Bronx BP: NYCHA heating crisis is an emergency

Several thousand residents at the Patterson Houses in the Bronx have been suffering in ice-cold apartments for nearly a month. NYCHA finally got the heat back on. But with dilapidated boilers, residents wonder how long it will last.

The Patterson Houses have 1,700 apartments among 25 buildings. Residents told Fox 5 they've been mostly without heat or hot water since before Christmas. That includes Danielle Jones and her baby son Kaiden, who just turned 3 months old. She just brought him home from four days in the hospital for pneumonia.

"To find out I overdressed him or underdressed him because it was freezing temperatures in the house and winds up in the hospital with pneumonia and something's wrong with his kidneys," Jones said.

We got an exclusive inside look as Jones and other residents met with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. about the no-heat crisis.

"It's a dire situation—look, this is totally unacceptable," he said. "This is a human rights issue. This is a safety issue."

"Since 2011, we have no boilers, we've been promised that we would be getting boilers," said Patricia Simpson, the president of the residents' association. "It hasn't happened yet. This is 2018."

The temporary boiler situation has been here way too long, Diaz said. Not only that, he said it is also a hazard because of flammable liquid and complete access to the street.

NYCHA said that the Patterson Houses are scheduled to get three new gas-fired winterized boilers. But Diaz said it is time to cut the red tape of city, state, and federal funding.

"There should be a declaration of emergency—the same way that we do with the shelter system," Diaz said. "So that we can try to expedite the procurement process because it's taken too long."

NYCHA residents pay more than $1 billion a year in rent—about a third of the agency's annual budget. The mayor said residents deserve heat and hot water. He has announced a $13 million emergency fund to help keep the heat on.