For some people, Hurricane Sandy came and went, barely disrupting their lives or neighborhoods. Others, especially the elderly living in Brighton Beach and Coney Island, were not nearly as lucky. A report in the New York Daily News chronicles the weeks-long nightmare that elderly New York City Housing Authority residents have faced in Sandy’s aftermath.
Virtual prisoners of their own apartments, scores of seniors were shut in their homes without power, heat, hot water, and medical supplies, and had no one coming by to check in on or assist them. New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio blames the mayor’s office and NYCHA for failing to do a more extensive door to door check of people’s homes affected by shortages of essential needs.
The city claims to have visited more than 65,000 apartments, with 42,000 of those being NYCHA properties. However, de Blasio told The Daily News that the effort wasn’t enough. “They’re missing whole parts of the city. It’s scattershot. We hear it over and over: ‘No one has knocked on our door.’”
Those the city missed include Irine Lombardo, a 74-year-old Coney Island resident forced to evacuate her flood-damaged apartment to a friend in Brighton Beach. During the storm, she lost her oxygen tanks, and when forced to relocat to a friend’s fifth floor apartment in Brighton Beach, she had no access to electricity, heat, or hot water, leaving her trapped and vulnerable, and without proper medical care.
Irine’s friend, Olga Romanov, told The Daily News that, “Nobody came to us from the city. Nobody came to us from NYCHA.”
Through the combined efforts of de Blasio’s office and volunteers from the Physicians for a National Health Program, Lombardo finally got her oxygen tanks this past Sunday.