My attorney was amazing. Every step of the way she helped me out, there was…
Brooklyn A recently filed a lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) on behalf of Coney Island public housing residents who have gone months without cooking gas. Tenants across half a dozen buildings in O’Dwyer Gardens and Surfside Gardens have had to cook entire meals with just one hot plate—for some, it’s been a year since they’ve had a working kitchen. The lawsuit includes more than 50 residents, but hundreds of tenants have been impacted.
This week was our first court date, where in a virtual hearing the case was adjourned until November 1st. Last Friday, we gathered outside one of the affected buildings to give residents the chance to make their voices heard and share their experiences of how the outage has impacted them.
The lawsuit is a culmination of a year of demands for restored service from the tenant associations in the different buildings and tireless advocacy from State Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus, who connected the tenants to Brooklyn A’s services. Residents have struggled to maintain regular, healthy eating habits as the outages have made cooking time-consuming and forced many to regularly buy take-out food, a cost that adds up quickly.
“How can you maintain your health and safety when you can’t prepare a meal for your household?” asks Sophia Williams, Vice President of the O’Dwyer Gardens Tenant Association. “You can’t prepare meals to nourish yourself with one hot-plate.”
“This is about neglect,” said Joseph William, a resident of Surfside Gardens. “We deserve compensation, we really do.”
The assemblymember, several tenants, and Brooklyn A’s Kristie Ortiz-Lam, Esq., the Director of the Preserving Affordable Housing Program, all spoke at the press rally last week to demand the cooking gas be restored and that many other neglected repairs be addressed. Here are some of the highlights from our event:
“These tenants are living in New York City housing. The greatest, richest city in the world is not providing the most basic needs for their tenants.” – Kristie Ortiz-Lam, Esq., the Director of the Preserving Affordable Housing Program
“It’s really unforgiveable to charge people their full rent while you are not providing the amenities that are in their leases.” – State Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus
“We’re here because we’re not being treated as human beings.” – Sophia Williams, Vice President of the O’Dwyer Gardens Tenant Association
“NYCHA has expectations for us as residents; we have expectations for them as our landlords.” – Latoya Nunn, resident of O’Dwyer Gardens.