Yellow ooze. Collapsing cabinets. Water spraying out of a pipe — visible thanks to a hole in the wall. Incessant mold.
Tenants at the Bushwick Houses detailed the shocking conditions and complaints of staggering neglect by the city’s scandal-scarred Housing Authority on Friday as elected officials rallied to demand urgent repairs at the complex.
“You get out of bed to use the bathroom … and you just step in it,” said Joshua Torres, 27, who lives in the Brooklyn public housing complex with his 63-year-old mother, Maria Carman.
“It’s just horrible because the water proceeds to get underneath my bed, even in the middle of the room.”
Another tenant who lives in a nearby building in the complex offered a similar story.
“They’re just horrible. They speak to you like you’re garbage,” said Natonia Dutes, a 43-years-old disabled student who needs a cane to get around and lives in the complex. “NYCHA would not come to assist.”
“Once it rains, it rains in my living room. Literally,” she added.
The list of horrors in her apartment runs the gamut from unfixed holes in her living room wall to a rotted-out bathroom, where she said one NYCHA repairman told her to replace the sink herself.
“As elected officials, we feel helpless in telling them [tenants]: ‘Put your tickets in, the repairs will come. Put your tickets in, the repairs will come. There’s a system to handle that,’” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso during a press conference at the project. “There isn’t! It isn’t! That system does not work.”
Federal authorities mounted a partial takeover of NYCHA — which is the biggest landlord in the five boroughs — in 2019 as years of scandals over lead paint exposure, mismanagement, failed repairs, heating failures and decrepit living conditions crescendoed.
NYCHA estimates the 1,220-apartment complex that was opened in 1960 needs at least $315 million in work to bring it back to a good state of repair. All told, the agency estimated in 2017 that it needs more than $40 billion to fix all of its apartments, which totaled more than 186,000 at the time.
After years of resistance, former Mayor Bill de Blasio OK’d a strategy in 2018 to raise an estimated $13 billion through partnerships with private developers, which would allow NYCHA to receive additional federal funds to repair about 60,000 apartments.
“NYCHA staff and plumbers have been working to address these leaks, and will continue to identify and repair these lines until all work is completed,” said a NYCHA spokeswoman. “Our dedicated staff works 24/7 to address issues caused by crumbling infrastructure due to decades of disinvestment.”