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Crown Heights Residents Say City Officials Ignored Complaints Before Ceiling Collapse

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- People living in a Brooklyn housing complex say their complaints have gone unanswered. Now, there's growing concern following a ceiling collapse.

It's a mess Daniel Jeter Sr. is still cleaning up, more than a day after the ceiling caved in on his son and son's girlfriend.

"I'm afraid to be in this room," he told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez. "We're afraid to be in this apartment."

The Jeters live in a fifth floor apartment in the Weeksville Gardens public housing complex in Crown Heights. The ceiling in one of the bedrooms gave way around 2 a.m. Sunday, showering chunks of plaster and insulation onto a young couple as they laid in bed. Fortunately, they weren't seriously injured.

"Our whole apartment is destroyed," Daniel Sr. said. "14 hundred dollars a month, this isn't even liveable."

The Jeters say NYCHA told them it would replace all the ceilings in their apartment within the next two weeks, and their neighbors say they have a good reason to have theirs replaced too.

The blistered ceiling is what residents say they're dealing with every day.

"Everyone's been complaining but they always just patch it up," neighbor Anthony Gomez said. "They never completely fix it."

Gomez lives next door to the Jeters. The NYCHA tore down the ceiling in his one-year-old sister's bedroom where the ceiling was in danger of collapsing as well. Since then, he says the baby has been sleeping in another room. He says his family has also complained about the NYCHA's shoddy repairs for leaks in the ceiling and water-damaged floors.

"It's really scary," he said. "We have a young one walking around and this could have happened at any given moment."

NYCHA has yet to respond to the tenants' accusations, but Public Advocate Letitia James blasted the agency, saying in part; "Once again the NYCHA's failures to conduct basic upkeep have put residents in harm's way."

"NYCHA must provide immediate answers for this neglect," she continued.

Crews were in the loft space above the apartments working to repair leaks in the roof. Sunday's collapse was the third in the Jeter's apartment in 11 months. The family is in temporary housing until the repairs are done, and they say they're looking into taking legal action against the city.

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