NYC Public Housing: Fixing a Leak with a Bucket

The New York City Housing Authority, the country’s largest public housing agency, says it’s made major progress responding to residents’ requests for repairs. Residents tell a different story 


At Maria Santana’s public housing apartment on New York’s Upper West Side, dirty, black water has periodically poured in from the walls, from the pipes, from the radiator. She says the problems started two years ago.
“It’s so much water, it looks like it’s raining in here. I am scared,” Santana said. She has placed buckets throughout her apartment. Her couch is covered in plastic to keep it from getting wet.
Santana, 60, says she lives in fear that dripping water will come down on the electrical outlets and start a fire. She’s taped and covered some of her outlets with plastic as a precaution. 
Her red folder is a testament to how many times she’s tried to get help from her landlord, the New York City Housing Authority. Inside, scrawled in Spanish and broken English, are long lists of ticket numbers and notes from her calls to NYCHA’s hotline. Workers would come to the apartment sometimes and make small fixes, she said, but they never actually solved the problems. 
“They gave me ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket,” Santana said, paging through her papers. “Over here too, ticket, ticket, ticket, ticket. They just give you tickets. But they don’t do nothing.” (NYCHA’s media office declined ProPublica’s requests for updates on specific tickets, directing us instead to make formal records requests.) 
Santana, who’s been in public housing for more than two decades, has seen the decline of the NYCHA, which was once considered one of the nation’s best-run housing authorities. The agency, which is the country’s largest public housing authority and home to more than 400,000 tenants, has suffered from a decade of underfunding and aging infrastructure. 
To hear NYCHA officials tell it, though, the agency is making strides despite continued underfunding. Officials speak of improved customer service and quicker repairs. In recent years, NYCHA has issued press release after press release about its progress in clearing out a backlog of 330,000 repair requests, cutting it down by as much as 95 percent.
"If you call us with a leak on Monday, what we’re saying is we’re going to send someone to your house within seven days,” NYCHA General Manager Cecil House told ProPublica. He said that the agency’s expectation is that even complex repairs of apartments should take about 15 days. 
“While NYCHA is a very large and complicated organization with more work to do,” House said, “I do think we’ve made a lot of progress.”
But residents and NYCHA’s own numbers offer a more sobering picture. Residents, housing attorneys and community advocates say that across New York City’s public housing developments, they’ve continued to fight for months, even years, to get the agency to fix falling paint, moldy walls and water leaks. 
“It’s not true. Let me just state that emphatically. It’s not true that repairs are getting handled in much of a different way than they’ve been handled in the past 20 years,” said Grant Lindsay, a community organizer affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, a network of religious congregations and community groups. 
Judging by the agency’s own metrics, while the housing authority has done better in some areas, it’s still performing far below expectations. Basic maintenance in February, on average, took about twice as long as the seven-day target, and longer than it did a year ago. A plumbing job, on average, took 49 days. A paint job took 53. Plaster work? 63 days.



Land bill in sync with environment: PM

PM Modi said environment protection and development can go "hand in hand" but expressed disappointment that "lies" were being floated around in this regard


Seeking to scotch "lies" about the controversial land acquisition bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday declared that it rather synergized India's growth imperative with the need to protect the environment as tribal and forest land has been kept out of its purview.
Inaugurating state environment and forest ministers' conference here, Modi said environment protection and development can go "hand in hand" but expressed disappointment that "lies" were being floated around in this regard.
Giving the example of the land bill, he said: "The provisions of the bill do not touch tribal and forest land. But serious misconceptions and lies are being spread about it."
He urged those spreading such "lies" to desist from doing so and added that their attempts to "misguide society are harming the nation".
The two-day conference, also attended by union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, seeks to focus on issues of air pollution and confer better techniques of solid waste management and sewage water treatment.
It will also discuss the recommendations of a report by a high-level committee, headed by former cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramanian. The committee recommended that country's green laws be reviewed.
Reflecting on the union environment ministry's expectations from the meet, Javadekar said he hoped all states would partner with the central government in its effort to protect the environment.
"We have planned for quite an intensive interaction on all important issues of forest and environment conservation. We will definitely have a good, working outcome," Javadekar told IANS.
Modi also said India was ready to take the lead in fight against climate change but "people who lecture us on environment and the use of cleaner energy don't give us nuclear fuel (for clean energy)".
"These are double standards," he said, adding that India has to take lead in thinking of ways to protect the environment.
"We must think of traditional methods to tackle environmental issues. There can be green solutions in our age-old traditions," he said.
The prime minister sought to clear the "wrong impression" of India that it was not serious on environmental issues, saying the country had a culture in which the environment was equal to the divine.
Modi urged urban bodies to focus on solid waste management with programmes to generate wealth from it, adding that such authorities could recycle waste water and send it to farmers, who in turn would make use of it and provide other services like growing organic vegetables, which would make life easier for all.
The prime minister, who was presented a report on the status of tigers in India, expressed satisfaction on the increase in their number, adding that it reflects "India's commitment to respect for nature".
He also released a "Standard Terms of Reference for Environment Impact Analysis", which was described by Javadekar as a step towards ensuring "ease of doing business".
Modi also launched a National Air Quality Index, which will enable people across India to track the quality of air they breathe with the click of a button.
Available on the ministry's website after the launch in 10 cities in the first phase, the colour-coded index indicating air quality will provide real-time data detailing the level of pollution in a given city.


Hazare blows whistle on 'frauds' misusing his name

Claiming to be part of the anti-corruption movement, these elements contend that they have been appointed on various state, district or sub-district committees as Hazare's representatives, the 77-year-old leader said


Social activist Anna Hazare on Monday blew the whistle on what he termed as "frauds" misusing his name for personal gains.
"I have got many complaints about some people misrepresenting themselves as my workers and cheating the people...," Hazare said in a statement.
Claiming to be part of the anti-corruption movement, these elements contend that they have been appointed on various state, district or sub-district committees as Hazare's representatives, the 77-year-old leader said.
"I wish to inform the public that since the past two years, all committees of the anti-corruption movement have been dissolved and nobody has been nominated to any official government committees," Hazare said.
He urged authorities to take stringent action against such frauds who were misrepresenting themselves before the common people.
Hazare made it clear that during the anti-corruption movement, he did not nominate any individual to contest elections either individually or through any party.




2 years ago

धक्के पे धक्का, रेले पे रेला , है भीड इत्नी . . .पर दिल अकेला, पर दिल अकेला

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