Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is demanding answers from the New York City Housing Authority after he donated over $100,000 last year for new computers that never materialized.
Diaz, who was joined by dozens of tenants outside of the Bronx River Houses on Wednesday, said his office gave NYCHA $139,000 in capital funding to buy new computers and provide technical assistance to community centers at the development as well as at the Sonia Sotomayor Houses and the Soundview Houses.
The funds were expected to be used for a pilot program that would help underserved NYCHA residents with everyday tasks such as homework and job searching, according to Diaz, but so far, the money has not been spent.
“No matter how great or small an issue, NYCHA can always find a way to fail,” Diaz said on Wednesday. “This latest escapade shows that NYCHA cannot even do something nice for its residents when someone else pays them to do it.”
The borough president also called for a review of how NYCHA spends its money.
A spokeswoman for the housing authority said NYCHA hasn’t bought the computers because the project is only partially eligible for capital funding and infrastructure repairs related to roofing and boilers are of a higher priority.
“We will continue to work with Borough President Diaz and the city to find a way for this money to best benefit our residents,” the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
Undaunted, tenant leaders at the developments have collected over 1,000 signatures on a petition demanding that NYCHA buy the computers before the start of the school year.
“I’m very disgusted because the community center is a resource, not just an after school or senior center but a safe haven, a tool,” Norma Saunders, a tenant leader at the Bronx River Houses, said. “We have residents that need this computer room to create resumes, students that need to apply for college. NYCHA, do right and release the funding.”