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Queens Chronicle

Woodside Houses residents want fixes

Following mayoral hopefuls’ NYCHA sleepover, Queens calls for repairs

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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:53 am, Thu Aug 1, 2013.

The Woodside Houses Tenants Association wants to form a quality of life committee so the New York City Housing Authority can work directly with its tenants to fix problems that have been backlogged for years, Annie Cotton-Cotton Morris, president of the association, said.

Morris stood with Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and several Woodside Houses senior residents on Monday morning who have been asking for repairs for years.

The push comes on the heels of five mayoral hopefuls sleeping over Saturday night at the Lincoln Houses in Harlem.

“I don’t know where to start,” Tina Ferguson, 53, said outside the Woodside Houses.

Because of a severe lung condition worsened by the mold in her apartment she spends many nights at her mother’s house in Jamaica.

For the last decade her bathroom sink has fallen off the wall several times because of cracking tiles and mildew, followed by shoddy repairs.

Beth Anderson, 65, has asbestos under her cracking tiles and a broken kitchen window.

Orrie William, 67, has to pour water into her toilet to get it to flush.

As at the Lincoln Houses there’s trash in the playground and the smell of urine in the elevators and stairwells. Anderson and Yeteva Rich, who both use scooters to get around, once couldn’t get up to their apartments until 4 a.m. because of broken elevators.

Rich, who has lived in the houses for 47 years, has rotting pipes in her kitchen and an oven that doesn’t work. She waited weeks for NYCHA to send someone to repair her oven.

“I’ll sit there all day and then they don’t come,” Rich said.

Many of the seniors try to fix some of the problems themselves, but most have health problems and tight budgets that stand in their way.

All the women spoke of rat and roach infestations and Van Bramer held up pictures of gaping vermin holes surrounding the senior center that doubles as a youth center.

“The public housing residents are just as good and just as worthy as the wealthiest of New Yorkers,” Van Bramer said.

In April, he announced the NYCHA was moving forward on a project to install 137 cameras in the lobbies, entrances and basements of all 20 buildings at Woodside Houses. The fittings have gone up, but residents are still waiting for the cameras, which were slated for completion by July 31.

Three years ago, Van Bramer funded a project at the nearby Queensbridge Houses for a new senior center bathroom. NYCHA recently told him the repairs will probably be made in the next two years.

By July 1, NYCHA had reduced the number of open work orders to less than 220,000 from a peak of 423,000 earlier in the year, according to the agency. Its goal is to answer all work orders, which it closes at a rate of 10,000 per day, by the end of the year. It receives 9,000 requests a day.

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