NEW BILL: 311 TO HANDLE NYCHA COMPLAINTS

March 03, 2018 at 4:30 am

The New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) is in more hot water after a new bombshell report goes so far as to compare the agency’s crisis with Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. New York State Senator, Jesse Hamilton, is here with an update.

Aired on March 2, 2018. 

Transcript Print

>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS," I'M RAFAEL P.
RAMON.
WE BEGIN TONIGHT WITH GROWING
CONCERNS ABOUT THE RISKS OF LEAD
PAINT IN NEW YORK CITY'S PUBLIC
HOUSING, A PROBLEM THAT SOME
STATE LAWMAKERS ARE NOW CALLING
THE NEW FLINT, MICHIGAN.
DAMNING NEW REPORT BY THE
INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATIC
CONFERENCE ACCUSES NYCHA, THE
CITY AGENCY THAT OVERSEES MORE
THAN 800,000 APARTMENTS ACROSS
THE CITY HAVE SOME FORM OF THE
PROBLEM.
79% OF THE RESIDENTS SAID THAT
NYCHA DID NOTHING WHEN LEAD WAS
FOUND IN THEIR APARTMENT, 63%
SAID THEIR APARTMENT HAD PEELING
OR CHIPPED PAINTS, AND 74% WHO
CALL NYCHA FOR REPAIRS ARE STILL
WAITING IN EXCESS OF A MONTH FOR
THEM TO SHOW UP.
THE REPORT LAYS OUT A LIST OF
LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS TO THE
ADDRESS THE ISSUES, INCLUDING AN
INDEPENDENT STATE MONITOR TO
OVERSEE THE AGENCY, AND 311
COMPLAINT LINE.
AND JOINING US NOW IS ONE OF
THOSE LAWMAKERS, STATE SENATOR
JESSE HAMILTON, WHO REPRESENTS
PARTS OF BROOKLYN, INCLUDING
BROWN HEIGHTS, WILSON AND ONE
S
SUN SET PARK.
YOU CALLED THE HOUSING CRISIS
THE NEW FLINT.
>> YES.
>> MARY BASSETT, WHO'S THE NEW
COMMISSIONER OF THE HEALTH
DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY, CALLING
THE COMPARISON BETWEEN FLINT AND
LEAD CALLING IT ALARMIST AND
WRONG, AND YOU AND YOUR PARTY
ARE PLAYING POLITICS WITH PUBLIC
HEALTH.
>> MY RESPONSE TO HER IS THAT
FROM 2012 TO 2016 THERE WERE NO
INSPECTION OF APARTMENTS FOR
PARENTS HAVING CHILDREN 6 YEARS
OLD OR YOUNGER.
THEY JUST LOST A LAWSUIT FOR $50
MILLION FOR A YOUNG CHILD HAVING
50 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF LEAD IN
HER SYSTEM.
WE BELIEVE IT IS A PROBLEM.
WE HAVE 400,000 PEOPLE LIVING IN
NYCHA HOUSING.
MYSELF AND THE HEALTH CENTER HAD
BEEN GIVEN LEAD TESTS TO OVER
100 CHILDREN OVER A THREE-WEEK
PERIOD.
SO WE BELIEVE THE COMMISSIONER
MAY WITH UNDERSTATING THE
PROBLEM WITH NYCHA -- BUT THEY
FIRED 152 LEAD PAINT INSPECTORS.
>> WHAT DID YOU FIND IN THIS
REPORT BEYOND WHAT I BRIEFLY
DESCRIBED IN THE INTRODUCTION
THAT SURPRISED YOU?
>> THE MERE FACT THAT THE
COMMISSIONER FOR NYCHA LIED
UNDER OATH STATING THAT THE
INSPECTIONS WERE DONE, KNOWING
THAT THE INSPECTIONS WERE NOT
DONE AND PUTTING CHILDREN AND
PARENTS AT RISK.
THAT'S THE MOST ALARMING THING.
AS A COMMISSIONER FOR NYCHA YOUR
DUTY FIRST AND FOREMOST IS THE
PEOPLE YOU'RE TAKING CARE OF.
AND YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
FOR ANYONE LIVING IN NYHCA, SO
TO KNOWINGLY LIE, STATING THAT
THE INSPECTIONS WERE DONE,
KNOWING THEY WEREN'T DONE.
EVEN THOUGH WHEN THEY FOUND OUT
THE INSPECTIONS WERE DONE, THEY
AREN'T REMOVING, YOU JUST CAN'T
PAINT OVER LEAD PAINT.
YOU HAVE TO REMOVE IT.
>> SO SOME OF THE SOLUTIONS
YOU'RE PROPOSING IS THAT NYCHA
NEEDS TO HAVE A 311?
>> THIS CITY IS THE FOURTH
LARGEST CITY IN THE STATE OF NEW
YORK, THERE ARE THE COMMISSIONER
LIED UNDER OATH, WE NEED SOMEONE
IN OVERSIGHT TO MAKE SURE THAT
SOMEONE IS WATCHING NYCHA, TO
MAKE SURE THAT WHAT'S EXPECTED
BY HER BY THE CITY IS BEING
DONE.
RIGHT NOW THEY NEED MORE MONEY,
WHICH IS TRUE, BUT AT THE SAME
TIME THEY NEED MORE OVERSIGHT TO
MAKE SURE THEY'RE DOING WHAT
THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO.
>> AND THEY NEED MORE MONEY, BUT
NYCHA IS FACING A $800 MILLION
REDUCTION IN FUNDS.
YOU SHOULD BE GOING AFTER THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WHO ARE
PULLING THE RUG OUT FROM THEM
FINANCIALLY, WOULDN'T YOU SAY?
>> SURE, BUT WE COULD BE MORE
EFFICIENT WITH NYCHA.
I GREW UP IN NYCHA, AND EITHER
YOU HAVE NO HEAT OR TOO MUCH
HEAT.
WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE PEOPLE
WHO ARE LIVING THERE, IF YOU'RE
NOT WORKING, YOU NEED TO WORK,
WE COULD LOOK AT MORE WAYS TO
DRIVE DOWN THE COST FACTOR AND
GET IT DONE.
>> ONE OTHER PROPOSAL THAT YOU
MADE WAS APPOINTING AN OVERSIGHT
LEVEL OF NYCHA, DOESN'T THAT
CREATE FRICTION BETWEEN NYCHA
AND THE CITY?
>> WE VOTED TO HAVE THE CITY TO
HAVE MORE OVERSIGHT AND THE
STATE TO HAVE AN INDEPENDENT
MONITOR, IT MAY BE CREATING
ANOTHER LEVEL FOR THE STATE, SO
THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE HAS
GIVEN THEM OVER $300 MILLION
OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS, AND
ONCE THE MONEY IS GIVEN OUT,
IT'S NEVER ALLOCATED FOR WHERE
THE NEED IS AT.
THAT HASN'T BEEN IMPLEMENTED
YET.
SO WE HAVE MONEY ALL RIGHT THERE
FOR NYCHA THAT'S NOT BEING FULLY
UTILIZED.
>> HOW SOON WILL THIS
LEGISLATION BE ENTER DEUCE.
>> IT HAS PASSED IN THE SENATE,
IT WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE
ASSEMBLY NEXT WEEK.
WE HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN
NYCHA, AND WE HAVE ONE OF THE
HIGHEST HOMELESS RATES IN THE
STATE.
HOMELESS SHELTERS SHOULD NOT BE
THE NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
WE DON'T BELIEVE THAT SELLING
THE LAND TO PRIVATE DEVELOPERS
ARE GOING TO HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE
LOW INCOME.
>> SOMEBODY FROM THE NYCHA
DEPARTMENT IS LISTENING TO US
RIGHT NOW, WHAT SHOULD THEY KNOW
ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING AND WHAT
THEY SHOULD BE DOING?
>> THEY SHOULD KNOW THEIR
RIGHTS.
THEY CAN START CALLING 311 IN
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, THEY CAN
CALL MY OFFICE, 284-7400.
YOU CAN GO ONLINE AND GOOGLE IT,
TENNANTS RIGHTS.
I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW
THEY HAVE RIGHTS, BUT WHEN THEY
GO TO GET A REPAIR, THEY'RE NOT
DONE.
YOU HAVE DOORS THAT ARE BROKEN,
YOU HAVE FRONT DOORS THAT ARE
BROKEN.
AND WHEN THE ELEVATORS WEREN'T
WORKING, A WOMAN DIED BECAUSE
SHE COULDN'T GET DOWN TO THE
LOWER FLOOR.
I THINK WE CAN DO MORE AND BE
MORE PROACTIVE ABOUT HOUSING IN