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NYCHA Residents Suffering While Officials Trade Blame In Political Tug-Of-War

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Frustrated public housing tenants marched outside the New York City Housing Authority headquarters Thursday in Lower Manhattan, hoping their prayers for better living would be answered.

They say they're living in dangerous and disgusting conditions and nothing is being done while the governor and mayor play a game of political tug-of-war.

Charlene Dunlop told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez she's had it with the city and every public official vowing to fix the poor and unsafe living conditions.

"Y'all promise, promise, promise and nothing gets done," she said.

Dunlop lives in the Sack Wern Houses in the Soundview section of the Bronx.

She says several weeks ago she filed a complaint with NYCHA about leaks in her living room ceiling.

She says no one came to look at it until Wednesday after plaster from the ceiling fell onto her 5-month-old grandson and his 7-year-old cousin Manayia.

"It fell on him, he started crying," said Manayia. "And then it fell on me, it hit my head."

On Wednesday, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon toured a city housing project and called the conditions devastating.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have been publicly blaming each other for NYCHA's failures, but when will the talk turn to action for New Yorkers?""

"This is going be a long battle, and what I'd ask everyone to recognize -- because I know the interest in NYCHA is a few months old but the problem goes back decades," said de Blasio.

Some tenants doubt any of them care about housing conditions more than they do about getting votes.

"What's bothering us the most now is seeing our elected officials parade us around as if this is the first time that they're hearing that there was a crisis in public housing," said Charlene Nimmons, NYCHA tenant.

"My frustration is that you report things and it doesn't get done," said Rosa Donmartin, also a NYCHA tenant.

NYCHA officials wouldn't talk to CBS2 on camera but in an email, claimed its operations are improving.

In the last three years NYCHA says it reduced maintenance repair wait times from 13 days to four, but some tenants say in unsafe conditions that's simply not fast enough.

"Even though we live in projects, doesn't mean we have to live like this," said Vilma Guevera. "We pay the rent, and it has to be safe."

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