Heat Is On
July 12, 2002
By José Acosta
Despite the fact that the season for heating ended May 31st,
according to the law of multiple housing #79, many apartments in
the Sack Wern Houses of Clason Point Gardens public housing complex,
in the Bronx, which belong to the New York City Housing Authority
(NYCHA), are still getting heat. This has converted the apartments
into truly uninhabitable ovens in a summer in which temperatures
have surpassed 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ada Green, of Apt. A, Building 82, a preferred housing project,
had to present a letter from her doctor, Hagda Ceplova, of Montefiore
Hospital, after making several complaints to the Housing Authority,
so that NYCHA could find her another place to live. The doctors
note explains that the high temperature, which engages in Greens
apartment after 3 p.m., is life-threatening because Green suffers
from asthma, hypertension, vinitis, osteopenia, and dyspepsia.
"I have been complaining about this situation to the Housing
Authority by phone since May. But when I have gone there to look
for the papers, not a single complaint has surfaced. Last week I
obtained two of the papers, but NYCHA did not do anything about
those two complaints. So I went to the 43rd police precinct
and, they told me to call several places in Lower Manhattan. After
this they went to address the problem. They say that there are two
broken valves in the boiler; so that when you turn on hot water,
the heater looks as if it is going to explode," explained Green.
In the boiler room there were three men working, who explained
that they are contractors and do not work directly with the Department
of Housing. They did not want to identify themselves, but revealed
that they were changing a water meter gauge in the boiler.
In the office that administers the housing project, Janet García,
the assistant to the administrator, did not want to talk with the
press and asked us to communicate with NYCHAs Public Relations
Among those affected are the families of apartments 82B, 82A, 80A,
and 80B. In apartment 80B lives Mary Carr, a 77-year-old woman,
who leaves her home after 3 p.m. because she cannot stand the heat.
"I have two air conditioners: one up and one below. But turning
them on does nothing. I have to leave until the heat is turned off,"
The spokesman of NYCHA, Howard Marder, said that the problem of
the heating system in the apartments mentioned had been resolved
since July 8th. He revealed that he had sent personnel
from the projects office to investigate yesterday and that
on arrival at the apartments mentioned, "the heaters were not
on and there was no problem with the system."
We called Ada Green to confirm Marders statements, and she
confirmed that at the moment, 3:20 pm, the heating system of her
apartment was not on.
"After el diario/LA PRENSA left, the Housing Authority
sent the super of the building and a person from the administrators
office. They asked me about the problem and I answered that there
was no heating at the moment, that the problem starts after 3 p.m.
Right now the heaters appear as if they exploded from overheating,"
We called Marder again and he promised to return to do another
investigation of the case. However, at the time of this report,
Marder had yet to contact us regarding the results of the second
Reverend Mary Clemente, of Apt. 66B, said that the area in which
she lives, within the housing project, does not have problems with
the heating system, but as a consequence of this matter, the apartments
in this area do not receive hot water in the morning.
Several of the apartments in the projects of NYCHA are reserved
for homeless families. All families that have been placed in the
housing system by DHS can solicit this type of housing after having
spent 3 months in the system. Victims of domestic violence can solicit
NYCHA housing after having spent 8 weeks in the mentioned system,
and families with 6 or more members can solicit this type of housing
immediately after having entered the system. Families that have
been placed by the Housing Preservation Dept. can solicit this type
of housing from the day that they enter the housing system.
Translate from Spanish by Naomi Lim
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