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Ja Rule joins City Hall rally for NYCHA residents with heating issues

The Queens native joined City Council members to urge the housing authority to fix crippled heating systems.

Rapper and Queens native Ja Rule joined a

Rapper and Queens native Ja Rule joined a rally outside City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, to protest alongside NYCHA residents calling for better living conditions. Photo Credit: William Alatriste

He may not have been on time to a rally outside City Hall Tuesday, but rapper Ja Rule had a lot to say about the decrepit state of NYCHA’s buildings.

The 41-year-old Queens native — whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins — joined City Council members and public housing residents urging the housing authority to fix crippled heating systems across the city. Atkins, who arrived 23 minutes into the rally, called out the mayor and the governor for leaving tenants in “Third World conditions.”

“It’s been going on for a long time and it’s time for we, the people, to stand up and let our voices be heard,” he said.

A report released two weeks ago by City Councilman Ritchie Torres found that more than 323,000 NYCHA residents experienced issues with their heat between Oct. 1, 2017 and Jan. 22. Atkins said he experienced living with no heat when he grew up in Hollis, and that no one should have to experience that hardship — especially children.

He said more rallies and protests will be coming if NYCHA doesn’t act on these problems.

“I don’t know how far this will take us, but this is the first step,” he said.

NYCHA spokeswoman Jasmine Blake said the agency appreciated Atkins’ feedback.

“We hope today’s rally will highlight the catastrophic cuts proposed by the Trump administration and the need to support public housing as a vital resource,” she said in a statement.

Torres said he and other Council members would keep fighting the agency to get results.

“I have a clear message for the powers that be at City Hall: if you can’t turn up the heat in our apartments, we will turn up the heat on you,” he said.

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