Natasha Ishak

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It’s been days since residents at Cooper Park Houses in East Williamsburg haven’t had heat or hot water in their apartments. Things have gotten so bad that some residents have resorted to wearing blankets indoors and boiling hot water on the stove to bathe. The public housing complex is one of several buildings under the NY Housing Authority that has reportedly been experiencing long periods of no heat or hot water.

Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who represents the districts of Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Ridgewood, became aware of the situation after one of the building’s tenants sent a complaint through Twitter on Monday.

According to the councilman’s office, two out of four boilers in the building were down, causing a portion of tenants to be cut off from heating. By Tuesday, repairmen from the NYCHA were able to do a quick fix and temporarily resuscitate one of the dead boilers. Permanent repairs to the boilers are scheduled for Wednesday.

Cooper Park Houses isn’t the only building that has been left out in the cold. NYCHA’s Independence Towers, another public housing property in Brooklyn, has been without heat or hot water on and off for more than a week. Similar cases have popped up in other boroughs as well.

“There’s no new boilers and we have other kinds of leaks. Every time, something else,” said tenant Samuel Guttman during his interview with ABC 7. As temperatures plummet to the twenties, long-term repairs are crucial so that residents can stay warm. But so far, shortages have continued.

In December, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a new plan to fix severe issues plaguing the housing authority. The plan, dubbed “NYCHA 2.0,” outlined three major points: to hand over a third of NYCHA’s properties to be managed by private developers, build affordable housing on underused NYCHA properties, and sell off air rights which would allow developers to build higher buildings nearby.

The mayor’s new proposal was announced following a federal judge’s rejection against an agreement between NYCHA and US Attorney’s Office. The federal government could possibly step in and take over New York’s housing authority if no solution is reached by the end of the month. The decision would affect more than 400,000 New Yorkers who are living in public housing.

Cover photo courtesy of Erica Joy.

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