitter.com/Rn0ga7bKDQ
— The Legal Aid Society (@LegalAidNYC) January 22, 2019
The Legal Aid Society tweeted on Tuesday that close to 12,000 NYCHA residents lost heat and/or hot water over the last 24 hours at developments in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan.
NYCHA responded by tweet: “Our staff are onsite at all locations making repairs. In prep for the freezing temps, we have approx. 400 heating staff working today and increased numbers at the CCC to accommodate a higher call volume.”
According to the New York Post, more than 2,829 residents were without heat at Brooklyn’s Bushwick Houses and another 3,000 plus residents at the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Houses in the Soundview section of the Bronx during the morning on Monday. At this time of the day, temperatures dropped to 4 degrees but felt more like -15 with the wind chill.
While heat returned to these two developments a few hours later, two additional NYCHA sites in Brooklyn were reported to have no heat or hot water. These included Bed-Stuy’s Sumner Houses, which houses nearly 2,300 residents, and the Kingsborough Houses in Crown Heights, home to nearly 2,400 public housing tenants.
According to the agency, service was restored at 11 developments in the last 24 hours. Currently, there are nine sites that reported outages on Tuesday, with over 7,300 residents affected as of this morning.
NYCHA defended its response time and said it has cut the average disruption to 10 hours, down from last year’s 36 hours. The agency has also opened 12 warming centers across the city, providing a place for residents with heat issues to go while repairs are made.
“The results we are seeing today show our efforts are having a real impact on minimizing the number of outages across the city,” Jasmine Blake, a spokesperson for NYCHA, told the Post.
But that response wasn’t enough for some critics of NYCHA. City Comptroller Scott Stringer tweeted: “Failing to provide heat when it’s 10 degrees with a -6-degree windchill is nothing short of inhumane.”