Federal Administrator Gets Stuck in NYCHA Elevator - NBC New York

Federal Administrator Gets Stuck in NYCHA Elevator

Lynne Patton, who's in the middle of a monthlong stay in NYCHA housing, got stuck in an elevator while touring a building

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    HUD Admin Lynne Patton Gets Stuck in NYCHA Elevator

    Federal HUD regional administrator Lynne Patton got stuck in an elevator in NYCHA during her monthlong stay.

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019)

    During her second week of living in public housing in New York City, federal administrator Lynne Patton got stuck in an elevator. 

    Patton, an administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was touring the Douglas Houses Tuesday, and first checked out tenant Thomas Gilbert's home on the 18th floor. 

    "The shower doesn't work, they got a big hole, the air comes in here," he said, saying he hasn't been able to take a shower in two years. "I gotta close the door." 

    The plan was to check out another apartment in another building, but that proved challenging. Patton got stuck on a packed elevator, sitting on the 12th floor for 20 minutes, until the FDNY got them all out.

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    They emerged to cheers of relief. 

    "I don't want to blame NYCHA entirely. I think we overloaded the elevator," said Patton. "But according to some of the residents who live here, overloading the elevator is something that happens all the time. And the elevators get stuck all the time." 

    NYCHA said in a statement later Tuesday, "The alarm switch was accidentally hit in the crowded elevator, causing it to stop working for a short period. There was no mechanical failure, and staff were on site immediately to help everyone out after a few minutes. We thank FDNY for their fast response as well." 

    The tour of leaks, damage and disrepair continued. Ten-year-old Wynter Domeneck showed how NYCHA fixed her toilet -- with duct tape and cardboard. 

    "It's horrible because I'm 10. There's other people here that are kids," said Domeneck. "I don't think that little babies and the little kids should go through this, because they can die. Because all of this plastering issues and chemical stuff and leakage."

    Resident Carmen Quinones said her building is down to three maintenance workers.

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    "Three," she said. "Each one has seven buildings. These are 20 floors. Mayor de Blasio, you need to be checked! And I'm checking you." 

    Earlier this month, Patton's direct boss, HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, announced a deal with de Blasio that will install an independent monitor charged with reforming NYCHA so that tenants of the troubled housing agency get comprehensive repairs and long overdue infrastructure upgrades.

    Patton, who often clashes with Mayor de Blasio on social media, was appointed by Trump despite having no experience managing public housing. Before her appointment as New York's top HUD official, she was best known for being a Trump family event planner.

    But Patton has pushed back on the narrative of inexperience, stressing that her close ties to the president allow her to be an effective advocate for public housing residents. She said her overnight stays have gotten Trump's attention, and said Trump is scheduling a meeting to discuss NYCHA with her, possibly as soon as next week. 

    "He's furious," Patton said of Trump. "He might be president, but he's a New Yorker first. He wants to know why these conditions persist." 

    Patton is chronicling her time living with NYCHA tenants on her Facebook page. 

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