Public Housing Tenants in East Harlem Threaten Rent Strike

Tenants were given hot plates and told gas wouldn't be back on for months at the East Harlem building

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    NEWSLETTERS

    City officials say gas will be back on soon at a NYCHA-run building in East Harlem where tenants threatened to stop paying rent after spending the last three weeks cooking on hot plates. Ida Siegal reports. (Published Thursday, Sep 5, 2013)

    Gas will be back on soon at a public housing building in East Harlem where tenants threatened to stop paying rent after spending the last three weeks cooking on hot plates, the city says.

    People living in the Lexington Houses on East 99th Street were given hot plates and told they couldn't use their stoves until Oct. 31 due to a gas leak. Residents like Linda Green said the solution wasn't acceptable.

    "This thing is for heating stuff up, you can’t cook on this thing," Green said about her hot plate. "It’s been hard, I have to to go to the restaurant to eat and I’m on a fixed income."

    But the housing authority said it would get gas service restored by the end of the week after the tenants considered the strike and NBC 4 New York asked about the building.

    "NYCHA staff has been actively completing critical steps to ensure the safe restoration of gas service for residents and employees," the authority said in a statement.
    But the gas isn't the only problem at the building, residents say. There’s water damage in the building’s lobby ceiling, peeling paint, mold in the bathrooms and damaged mailboxes.
    Crews came to make cosmetic repairs to the lobby this week, but tenant Manny Perez said little else has been done.
    "Nobody has been to the facility at all," Perez said. "I haven’t seen nobody try to work."
    The tenants weren’t the only ones dealing with the damaged building. Lexington Children’s Center is on the first floor, and the kids there haven’t had anything but cold meals for weeks, said Rosa Gillece with the daycare.
    "We cannot afford to have these children with cold meals all this time," Gillece said.

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