An amendment to the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act created by Reps. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Eliot Engel (D-Bronx, Westchester) to prevent public housing residents from having to live with insufficient heat during winter was signed by President Obama last Friday.
The measure, which was passed by the House unanimously earlier this year, mandates the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to give model guidelines to public housing units that receive federal funds for minimum heating requirements.
“I am extremely pleased that our measure is now the law of the land, and I thank President Obama for signing the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act," said Meng. “Our amendment will help ensure that heating standards used by public housing agencies are at levels that will protect tenants during cold and frigid weather. This past winter, severalNYCHA tenants – including residents at NYCHA complexes in Queens – complained that they were without heat during several frigid nights."
The measure was made as a response to reports that as recently as 2013, NYCHA shut down public housing properties' boilers unless outside temperatures were below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
“As someone who grew up in a New York City housing project, I was shocked and saddened to learn of these reckless and demeaning practices," said Engel. “Every American living in public housing pays rent and, in return, depends on housing authority leadership to fulfill a very reasonable need: a safe and decent shelter. I thank Congresswoman Meng for partnering with me in this effort to ensure that public housing residents’ health and safety are protected.”