Cuomo Visits NYCHA and Declares a State of Emergency

by: JaydaM

Louis H. Pink Houses Aa NYCHA Housing Complex The photo was taken by JaydaM

Governor Cuomo Visits Housing Complex

Governor Andrew Cuomo went on a tour of a housing complex in East Harlem. The housing complex is apart of New York City Housing Authority. The complex is Taft Houses. The tour of the NYCHA complex comes after many NYCHA residents filed a lawsuit against them. After the visit, Governor Cuomo said he would declare a state of emergency because residents should live in better conditions, which did end up happening. NYCHA is officially in a state of emergency. During the tour, he saw broken stoves, mold, leaks and peeling paint. To make it worse during the cold winter residents had no heat or hot water. The governor is vowing to free up millions of dollars in order to get repairs done.

State of Emergency

A state of emergency was officially declared for NYCHA by Governor Cuomo. Governor Cuomo also assigned an independent monitor to oversee and expedite repairs. Declaring the State of Emergency has been the last act of the NYCHA feud between Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Governor Cuomo signed the order at the Johnson Houses in East Harlem but Mayor de Blasio was not there.

Shyann Giffith,  20 years old, a college student says “I am glad that the state of emergency was declared but it was long overdue. It should not take so much for people to live in safe and clean environments.”

There is $350 million to be spent to fix the repairs. The independent monitor is to oversee how it is spent and make sure it goes to the necessary issues. Jasmine Smith, a home attendant, said “I like that there is an independent monitor because NYCHA seems to never spend the money accordingly. I just wonder what they are doing with the money all these years.”

The monitor has not been assigned or chosen yet. Governor Cuomo left that part of the order to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Within the next two months, a monitor must be chosen. The monitor would be able to make changes to the management of NYCHA, they would have the power over NYCHA. They would also pick a private contractor to help fix the repairs.

Chairwoman Resigns 

NYCHA’s chairwoman Shola Olatoye resigns after Governor Cuomo declares the state of emergency for NYCHA. Olatoye was appointed as chairwoman four years ago by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The resignation will take effect at the end of April. Mayor de Blasio is defending her and applauding the “success” she has made over the last four years.

When Olatoye was first appointed NYCHA was facing bankruptcy, could not make basic repairs and was plagued with violence. Has she really done much to improve NYCHA? Many of the city officials feel that there weren’t much change. Many feel that she is resigning because of the credibility that will fall back on her.

The last couple of months have been hard for NYCHA’s chairwoman. There has been a lawsuit, no heat and hot water and the lead paint scandal. Health hazards have plagued NYCHA recently. Maybe Shola Olatoye could not handle it and knows there someone else more experienced to help fix it.

Is Governor Cuomo Faking It?

After viewing the houses Governor Cuomo is more concerned than ever, but many feel it is from the lawsuit residents have. CUNY York College professor, George White, says “The lawsuit by NYCHA residents probably has a little something to do with the Governor’s recent concerns about public housing in New York City.  However, I think the Governor is mostly motivated by his desire to run for President in 2020, as well as his on-going beef with Mayor DeBlasio.”

Change needs to be done because living conditions are important. Whether or not if it is because a lawsuit is filed, NYCHA Resident, Jasmine Smith,24 years old, says “There was a couple of times where it was really cold outside and there was no heat.”. If you are paying your rent you should be able to come home to a warm house.

Smith, Brooklyn resident, believes that if people did not file a lawsuit and get the media involved then actions would not be taken. This is not the first time and it won’t be the last, Smith feels.

Putting the blame on management 

Governor Cuomo is looking into many ways to help improve NYCHA’s living conditions. He is considering changing the management of NYCHA altogether. A real question, would be is the management the problem? White, history and philosophy professor said in an email interview “However, it seems a little foolish to blame NYCHA management if they have not had robust support and incentives to upgrade, repair, and maintain the public housing properties.  Of course, if the residents can demonstrate mismanagement by NYCHA leaders, then YES they should be fired.”

Life without heat

Shyann Giffith, a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, says ” Heat is a main necessity in the winter time. Nobody wants to be cold especially if they are paying rent.” Since October over 300,000 residents did not have heat. The outages lasted about two days and affected a majority of NYCHA residents.

The residents struggled with no heat during the most needed times. After one of this winters snowstorms. Many reported that they had no heat during and after the storm. Some even had no hot water.

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