Fresh off a trip to Washington and meeting with President Trump, Lynne Patton, the regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development returned to New York to face a roomful of NYCHA residents on the Upper West Side.
Patton had gone to D.C. with Carmen Quinones, president of the tenants association and a resident of the Frederick Douglass Houses. Quinones made it clear it wasn't about politics.
"I'm not a Republican, Democrat, nothing," said Quinones. "I'm a mother first, a grandmother. I live here and I don't like how I'm living."
Patton is wrapping up her second week of a one-month stay in NYCHA apartments to highlight problems in public housing. She hopes a newly installed federal monitor will help fix the broken system.
Earlier this week, she found herself trapped in a stalled NYCHA elevator.
"I'm staying at the Douglass Houses. They have three maintenance workers for 19 buildings," she said. "The best people can't keep up with it."
Residents who attended the meeting had mixed reactions.
One said of Patton, "This lady is here to fight for us."
But another wondered what came out of Patton's meeting with Trump.
"I think it was nothing. Nothing. What was accomplished with this meeting? What was accomplished?"
An I-Team report Thursday chronicled just how bad living conditions are for one family of five in a NYCHA building in Harlem.
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.
Patton is chronicling her time living with NYCHA tenants on her Facebook page.