As NYC dug itself out of its biggest blizzard in five years and a snowstorm this past weekend, seniors in NYCHA housing in Tremont are freezing in their apartments.
Residents in the Twin Peaks East apartments at 2070 Clinton Ave., are living without heat.
On Feb. 3, Councilman Fernando Cabrera joined the tenants as they demanded NYCHA take action and make the proper repairs.
“Even as we see this arctic blast continuing we continue to have this lack of response by NYCHA,” Cabrera exclaimed. “NYCHA is hiding behind the fact that residents can’t make 311 calls to complain about the worst landlord in the city.”
While the councilman does not represent this district, he came to help as there is still a vacancy due to Congressman Ritchie Torres’ departure.
The lawmaker stressed that no one should have to sleep with layers of coats or blankets or use a stove for heat.
Cabrera noted this is a citywide problem and has introduced legislation that would allow NYCHA residents to make 311 complaints.
“It is not fair, it’s not right and NYCHA needs to step up right now,” he shouted.
President of the Tenant Association of Twin Peaks East Queen McFarland thanked Cabrera for coming to assist them, but is furious with the city.
McFarland, who has been living there five years, said this problem is not new. The media has been called the past couple winters and only then do people seem to care about seniors freezing.
According to McFarland, NYCHA has told them that the terrace doors and windows need to be fixed and if they turn up the heat on the boiler a pipe will burst.
“We’re seniors, we worked all our lives, we paid our dues, we paid our taxes, we raised our children and this is supposed to be the end of our lives,” she said. “Why shouldn’t we be comfortable? It seems nobody cares about our seniors.”
She noted that some residents stay with relatives in the winter, while others resort to using the stove for heat, which is unsafe.
Blanca Nieves, 80, who has lived in the building for seven years voiced her anger with NYCHA.
“The apartment is super cold,” she stated. “We do need help and we need it now, not tomorrow, not later, next year, we need it now.”
Al Quattlebaum, president of See us Rise Above and a community activist, is outraged that the city is forcing seniors to live like this.
Quattlebaum stressed that it is a right to have heat, not a privilege.
“When is it right for a senior to have to boil water for heat,” he said. “When is it right for a senior to have to turn to the oven as a source of heat.”