NYCHA residents complain of heat problems

Fox 5 has been looking into complaints by New York City Housing Authority residents that they haven't had heat or hot water since last Thursday's snowstorm. On Monday, we took a look inside the Redfern Houses in Queens.

Redfern Houses tenant Leader Glenn Collins took us into the 16-building NYCHA complex. But before we even get to the front door, residents stopped us with their stories.

Trinidad Maturano cares for her disabled daughter. She told me that heat and hot water are sporadic and unreliable.

Floyd Fresh said that when he wakes up his feet and hands are numb from the cold.

Like many residents, they call NYCHA to complain, which generates a repair ticket. But Collins said that is no guarantee the problem is fixed. He said that some tickets are closed right after they are submitted and no one comes.

But NYCHA said the repair tickets are not closed until the problem is fixed and that residents are notified. We saw the NYCHA mobile command center on site, but no one wanted to talk with us.

City Council Member Donovan Richards Jr. said his office is being flooded with calls and messages from residents complaining about no heat in public housing. Richards said that based on his experience these last few weeks, he believes that NYCHA has a major issue with ticket accountability. He said he believes the ticketing system is problematic.

Adding to the problem of keeping track of how many people are suffering in cold apartments is that heat comes on in one room, but not in others. We witnessed that in one apartment's kitchen.

Richards also would like to see NYCHA residents call 311—not the separate NYCHA repair line—for heat complaints so that there is citywide oversight. He said the authority needs to do better next year and the time to start planning for next year is now.

Even though many of her neighbors are still struggling with the cold, we did find one resident who was without heat for one day, called NYCHA, and got everything restored. Genee Richardson said everything was working in her apartment. But Collins said she is the exception to the rule.

NYCHA said crews have restored heat to more than 10,000 apartments since the storm. The authority said heat has been restored to the Redfern House and that crews were going door to door Monday evening to double-check.