‘Enough is enough!’: Emotions run high in ongoing NYCHA saga

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff and NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 2/8/2018, midnight
Goose down jackets, doubled-up scarves, trousers-on-top-of-trousers, long-johns, thermals and gloves are what some NYCHA residents are wearing in their freezing ...
NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye Bill Moore photo

“The crisis in the New York City Housing Authority’s inability to provide heat, hot water, safe and healthy living conditions is not grounded in lack of competency, transparency or oversight,”

said activist Omowale Clay of the December 12th Movement International Secretariat. “It is founded on the reality of an American political economy that views the land these housing developments sit on as being more valuable than the Black and Brown lives of its tenants, and certainly not worth the massive expenditures required to repair the damage which decades of neglect have wreaked upon the infrastructures of these buildings.”

Unlike many of their apartments, lots of members of the audience were heated. Told several times to stop cheering, they resorted to moving their arms in the international sign language motion for applause when they wanted to express their concurrence with a statement from testimony or statement from Council members such as Speaker Cory Johnson or Richie Torres.

The questioning of Olatoye was intense, but some residents refused to accept the argument that the NYCHA problems were ingrained and decades old in some cases.

“She was let off the hook,” said longtime NYCHA resident Curly Concepcion, Community Voices Heard chapter leader at Chelsea-Elliot Houses. “The council should be screaming for her resignation. Toward the end they just pacified her, after attacking her all day. Ruben Diaz said it is time to clean house.”

Concepcion continued, “Yes it’s been going on for years, but it should have been fixed. When she came on the job, she knew what the problems were. They should have been working on it. If the boilers are out of date—and they are—find the funding and fix them during the summer, so that in the winter months it should not be a problem.”