A six-decade-old public housing development in Williamsburg has decayed into a house of horrors marred by moldy dwellings, widespread water damage and vexing vermin, seven New York politicians charged Monday in a letter demanding accelerated repairs.
A doorknock sweep of two of the nine buildings at Bushwick/Hylan Houses found more than 100 units with water damage and mold, according to the letter to the New York City Housing Authority, which runs the development.
Jennifer Gutiérrez, the local city councilwoman who led the letter and helped conduct the sweep, said about a third of the units visited had vermin infestations. Others lacked working sinks, she said.
“They’re pretty uninhabitable conditions,” Gutiérrez, a Democrat, said in an interview. “Folks sadly have become so conditioned to the lack of response.”
The Bushwick/Hylan Houses opened in 1960 and serve some 3,200 New Yorkers, according to the Housing Authority. Gutiérrez held a news conference in May focused on conditions in the complex, she said, but repairs have been halting.
The letter, which was also signed by officials including Rep. Nydia Velázquez, a Brooklyn Democrat, said promises of new tiling, paint jobs and other repairs have gone unfulfilled.
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Residents have seen their requests unanswered, or have had their request tickets closed without resolution, the letter said. Hallways and storage rooms have also leaked, the letter noted.
“We were told that repairs would be imminent,” the letter said. “We are hopeful that we can resolve this issue with the speed our constituents deserve, after this prolonged period of inaction.”
The Housing Authority said in a Monday statement that it “understands the frustration at the number of plumbing repairs” needed at the development after “decades of disinvestment.”
“Bushwick Houses has more than $255 million in capital need,” said the statement, “and NYCHA staff work 24/7 to address these issues caused by the crumbling infrastructure.”
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The Housing Authority also said that it meets weekly with Gutiérrez’s office — a claim the councilwoman’s office disputed.
“We wish,” said Anya Lehr, a spokeswoman for Gutiérrez. “We are definitely not doing that. We’d love to, though.”