Photo by Robert Fernandez
With residents waiting for more than four years to see repairs to chipped paint, broken floors, smashed windows and malfunctioning electrical outlets – among thousands of other complaints – the Sheepshead Bay-Nostrand Houses are among the most neglected buildings under the New York City Housing Authorities’ management, according to a new “Hall of Shame” list produced by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
The two housing complexes, Sheepshead Bay Houses (2935 Avenue W) and Nostrand Houses (2263 Batchelder Street), rank 19th and 22nd worst, respectively, out of 349 NYCHA properties in the city, putting them roughly in the top sixth percentile. The rankings were revealed on Friday with the launch of NYCHAwatchlist.com, a Hall of Shame-style initiative by de Blasio to draw attention to the agency’s neglect of scores of properties throughout the city. The list came after it was revealed that NYCHA hit a peak of 420,000 backlogged complaints in January.
“Our public housing got this bad, in part, because there is zero accountability. NYCHA is a black box. Tenants deserve to know that their ceilings will actually get patched or that mold will actually be removed,” said de Blasio in a press release. “We’re going to use the watch list to hold NYCHA’s feet to the fire.”
Screenshot of the watchlist.
The website provides a detailed, sortable list of every outstanding complaint in each housing project, as well as the number of days residents have waited for action.
The Sheepshead Bay Houses’ 2,703 residents have 3,428 maintenance requests that have remained outstanding for an average of 349 days of no action from NYCHA. Almost half the requests (1,559) are for repairs to crumbling ceilings and walls, broken doors, and uprooted floors, for which the average number of days outstanding is 349. Residents wait the longest, 458 days on average, for a fresh coat of paint, which accounts for slightly over a quarter of complaints. But 122 complaints about pests including rats and roaches have sat unaddressed for an average of 250 days, and at least one unlucky tenant has had to live with vermin for nearly three years without a response from NYCHA.
The Nostrand Houses, home to 2,459 people, have 3,367 complaints outstanding, for an average of 318 days. Similar to the Sheepshead Houses, interior repairs to walls, ceilings and floors account for nearly half the complaints (1,515, waiting for an average of 349 days), and just over a quarter are comprised of requests for paint jobs (852, waiting for an average of 390 days). Residents also complain about leaky pipes and water trickling through the ceilings, for which they’ve been forced to wait for an average of 273 days, with the longest request – repairs to a shower – having gone unaddressed for more than three years.
The list reveals that more than 5,000 of the area’s residents are not only under neglectful management from NYCHA, but face the risk of tragedy every day. Between the two buildings, 47 requests for asbestos and lead removal, repairs to the fire sprinklers and suppression systems, and the replacement of fire extinguishers, have gone ignored for an average of 250 days, with the longest outstanding complaint being on file with the agency for 568 days.
The two properties are the worst of the 13 NYCHA houses in Southern Brooklyn, and among the worst in the borough, according to the website.
Making matters worse, the agency appears to do a terrible job communicating with residents about even those maintenance issues they are working on. After they came under fire in January, NYCHA has attempted to tackle more then 200,000 of the complaints – yet doesn’t appear to be able to answer residents’s questions. Two weeks ago, for example, NYCHA posted signs in the Sheepshead Houses warning residents of asbestos abatement, but failed to note where in the building it was and what risk, if any, it posed to residents.
Story continues after photo.
Source: Cookie Ann
That caused concern for Cookie Ann, one of the housing projects’ residents, and mother to a young asthmatic.
“I’m scared my son is already asthmatic and now has a nasty upper respiratory infection,” she told Sheepshead Bites.
When she tried to call the agency to find out what was going on, she said they had no record of work being done in the building.
“I just called housing and they had no clue about asbestos in our building but the city put up signs. Now I’m worried. What can I do?” she said.