NYCHA Residents Pack Federal Court

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

NYCHA Residents Testify In Court Hearing On Living Conditions

September 26, 2018 - 2:40 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Hundreds of NYCHA residents packed into a Lower Manhattan courtroom Wednesday to testify during a hearing on the disastrous living conditions at public housing complexes across the city.

More than 100 residents shared their stories on exposure to toxic mold, lead paint and rodents. Residents said they were always met with intimidation when they tried to complain.

“I got big mice living in my bed,” one woman claimed. “I swear to God. Even in my bed. One of them crossed my feet.”

Oliver Brisco claimed he slipped and was seriously injured in the hallway of his Lower East Side building, where the ceiling had been leaking for over a year. He said the lack of improvements and upkeep was “unacceptable.”

“I think that the Justice System needs to recognize that people are really crying out for help,” Brisco said.

Public advocates and clergy members appeared in court, following a $2 billion settlement announced in June by U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman.

“For too long these residents have had to put up with conditions that are indecent, unsafe and unsanitary,” Berman said.

"Current conditions at NYCHA are nothing short of deplorable," said City Public Advocate Letitia James.

Manhattan federal Judge William Pauley scheduled Wednesday’s hearing in an effort to help him decide if he should approve plans to clean up the city’s Housing Authority.

With the consent decree, the city has agreed to have an independent monitor oversee repair requests.

Michael Stanley, whose grassroots group Metro IAF has helped tenants organize, also wants the city to begin issuing fines and hiring outside contractors.

Judge Pauley, who must sign off on the agreement, has expressed concerns the monitor would not have a way to hold NYCHA accountable.