As thousands of public housing tenants were forced to ask the NYCHA, ‘why not check here’, as they shivered due to heating and hot water outages throughout the city.
In response, City Controller Scott Stringer hit the NYCHA with a subpoena demanding reasoning as to why its managers have repeatedly and consistently failed to deal with complaints about the outages. The subpoena, sent to NYCHA General Counsel Kelly MacNeal, demands for internal documents by the 4th of December about how it handled heating and hot water outages from 2016 to May of 2018.
The subpoena requires that the NYCHA hand over all the copies of their work orders, and a full list of employees, who work for them or private operators, who were assigned with the task of getting the heating back on. The NYCHA has, repeatedly, rejected requests for the records.
Stringer says that, following the widespread heating outages, the audit of NYCHA’s systems are an attempt to get information from the authority, but have been met with only delays and unanswered inquiries. He says that the fact that they’ve forced to turn to the records, but be refuted as they ask ‘why not check here’, only to be met by the NYCHA deflecting inquiries, are disgraceful, especially as thousands of families in the city were forced to live without the most essential services of heating and hot water.
Stringer and his team’s audit begun last winter after more than 300,000 NYCHA tenants had to go through heat season, including a brutal January cold snap, without heating or hot water. This is the second subpoena sent to the NYCHA, the first sent out earlier in November, which asks for a list of everyone assigned to fix boilers, temporary boilers and any documentation related to boiler inspections. The more recent subpoena demanded for a comprehensive list of the tenant requests asking for heating and hot water repairs.
Housing Authority management has been under fire for failing to stay on top of a wave of heating outages sweeping developments, following the drop in temperature on New Year. While the NYCHA and Mayor de Blasio have said that they are doing what they can to handle the matter, there are still many tenants saying that little, if any, has actually changed.