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Without Heat Or Hot Water, Public Housing Residents In Harlem Can't Escape Cold

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – While some people huddled at home to avoid the frigid temperatures Friday, public housing residents in Harlem were unable to escape the extreme cold.

They have been without heat or hot water for several weeks.

CBS2's Reena Roy spoke with tenants at the Drew Hamilton Houses on West 142nd Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard as they boiled water and burned hot ovens.

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"If I don't burn this and burn my electric heater, we won't have no heat, it'd be freezing in here," said Linell Boone.

It's unsafe to heat your home with an oven, but Boone said she had no choice. Her heat has been on and off since the end of last month.

"It goes on and off every day," she said. "The pipe might get hot, and then nothing. You might get hot water for a few minutes, by time you run your shower to get in the shower, you get in and it's cold."

MORE: CBS New York Winter Storm Survival Guide

Her 84-year-old neighbor down the hall, Robert Graham, was facing the same problem.

"It's beginning to get on my nerves, because my body can't maintain the cold," he said. "When I'm laying in my bed, I feel a little chilly and it's uncomfortable."

They're also struggling to wash dishes, take showers and live a normal life.

MORE: Cold Thanksgiving Meals Ahead For Some NYCHA Residents

Boone said despite multiple complaints, the New York City Housing Authority has not fixed the problem.

"I put in numerous complaints to NYCHA. I have called, I called this morning, I've been calling every day since October 18," she said. "They're not doing what they're supposed to do. They're treating us like nobody, and we are somebody."

"NYCHA's heating response team has been diligently working around the clock on preventive measures to keep boiler plants running and to restore service to residents as quickly as possible," NYCHA said in a statement. "We will continue to vigilantly monitor heat and hot water service in our developments and encourage any residents experiencing issues to contact the Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771."

Residents can also download a MyNYCHA app to report heat issues.

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