HORROR INSIDE NYCHA

April 26, 2018 at 6:45 pm

We take you inside the life of New York Public Housing and the horror stories. Tonight, a first-hand tour of the Red Fern Houses.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

Aired on April 26, 2018.

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>>> AS PART OF OUR ONGOING
INITIATIVE CHASING DREAM,
POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN
AMERICA, OUR COVERAGE OF THE
FIGHT BETWEEN THE NEW YORK CITY
HOUSING AUTHORITY AND RESIDENTS
OF CITY HOUSING TAKES US TO THE
RED FERN HOUSES IN FAR ROCKAWAY
QUEENS TENANT ASSOCIATION
PRESIDENT GLENN COLLINS TOOK US
ON A TOUR OF THE NEGLECT HE
CALLS HOME.
THIS IS HIS FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK.
>> RIGHT NOW IN FAR ROCKAWAY,
RED FERN FAR ROCKAWAY, THE OTHER
SIDE OF QUEENS.
AND WHAT WE ARE DOING IS TRYING
TO SHED LIGHT ON WHAT'S GOING ON
IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR THE WORK
THAT'S NOT BEING DONE.
PEOPLE PAYING RENT, I'M GLENN
COLLINS I'M THE TENANT
ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT OF RED
FERN HOUSE.
WHAT WE DO IS DISSEMINATE
INFORMATION AND WE ARE LIAISONS
BETWEEN THE PEOPLE AND NYCHA.
WE HAVE A LOT OF ISSUES THAT
NEED TO BE ADDRESSED.
>> HOW YOU ALL DOING?
AS YOU CAN SEE THE LIGHTS IS ON
IN THE DAY TIME.
WHEN THEY ARE OUT WHEN WE NEED
THEM ON ADDED NIGHT THEY'RE NOT.
BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT IN SYNC WITH
THE CITY LIGHTS.
YOU CAN SMELL THE MOLD AS YOU
ENTER THE BUILDING.
IN DOESN'T NEED A TICKET.
LOOK.
THE PRIMARY THING, THAT AIN'T
OVERNIGHT.
THAT LOOKS LIKE BREAD MOLD
WE HAVE AN ELECTRICAL BOX WITH
WATER DAMAGE BEHIND IT.
OBVIOUSLY NOBODY CARES, RIGHT?
THERE IS CRACKS IN THE WALLS,
LITERALLY.
SO SOMEONE'S CEILING OR THAT
FLOOR POPS THEY MAY BE IN
JEOPARDY.
THE NUMBER ONE THING I CAN
UTILIZE, COMMUNICATION BETWEEN
RESIDENTS AND NYCHA, PERIOD.
MOLD LITERALLY HANGING FROM THE
WALL, FROM THE CEILING.
MOLD WATER DAMAGE.
NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO LIVE LIKE
THIS.
>> THE PROBLEMS THAT ARE CREATED
BY THE HEAT NOW IS YOU CAN'T
CONTROL IT.
YOU CAN'T TURN IT DOWN.
CAN'T TURN IT UP.
ALSO THE PIPES GENERATE MOLD.
WHEN THE STEAM GOES THROUGH WHAT
COMES OUT WITH THE STEAM?
THIS IS WHAT WE BREATHE IN.
WHEN YOU LEAVE YOUR APARTMENT IN
THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR APARTMENT IS
WORSE THAN THE INSIDE OF YOUR
APARTMENT, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL?
IT LITERALLY LOOKS LIKE NEW JACK
CITY IN SOME OF THE BUILDINGS.
THAT'S A SAFETY ISSUE.
THERE IS NOT ANY CONNECTED.
MOST OF THE PEOPLE IFG WORKING
FOR NYCHA DON'T LIVE IN NYCHA
THAT MAKE THE DECISIONS FOR US.
WE'RE NOT AT THE TABLE THAT'S
DISCUSSING WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO
HELP US.
>> FOX FIVE AND HOT NUTTY 7
PRESENT STREET SOLDIERS.
>> I HAD TO GO TO "7" TO SPEAK
TO THE CONTROLLING EXECUTIVE
OFFICERED OF NYCHA.
>> KWLAES IT BEEN LIKE FOR YOU,
GLENN?
YOU MADE CALLS AND COMPLAINTS
SPECIFICALLY ABOUT YOUR
APARTMENT.
>> CALLS COMPLAINT, DEVELOPMENT
COMPLAINTS, INDIVIDUAL
COMPLAINTS.
EMAILS TEXT MESSAGES.
EVERYTHING WE COULD DO UNDER THE
SUN.
>> GO AHEAD.
GIVE US A BIG PICKART.
>> I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO
TALK ABOUT THE SPECIFIC
DEVELOPMENT NOT MR. COLLINS AND
HIS FAMILY RESIDE IN AND THE
BROADER PORTFOLIO ISSUESES.
>> I DON'T KNOW IF SHE TURNED
DOWN THE OPTION OF COMING TO FAR
ROCKAWAY TO SPEAK TO THE PEOPLE,
BECAUSE HONESTLY WE'RE IN 7 AND
FAR ROCKAWAY I DON'T KNOW
ANYBODY THAT CAN SEE THAT FAR.
HOW CAN YOU SEE IF YOU DON'T
COME?
IF PEOPLE ARE BEHIND IN RENT AND
TAKEN TO COURT BUT NYCHA HAS
BEEN SHONE TO EMBEZZLE MILLIONS,
ALL PEOPLE DO IS RESIGN, THAT'S
A PROBLEM.
>> TRYING TO.
TRYING TO.
>> I SEE DOING IT MAN.
KEEP DOING YOUR THING.
>> TRYING TO, MAN.
>> ABSOLUTELY, MAN, LOVE YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> I LIVED HERE FROM 1984 UNTIL
PRESENT.
HURRICANE SANDY HAPPENED.
WE HAD NO REPRESENTATION.
THE ELEVATORS AND STUFF DIDN'T
WORK.
A LOT OF PEOPLE DIDN'T HAVE
POWER.
NOT TO MENTION MY SON JUST CAME
HOME FROM HIS THIRD AND FINAL
OPEN HEART SURGERY.
MY WIFE IS INSULIN DEPENDENT,
TYPE I DIABETIC.
NO REFRAJ FWRIJ RATER, NO
INSULIN.
SOMEBODY HAD TO SPEAK UP FOR THE
PEOPLE.
WE DO HAVE PEOPLE THAT ARE
SINGLE.
WE DO HAVE FAMILIES. DO HAVE TH
MIXED BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND
WE ARE A COMMUNITY FIRST.
WE NEED TO TAKE OUR COMMUNITY
BACK.
BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING STRIPPED
AWAY FROM US.
AND WE NEED TO THE COMMUNITY
PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS TO BE
MORE INVOLVED WHERE THE NEW YORK
CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY RULES AND
REGULATIONS, ESPECIALLY WHEN
THEY'RE BEING MADE --
>> YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE ALONE
AND TALKING ON DEAF EARS WHAT
WOULD IT DO TO YOU?
YOU EVENTUALLY GET NUMB TO IT
AND THINK IT'S OKAY.
THIS IS THE EVERYDAY LIFE WHEN
IT'S ACTUALLY NOT.
SEE THIS RIGHT HERE?
SOMEBODY GOT SHOT AT.
AND THAT HAS YET TO BE DONE.
NOTHING HAS YET TO BE DONE.
AND THE CALL SYSTEMS DON'T WORK.
YOU CAN SEE THE DOOR IS WIDE
OPEN.
YOU KNOW THE REPUTATION OF
PUBLIC HOUSING BEFORE YOU GET
HERE IS LIKE WELL PEOPLE LIVING
THERE DON'T CARE ABOUT WHERE
THEY LIVE AND EVERYBODY IS ON
WELFARE.
NO, IT'S NOT LIKE THAT.
PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO GET OUT
OF THE POVERTY.
THEY KNOW PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES LIVE IN PUBLIC
HOUSING.
WHY WE DON'T HAVE.
>> IT'S NOT EASY.
>> WELL I'M NOT EVEN IN YOUR
SHOES.
AND IT HURTS ME TO KNOW WHAT YOU
HAVE TO GO THROUGH.
>> WHEN MY CONGRESS RIS IT'S NOT
EASY TO HOLD THE DOOR OPEN AND
JUST PUSH MY LEG AND MY LEFT LEG
IS WEAK.
BUT I HAVE TO DO WHAT I GOT TO
DO TO BRING MALE TICKET TO MY
KIDS, YOU KNOW, FOOD FOR MY KIDS
TO EAT AND ME.
>> RESIDENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR
CONTACTING THE PLANNING CENTER
AND CALLING SKILLED TRADES.
WHEN WE CALL IN A TICKET IT GOES
TO THE SUPERINTENDENT.
THE SUPERINTENDENT SUPPOSED TO
SEND A MAINTENANCE WORKER TO OUR
APARTMENT TO VERIFY WHAT WE
REQUESTED.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WANT TO GET WORK
DONE BECAUSE WE HAVE GOT THE
MEDIA'S ATTENTION ON WHAT'S NOT
BEING DONE AND WHAT SHOULD HAVE
BEEN DONE.
BUT FOR SOME REASON THEY DIDN'T
TAKE US SERIOUS WHEN WE WERE
ACTUALLY TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING
INTERNALLY.
SO MAYBE THIS IS WHAT WE NEED
EVERY DAY.
>> THERE IS NO EXCUSE WHY THINGS
AREN'T BEING DONE IN YOUR
APARTMENT.
NOT JUST BECAUSE YOUR CONDITION,
JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE A HUMAN
BEING.
>> YOU RIGHT.
>> WELL -- WHO REACHED OUT TO
YOU?
>> NO ONE.
>> WHY.
>> THEY DON'T BOTHER ME AND I
DON'T BOTHER THEM.
>> YOU GOT YOUR TICKET.
>> YES I GOT MY TICKET.
>> BEFORE WE LEAVE.
>> SURE.
>> YOU CAN SEE A LITTLE BIT OF
RE-BAR FROM THE FLOOR.
>> I GOT SOME WRITTEN DOWN IN MY
LITTLE BOOK.
AND I GOT WHAT I DID WITH MY
RENT SINCE I LIVE HERE.
I RECORD IT, EVERYTHING.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON
WITH NYCHA.
AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON
WITH THE MANAGEMENT.
BUT IT'S VERY HARD.
>> WOULDN'T IT BE BETTER IF
PEOPLE LIVING HERE WORKED IN
THIS COMPLEX AS CARETAKERS AND
THEN HAD ROOM FOR GROWTH, SO
KNOW THAT THERE WAS AN INSURANCE
POLICY WHERE THEY COULD BE
TOOKEN CARE OF.
>> THEY REPRESENT US BUT DON'T
WANT TO COME HERE AND TALK TO US
ABOUT ANYTHING THAT'S GOING ON.
>> I GOT A QUESTION FOR NYCHA
OFFICIALS.
YOU DON'T WANT TO BE CRITICIZED
BY RESIDENTS.
YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHO YOU
ARE REPRESENTING?
WE WOULD LOVE TO KNOW.
BUT IF YOU GIVE US ANSWERS, WE
CAN'T ASSUME.
BUT BEING THAT NO ONE IS SAYING
ANYTHING, WHAT ARE WE LEFT TO
THINK ABOUT?
>> WE HAVE INVITED NYCHA ON THE
PROGRAM AND ARE IN THE PROCESS
OF COORDINATING A DATE FOR THEIR
APPEARANCE.
WE'LL CONTINUE TO COVER THE
ONGOING AND VERY IMPORTANT
STORIES AS FURTHER NEWS ON NYCHA
AND AFFECTS ON NEW YORK CITY
RESIDENTS UNFOLD.
IF YOU LIVE IN NYCHA HOUSINGEN
NEED ASSISTANCE OR REPAIRS
PLEASE VISIT US ON
METROFOCUS.ORG FOR INFORMATION
ON WHERE TO GET HELP.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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