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Public Housing Residents Demand Power As NYCHA Promises Rent Credits

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TWC News: Public Housing Residents Demand Power As NYCHA Promises Rent Credits
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As the New York City Housing Authority announced Sunday that public housing residents would receive January rent credits for days without essential services, some Brooklyn tenants told NY1 they were not sure when their utilities would be restored. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

The New York City Housing Authority is providing rent adjustments in public housing complexes that were severely impacted by Sandy.

The agency announced Sunday that for any days that the tenants were without essential services like electricity, heat, water or elevators, NYCHA officials will issue a rent credit on January rent bills.

The authority asked public housing residents to pay their full rent until the credits appear on their rent bills.

The news did little to comfort residents of the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, who spent nearly two weeks without heat, hot water and electricity.

"Crazy, no food, we got to eat tuna fish and cold cuts. We're getting tired of it," said a local. "Taking bird baths, I'm tired of it. I want to take a shower. I want to be able to sing in the shower."

The residents told NY1 they felt forgotten.

"Everybody wants heat, hot water and lights in their apartment, but you know they're giving us the run-around. 'Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow,'" said another tenant. "Even after Bloomberg said that everything will be hooked up in NYCHA by Friday, Saturday, never hooked it up."

They worried that as more days pass, the damage caused by Sandy will become irreparable.

"They're gonna knock down those tall projects over there because their foundation is bad," said a local.

Residents said their biggest problem is with NYCHA officials who have not given a clear timetable on when utilities will be fully restored.

"They don't tell us nothing. I would like to know when," said a tenant.

Some residents said they did not appreciate that NYCHA asked for full rent until the agency can give rent credits.

"That's unfair to us because we live here and we pay rent and the only thing that they're worrying about right now is for us to pay the rent," said a tenant. "Why should we pay rent if we're dealing with this?"

Consolidated Edison crews were in the neighborhood Sunday, but as they worked, tenants still wondered whether they would spend another night in the cold with their streets lit by NYPD flood lamps.

Meanwhile, NYCHA officials announced Sunday that all public housing buildings without heat and hot water would receive temporary boilers by next week.

They said on Sunday they had restored heat and hot water to two buildings in Manhattan's Gompers Houses and electricity in one building in Queens' Redfern Houses.

They also said that by Sunday evening there were about 6,847 residents in 33 buildings within six developments in the Coney Island and Red Hook sections of Brooklyn and the Far Rockaway section Queens who did not have power.

The affected developments were Coney Island I (Site 8), Surfside Gardens, O’Dwyer Gardens, Red Hook East and Red Hook West in Brooklyn and Redfern in Queens.

Another 18,140 residents in 96 buildings in 14 developments were without heat or hot water.

Those affected developments were Carey Gardens, Coney Island, Coney Island I (Site 8), Coney Island I (Sites 4 and 5), O’Dwyer Gardens, Surfside Gardens, Red Hook East and Red Hook Westin Brooklyn; Lower East Side Rehab (Group 5) in Manhattan; and Carleton Manor, Hammel, Ocean Bay Apartments (Bayside) and Redfern in Queens.

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