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Stringer: NYCHA Is Unprepared For Handling Emergencies

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Comptroller Scott Stringer warned Wednesday that the New York City public housing system is not ready to handle emergencies.

Stringer released an audit of the New York City Housing Authority on Tuesday that said the agency does not have a clear chain of command in a disaster.

He also said the authority, known as NYCHA for short, does not maintain accurate databases of generators needed in a power failure. Stringer's report further called emergency drills and training "uncommon and unhelpful" at NYCHA developments.

Read The Report

The audit also concluded that incomplete tenant records increase risks to tenants with disabilities. Property managers often failed to keep emergency contact information for tenants who are in wheelchairs or use oxygen, and did not include any information on tenants who are blind, deaf, mentally disabled, or suffering from mobility issues. Such tenants may need help with evacuation, Stringer's office said.

More than 80,000 NYCHA residents lost essential services when Superstorm Sandy struck three years ago.

"More than three years after Superstorm Sandy struck New York City – damaging 402 NYCHA buildings and shutting off essential services including heat, hot water, electricity, and elevators for tens of thousands of residents – we found that NYCHA is still woefully unprepared to face another emergency," Stringer said in a news release. "The Authority has failed to learn from its botched response to the 2012 disaster, and as a result their more than 400,000 tenants are at extreme risk in the event of another crisis. It's well past time for NYCHA to do its homework, and actually prepare for the next emergency."

A NYCHA spokesman criticized the report, accusing Stringer of ``cherry picking data'' and ``painting an outdated picture'' of the public housing system.

More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA's 328 housing developments.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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