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De Blasio's Tour Of NYCHA Heating Complex Doesn't Go Well

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio toured a Housing Authority heating complex on Thursday to tout the steps he's taking to avoid last winter's massive boiler failures that left hundreds of thousands without heat for days.

But as a public relations mission, it apparently failed, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

It was a de Blasio dog-and-pony show, a cursory trip to a newly installed boiler system at a Lower East Side housing project designed to send a message to the 80 percent of public housing residents who suffered heat outages last year, lasting an average of two days, that this winter will be different.

NYCHA heating complex
Mayor Bill de Blasio toured a Lower East Side city Housing Authority heating complex on Oct. 18, 2018. (Photo: CBS2)

But the steps announced by the mayor to bring relief to 400,000 NYCHA residents, include new boilers at 14 of the 326 developments, six mobile boilers and private contractors to manage boilers at 41 other developments didn't impress Frederina Fulton, president of the tenants' association at the Wald Houses, who, as part of the de Blasio public relations operation, was brought in to introduce the mayor and praise his efforts to make things better.

She didn't.

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"I'm not satisfied and when you ask for help you really don't get help," Fulton said. "We're very angry. I came here to the conference because they asked me. Yes, I'm still angry. I'm leaving now with no more than I knew when I came in."

Fulton listened attentively when Kramer asked the mayor about the fact that there is little money to replace many of the aging heating systems. As CBS2 told you last week, there's enough money to replace 182 of 2,097 boilers in the next three years.

Kramer asked the mayor what he has to say to the people who are living in buildings with old boilers that have no hope of being repaired any time soon.

"My message to the people who live developments that lost heat is I truly believe this will be a better winter. I don't think it will be perfect. I think it will be a better winter," the mayor said.

Fulton's response?

"At the end of the day I always feel they go home and they have heat," she said.

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The city said it comes up way short of the $31 billion needed to make NYCHA developments ship shape.

Compounding the city's money woes, the state still hasn't given the city $450 million it promised for NYCHA.

A spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they state won't give money to the city until a monitor is in place to make sure the funds aren't squandered.

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