theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Scenes from the Ninth Circle of NYCHA

Post Editorial Board

Icy “bomb cyclone” temps further exposed the city’s public-housing woes as 11,000 tenants went without heat and hot water. Residents at Woodside Houses in Queens say they suffered for three days.
It was the ninth circle not of Hell, but of NYCHA — and just the latest sign of dysfunction at the city’s largest slumlord, which teeters on insolvency and has a $17 billion capital repair backlog.
Mayor de Blasio’s knee-jerk response was to blame past neglect. On Friday he told Brian Lehrer, “Look, the blunt truth is because for decades NYCHA did not get the investment it needed, a lot of these boilers are in really tough shape. But the folks who work at NYCHA do a great job every day figuring out how to keep them going.”
He gave no hint of a plan to fix the problem. Of course, playing ostrich is his whole approach to NYCHA’s troubles.
The latest involves the use of uncertified workers to issue bogus waivers. And that follows the admission that NYCHA lied for years about its failure to inspect 55,000 units.
The city Independent Budget Office says 15 percent of NYCHA’s 400,000 residents live in troubled developments. Many buildings are in disrepair as residents report mold, unsafe elevators and unlit halls and stairs.
Not to mention no heat or hot water.
Yes, it started long before de Blasio: The agency’s operations people and the mid-level managers have built a culture of dysfunction and cover-up. But political appointees — like Chairwoman Shola Olatoye — embrace it as business as usual.
And nothing will be begin to improve until the mayor takes ownership of the Housing Authority mess, and devotes himself to remaking the agency.

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