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Hundreds Of Families In NYCHA Buildings Without Heat, Gas As Temperatures Start To Drop

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Hundreds of residents in New York City public housing are pleading for help as they are living without gas or electricity.

The timing couldn't be worse as the days and nights get colder.

Tenants on the Upper West Side tell CBS2's Hazel Sanchez their calls for help have fallen on deaf ears.

"You see, we have no gas, just the clicking," Mark Thomas said, trying to turn on his stove.

Thomas says the clicking is like time ticking by with the New York City Housing Authority doing nothing to answer his calls for help.

"There's no heat, no gas. We have no hot water. What's it gonna be, the lights? Then we'd be back, what, to the 1400s," he said.

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Thomas is among dozens of families living in 16 NYCHA brownstones on West 91st and 90th streets on the Upper West Side that have been without gas for nearly two weeks.

"Right here, there's nothing. That's stone cold," Thomas said, touching a pipe in his apartment.

NYCHA residents on the Upper West Side said they had no gas or electricity in late October 2020 as temperatures started dropping. (Credit: CBS2)

Eleven of those buildings are also without heat, and the temperatures outside are dropping.

Thankfully for Thomas, he was able to buy a small electric fireplace to keep him warm.

Tenant Association President Cynthia Tibbs has lived in her NYCHA brownstone apartment for 30 years. She says the same stretch of housing also went without gas for an entire year, starting on Thanksgiving Day in 2018.

MORE: NYCHA Residents Living Without Gas In Homes Since Last Thanksgiving (5/9/2019)

That holiday is just around the corner, and the gas and heat are out again.

Tibbs and other residents have filed numerous complaints.

Tibbs said NYCHA told her it's not cold enough for heat.

"That's wrong, because after October 15th, you're supposed to give heat regardless," she said.

CBS2 reached out to NYCHA and are still waiting for its response.

Wednesday afternoon, NYCHA tenants rallied with community activists, calling on the feds to step in.

"We've been reaching out and yelling to government that we need you to pay attention. You can't be hereat the spur of the moment when you get a little punch and then turn around and disappear on us," community advocate Tony Herbert said.

"NYCHA needs to do better ... You have capital money, OK? Fix it. You have money that's allocated to this development. Use it," Tibbs said.

Some families who attended the rally say they have gas in their NYCHA apartments, but they don't have electricity. They say they're tempted to do something dangerous -- turn on the stove burners to stay warm. It should never have to come to that.


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