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Bronx NYCHA tenants demand answers after water shut-off

"If the city and state could negotiate a deal for Amazon ... (they) can find the money for heat and hot water," said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on Monday calls

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on Monday calls on the housing authority to do more after residents at NYCHA's Patterson Houses lost water for most of the day Sunday. Photo Credit: John Roca

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined tenants of a Bronx NYCHA development Monday morning, demanding answers after a weekend water shut-off.

Tenants at the Patterson Houses said they were forced to take extreme measures when their apartments in eight buildings lost water for most of the day Sunday. The situation got so bad, some tenants resorted to retrieving water from nearby fire hydrants, according to Clarisa  Alayeto, who was at the housing development Sunday caring for her grandmother.

"Little children were making multiple trips with buckets to get water," Alayeto said.

Patricia Simpson, the Patterson Houses tenant president, said she and her neighbors received no communications from building staff about the water shut-off and no notification when their water was restored. She called on the public housing system to improve communication with tenants when these emergencies happen.

"If we're prepared, we can know what to do," she said.

A NYCHA spokeswoman said the agency was able to restore water late Sunday night and had staff on-hand to assist affected tenants. 

"This is yet another example of the problems we face given our aging infrastructure, but we must do better providing basic services despite these challenges," the agency said in a statement. 

Borough President Diaz Jr. said NYCHA could do more to make these repairs a priority, and urged the mayor to provide the authority with more resources. 

Diaz noted that the complex has had several heat and hot water problems in the last month and had to deal with a slew problems last winter. 

"If the city and state could negotiate a deal for Amazon ... then (they) can find the money for heat and hot water," he said. 

NYCHA has been under continued criticism and scrutiny after the federal government filed a complaint in June accusing the city of misleading the public about the scope of lead paint in its portfolio and the number of young residents with concerning blood lead levels, as well as deceiving inspectors about a slew of hazards by cutting off the water supply in areas with leaks and using mock walls to hide dilapidated areas.

Just last week, the housing authority reached a tentative settlement from a 2013 class action lawsuit filed by residents with asthma accusing NYCHA of failing to eradicate mold. 

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