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Housing project residents to city: Fix this mess!

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Tenants in one Williamsburg public housing tower are livid because the city refuses to fix leaky roofs and cracks that are causing sickening black mold to grow inside the residents’ otherwise immaculate apartments.

Residents of the top floor of a 21-story tower at Jonathan Williams Plaza, a Marcy Avenue public housing complex consisting of five buildings, say its tower’s leaky roof has not been repaired properly by housing workers despite several calls and visits over the past three years.

The leaks have been so bad they have forced a 75-year old woman to stop sleeping in her bedroom and caused an accumulation of spotted black mildew in a 65-year old man’s bathroom, the one blemish in his otherwise immaculate home.

Sixta LeBron, who has lived in her apartment for 26 years, has been visited by Housing Authority workers three times in the past year to fix the cracks in her apartment, but all they have done is put plaster and paint on the walls.

“Within weeks, the same problem returned and the paint was peeling again,” said Lebron. “It’s been going on so long.”

The maintenance workers have done little to fix the bedroom, which has a hairline crack stretching the length of the entire Sheetrock wall. During heavy rains, water comes in through the cracks above her bed.

“I have switched where I sleep,” said LeBron. “It’s cold in here because of the cracks.”

Eduardo Soto, LeBron’s neighbor for the past five years, has a small crack in the living room wall, and dents in the ceiling next to the chandelier, which maintenance workers have painted over.

“These people never fix the roof, they only fix the wall,” said Soto, who has had this problem for three years. “The water still comes down.”

The biggest problem is his bathroom, where mold and mildew have proliferated on the walls above the bathtub. He has called NYCHA many times and has even tried to fix the problem himself, dousing the wall with bleach, but the mold returned a few days later.

“I want to keep my place clean,” said Soto. “I just want to be finished with this.”

A Housing Authority spokeswoman said that the agency has been “working extensively” to improve the roofs of towers at Jonathan Williams and that $3.5 million in renovations should be finished by later this year.

“Williams Plaza repair involves removing the old roofs and replacing them with new ones at each of the five buildings of the development,” said Miriam Ayala, a spokeswoman.

“This includes brick repair at the bulk heads.”

Updated 5:41 pm, August 5, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Taxpayer from Not the Projects says:
Sixta has been living in city housing for twenty six years! That should be a crime! The audacity to complain about a leaky roof when you live off of the system!
Aug. 5, 2010, 5:12 pm
TruthAboutMold says:
Mold can cause serious health problems. For accurate information about the health effects of mold, go to http://truthaboutmold.info and http://achemmic.com.
Aug. 5, 2010, 11:04 pm
PJ'S from COOPER PARK PROJECTS RESIDENT says:
Its amazing how ignorant people refer to individuals living in the projects. Do you idiots even know why the projects exist, didn't think so, read up. The projects is a place to live, not a life style. Mold is a serious issue and if you have your counsel person call Mr. Hernandez at 250 Broadway, this issue will be resolved asap. For those responding to an article, stay focused on the issue before you, and instead of writing nasty things, go to the projects and express for feelings out loud.
Aug. 6, 2010, 3:53 am
laetitia from east new york says:
the projects were intended for people needing temporary assistance not life long! we need to change the laws so that the maximum stay is no longer than 10 years for all!!!
Aug. 6, 2010, 1:02 pm
Joe Z from Greenpoint says:
This is what happens when the sheeple allow the government to provide for all your needs. Big Daddy trains his subjects to depend on him from cradle to grave. Self sufficiency and the goal of succeeding on one's own are attributes long gone from the American character. Now, stand in line and be grateful.
Aug. 7, 2010, 9:04 am
Joe Z from Greenpoint says:
"Its amazing how ignorant people refer to individuals living in the projects. Do you idiots even know why the projects exist, didn't think so, read up. The projects is a place to live, not a life style."

I beg to differ. The projects become a lifestyle (which is one word, by the way) in the same way that Section 8, Welfare and other social programs created by the New Deal, Johnson's "Great Society" and more recent additions to government dependency have. Housing projects were created to eradicate substandard living and health conditions, which existed in tenement buildings, by providing decent and affordable housing for working families. They were never intended as dumping grounds for generation after generation of welfare recipients who, by virtue of the government subsidies and entitlements they receive, have no inclination, nor the incentive, to improve their situation.

Sure, there are good people residing in housing projects; but, the fact remains that the overwhelming number of residents are living on the taxpayer's dime. They pay almost nothing, compared to those who, out of pocket, pay their own rents in the projects. The people who don't pay act like it. Those are the ones responsible for the graffiti, crime, vandalism and general deterioration found in projects. This comes from a sense of entitlement. If they aren't paying for it, somebody else will clean up their self inflicted mess. That is when it is a lifestyle. Look at the condition of the Cooper Park Houses, where you claim to reside. Who's responsible for the vandalism, urinating in the stairwells and elevators and the generally unsafe atmosphere? It's not the working families who create this situation. These people aren't the ones responsible for using their apartment windows as trash chutes, thereby creating a litter and vermin problem, because they're too lazy to use the one in the hallway. The folks who pay their way have respect for property and their neighbors.

Don't think that the NYCHA maintenance staffs aren't disgusted with the situation. Their apparent indifference is directly related to the fact that, as soon as they finish repairing something, the same areas require their attention because those areas have been damaged through vandalism and carelessness. To them, it's an excercise in futility.

"For those responding to an article, stay focused on the issue before you, and instead of writing nasty things, go to the projects and express for feelings out loud."

What if I did? Will the deadbeats who are responsible for the deteriorated conditions want to give me a beatdown for "dissing" them? Culprits like to play victim when confronted by the facts, as evinced by their actions.
Aug. 7, 2010, 10:05 am
Rob from Greenpoint says:
Joe Z; telling it like it is. You the Man.
Aug. 12, 2010, 3:46 pm
JK from Bushwick says:
Raise the rent and maybe housing will have the money for the roofs and other needed repairs. All they did was plaster & paint? Maybe a band-aid on an obvious problem, but at least someone is trying. In 26 years, has Sixta saved a little extra cash so that maybe she could help out? Joe Z - wish I could have said it as good as you - you nailed it. By the way - maybe the resident should remove the cardboard & duct tape cover from their air vent... it's there to bring fresh air through the bathroom and reduce/eliminate mold formation. But hey - if there's no problem, there's no reason to hold back rent, right? Oh, and my heart bleeds for E. Soto - who has a small crack & dents right next to his chandelier.
Sept. 18, 2010, 1:57 am
LIsa from formerly of Williamsburg says:
Public housing is a form of housing tenure in which the property is owned by a government authority, which may be central or local. The common goal of public housing is to provide affordable housing. The different stigmas that have become associated with public housing has nothing to do with the developments themselves however the individuals that live in the housing that want or don’t realize they are becoming a statics. People ruin an area it is not the buildings that ruin a area. If you have no desire to improve your lifestyle or make life better for yourself or future generations you will live in poverty off the system; please do not blame public housing I grew up in public housing I did not realize they were the “PROJECT” until I was an adult because just about everyone worked or was a “house wife” in the pure since of the word. I didn’t have to worry about drug deals going on in the hall or urine in my elevators because the individuals I grew up with and their parent really cared about where they lived and educating their children was a priority. I went to college as did most of my friends. I grew up in Williamsburg. The rents in public housing have change they vary, you could be paying at least $1,100. for a 2 bedroom apartment if you are working don't think that everyone is paying a minimal amount. These individuals living of the tax payers dime, welfare should have stricter guide lines woman should not be allowed to keep having babies the city has to support, teach them a trade and get them working. Welfare is what needs to be short term not a life style, why not educate these men and woman and get them working and once they start paying their own way they will want to make changes in their life styles. Regardless of where you live if there is mold or or cracked walls or ceilings;under rentals laws and rules is it not accurate to state that landlord should make necessary repairs and perform maintenance tasks in a timely fashion, or include a provision in the lease stating that tenants can order repairs and deduct the cost from rent. The elderly on fixed incomes should not have to live in this manner. Again look at the topic at hand before you respond.
Feb. 26, 2012, 1:52 pm

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