NYCHA faces lawsuit from Morris Houses tenants

A broken sink in one of the Morris Housing Project apartments
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

Residents of the Morris Houses are suing the NYC Housing Authority for multiple issues affecting their apartments such as mold, water pipe leaks and broken exhaust vents.

Twenty-five residents at the Washington Avenue building are a part of the lawsuit which is calling for a rent abatement as they wait for these problems to be addressed.

Members of the Urban Justice Center, the organization representing the residents in court, provided a tour of the apartments to show elected officials and the press the problems.

Many of the residents’ issues are occurring in their bathrooms.

Resident Daniel Stubbs, who has lived in his apartment for 15 years, currently has his bathroom sink sitting away from the wall, covered by a plastic bag.

He said it has been like that for the last two months.

In addition, he said the exhaust vents above his bathtub are clogged and there is mildew on the bathroom walls and ceiling.

“All I want for them to do is fix my bathroom,” said Stubbs.

Julia Saravia, who’s lived in her apartment since 1999, is also experiencing issues with her bathroom as mold and water leaks are plaguing the bathroom.

She said workers from NYCHA came to the apartment to paint and plaster the ceiling, but a year later the mold problem returned.

Fatumata Toure, is experiencing much of the same mold and water issues as Saravia and Stubbs.

In addition, she has to use a fan in the bathroom when using the shower because the exhaust vent in her bathroom is not working.

According to Rajiv Jaswa, UJC attorney, the previous judge on the case adjourned the case multiple times in the past year to give NYCHA a chance to address the complaints.

However, an apartment inspection in May of this year found many of the issues unresolved.

The case has now moved to a hearing. UJC and NYCHA were scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, September 1.

UJC did not immediately respond to a request for an update on the latest proceedings.

This lawsuit comes at the time NYCHA is working to improve some of its public housing.

Recently, NYCHA partnered with L+M development to improve housing at 520 E. 156th Street with upgrades such as new furniture, central air, new green spaces and a new basketball court.

This type of project is a precursor to NYCHA’s PACT program which will allow agency to use steps – such as partnerships with private developers and switching public housing to Section 8 housing – to give housing projects much needed improvements.

When asked about the current lawsuit from the Morris Houses residents, NYCHA said they could not provide comment on the proceedings.

“While NYCHA faces a dire financial situation after decades of government disinvestment in public housing, the authority is committed to creating safer, cleaner and more connected communities at Morris Houses and across the city,” said a NYCHA spokesperson. “NYCHA cannot comment on pending litigation or the specifics on this case.”

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at

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