Some residents of the Langston Hughes Apartments in Brownsville have gone months without cooking gas, according to state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, who has given the New York City Housing Authority a “deadline” of tomorrow to fix the issue.
“It’s unconscionable that tenants at Langston Hughes have been without gas service for months, but what’s most shocking here is that NYCHA has not fixed this issue since it first arose,” said Myrie at a July 29 press conference. “This delay would be unimaginable in other communities, and we’re making it clear that it’s unacceptable in Brownsville too.”
NYCHA’s outages dashboard shows that the “B” line of the Hughes Apartments, a full 21 apartments, has been without gas since April 6, though Myrie says some tenants told him they’d been without gas since March of 2020. Residents have been given hot plates so they can cook in the meantime.
The outage dashboard currently shows 57 gas outages at NYCHA complexes throughout the city, with one Manhattan development being sans gas since October of last year. Part of another Brownsville development, the Glenmore Houses, has been without gas since December.
NYCHA claims that they need to perform asbestos abatement before working on restoring gas, a process they say is to ensure the safety of residents.
“While we understand gas service interruptions are inconvenient, we also want to ensure our residents’ safety as we work to restore service as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “We ask that all residents continue to use the MyNychaApp or call the Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771 to create a work order ticket for any maintenance needs, including service interruptions.”
Myrie, however, says that they can apply for a “variance” which would allow them to start work immediately. He has demanded NYCHA restore gas for residents by Aug. 1.
“We’re putting NYCHA and DOB on notice today: you must move heaven and earth to get the gas back on for my constituents at Langston Hughes Apartments by August 1,” he said.
The NYCHA system, which is comprised of 302 housing developments that feature a combined 169,000 apartments across 2,252 buildings, is home to 400,000 low-and moderate-income residents. The city is currently tasked with overseeing NYCHA, but investigations into its mismanagement led to the appointment of a federal monitor in 2019.
The 2021-2022 state budget allocates $200 million for NYCHA and $125 million for public housing across New York State, among other tenant-related priorities supported by the State Senate Majority to enact “meaningful change in communities grappling with housing instability and to reduce homelessness.”