Hundreds gathered outside City Hall yesterday demanding that Mayor Bill de Blasio provide $1 billion annually to much-needed repairs in NYCHA developments.
Community Voices Heard (CVH), a grassroots organization founded in 1994 to advocate for social, economic, and racial justice, organized the rally which was attended by hundreds of NYCHA residents and supporters from local community organizations and labor unions.
While the Mayor recently allocated $1 billion over the next ten years for roofing repairs at select NYCHA buildings, approximately $9.4 billion is needed for infrastructure repairs throughout all developments. This lack of funding results in exposing thousands of NYCHA residents to unhealthy living conditions, with toxic mold found in buildings and the absence of heat and hot water.
“NYCHA is making me sick,” the crowd chanted as Afua Atta-Mensah, the Executive Director of Community Voices Heard, stated, “25% of children who live in NYCHA have asthma as compared to 10% citywide. Our children cannot wait 10 years, now with federal budget cuts looming, New York City must take bold action to preserve public housing.” She added that a NYCHA infrastructure repair program would also produce jobs, “creating pathways to union jobs and keeping NYCHA strong for the next generation of New Yorkers.”
“This is inexcusable. NYCHA is making us sick. If private landlords kept their buildings the same way NYCHA keeps theirs, they would be sent away in handcuffs. Why should we live this way, why should this be acceptable?” NYCHA resident Claudia Perez asked.
“NYCHA plays a significant role in meeting our affordable housing needs, and all buildings should be fully functioning. With the health and safety of thousands of NYCHA residents at stake, we have a moral responsibility to make these improvements. A $1 billion infusion to help bring housing conditions to adequate standards is not just an investment in our brick-and-mortar structures and a creator of quality union jobs, but also an investment in the health of the next generation of New Yorkers—something we cannot put a price tag on,” Council Member Debi Rose said.
Rally organizers will continue to hold meetings to build leadership in public housing and are coordinating a “Call the Mayor” campaign.