City Council Members and Residents Call for Action From Cuomo on Dire Circumstances in New York City Housing Facilities, Including Lack of Heat and Hot Water

NEW YORK, NY – Chair of New York City Council Housing and Buildings Committee, Councilman Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., held a press conference this morning at 10:30 AM,  on the steps of New York City Hall, to call on Governor Cuomo to declare a state of emergency at all NYCHA facilities city-wide. 

“The ongoing problems at NYCHA demand an immediate solution. As recently as yesterday morning, I’ve received calls from residents of my district who are suffering without heat and hot water. This is wholly unacceptable and it demands an immediate solution. We are asking Governor Cuomo to declare a state of emergency at NYCHA facilities across the City, to ensure the repairs necessary are made as promptly as possible. The 400,000 residents of NYCHA deserve better.”

Cornegy was joined by Council Members Mark Gjonaj, Carlos Menchaca, and Bill Perkins, NYCHA Tenant Association Presidents Naomi Colon (Marcy Houses) and Leora Keith (Tompkins Houses), and NAACP NYCHA Branch Second Vice President Akil Rose.

“NYC’s low-income residents deserve to live with dignity, not in fear of losing basic services. NYCHA residents in Red Hook, including families with small children and senior citizens, have endured extreme and inhuman housing conditions due to lack of heating, gas and hot water for extended periods of time. Just this weekend, my office contacted NYCHA to resolve several complaints from residents who didn’t have hot water in their buildings. This is unacceptable. It is clear that NYCHA is in crisis and in need of a complete overhaul. I am proud to join my colleagues at the NYC Council in asking Governor Cuomo to declare a state of emergency on NYCHA facilities.” Council Member Carlos Menchaca

“It’s the tale of two tenants. Just because the city happens to be their landlord, NYCHA tenants shouldn’t be subjected to lead paint exposure, live with no heat or hot water or fear that the ceiling will cave in. The lives of 400,000 New Yorkers hang in the balance. A promise to upgrade boilers by 2022 will not do. We must act now!” Council Member Mark Gjonaj

“The appalling state of disrepair in NYCHA buildings, both in my District and across the city, is a serious health and safety hazard for residents. Too many parents and children have been exposed to either moldy conditions or dangerous lead paint, while families have suffered in the cold this winter without heat or hot water. I am proud to stand with Council Member Cornegy and my colleagues in the City Council in calling on the State to declare a state of emergency on all NYCHA facilities in response to this crisis,” said Council Member Rory Lancman

“There are thousands of New Yorkers living in substandard NYCHA housing,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “These residents are paying rent like every other tenant and they deserve to have heat and hot water. NYCHA buildings are in crisis and a more profound investment is needed. An immediate declaration of emergency is necessary to make these urgent repairs.”

In a letter to the Governor’s office dated February 14, Cornegy expressed grave concerns about the imminent threat that these housing conditions could have on public health and requested New York State intervention. The letter can be found below.

Citywide, 1-in-14 residents utilize the services of the New York City Housing Authority. With temperatures remaining low during the winter and early spring months, heat and hot water are crucial to providing livable housing conditions. Dangerous health effects of exposure to extreme cold include, but are not limited to, hypothermia and frostbite. Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to cold weather, as they lose body-heat at a faster pace than adults, and New York City Public Housing.


Cornegy Letter to Governor’s Office re: NYCHA State of Emergency