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Queens Lawmakers Call on NYCHA to Restore Heating and Hot Water to Woodside Houses

State Senator Jessica Ramos (L), Council Member Julie Won (C) and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R) visited the Woodside Houses Thursday where residents have been complaining about heat and hot water shortages (Photo: Julie Won via Twitter)

Jan. 28, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Several Queens lawmakers toured the Woodside Houses NYCHA complex Thursday to examine a broken heating plant that has left some residents without heating and hot water.

Council Member Julie Won, State Senator Jessica Ramos and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited the complex and called on NYCHA to fix the damaged heating plant that has been broken for months.

They were joined by representatives from the offices of Assembly Member Brian Barnwell and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

The heating plant, which supplies heat and hot water to 2,900 tenants in the 20-building complex, flooded around five months ago during Hurricane Ida and it has been out of order ever since.

Since September, the entire complex has been without hot water on at least 21 occasions and without heating at least 11 times, the lawmakers said, citing city data.

NYCHA has installed two mobile boiler units with a third unit currently being fitted in order to provide heating and hot water to tenants while the heating plant is down, according to the agency.

However, Won said that the mobile boiler units are not reliable, and some residents have been without heat or hot water as temperatures plummet.

“Heat outages during the coldest months are unacceptable,” Won said in a statement.

Won said that residents have been left with no choice but to use dangerous space heaters or stovetops to keep themselves warm.

She said the use of alternative heating methods raises serious safety concerns for residents at the Woodside Houses. Won said that the deadly fire at the Twin Parks NYCHA complex in the Bronx earlier this month was caused by the landlord and building manager neglecting the heating needs of their tenants.

The fire, which was sparked by a faulty space heater, killed 17 people, including eight children.

NYCHA, Won said, has not produced a plan to deal with the heating outages at the Woodside Houses, other than providing the temporary measure of mobile boiler units that have failed residents. She called on the federal government to provide aid to fix the problem.

“NYCHA should release a long-term solution instead of unreliable mobile boilers,” Won said.

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) must make funding the repair of the heating plant a top priority for the health and safety of everyone at Woodside Houses immediately.”

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (L) and Council Member Julie Won (R) visited the Woodside Houses Thursday where residents have been complaining about heat and hot water shortages (Photo: Julie Won via Twitter)

NYCHA said that it was not an easy task to get the heating plant back in working order.

The heating plant, according to a NYCHA spokesperson, was badly damaged, since it was submerged in more than five feet of water during the storm.

“NYCHA has spent more than $1.4 million in repairs on the Woodside Houses boilers since Ida, including replacing six boiler burners, a zone valve panel, seven flooded vacuum tanks and two sets of ejector pumps,” the spokesperson said.

“The boilers are expected to be brought online in February and once they are online, the mobile boilers will be taken offline in stages.”

Barnwell, in a statement, said that the situation was not acceptable and called on NYCHA to find a permanent solution.

“The residents of Woodside Houses have been dealing with heat and hot water issues—among other things—for years,” Barnwell said.

“These residents have repeatedly been treated like second class citizens time and time again… but we need action from NYCHA, not excuses, in resolving this issue long term.”

Meanwhile, Ramos said serious changes need to be made with how NYCHA operates.

She said that a bill she is sponsoring in the State Senate would bring accountability and transparency to the agency. Barnwell is sponsoring the bill in the Assembly.

The bill calls for a searchable database to be created for all NYCHA maintenance tickets. She said that this would help easily identify the demand for repairs.

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29 Comments

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Anonymous

The net result of 12 years of Van Bramer regarding Woodside Houses. Nothing done, except his bike lanes, his payoff from Phipps, and his own dilutionary ambitions for public office in the future, because he truly believes in his mind that ‘we need him!’.

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Jessica

Thank you AOC. Now please work on getting us fans and air conditioning by the summer. Mine broke.

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Tiffany

Same location that a young mother of twins took away their lives while nypd sat in cruisers and set up generator powered floodlights but save no lives.

Same complex that recieved these generator powered flood lights after 5 people were shot, two killed, three wounded.

Same complex that the Astoria House and Woodside house gang War cost the mother of two her life when she was at the Walgreens on Broadway.

Di Jenkins and the Federal Monitor have failed the community and Woodside Houses

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Lucky number 7 train

NYCHA has been mismanaging buildings since the beginning. As they say the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We need to change things up we have nothing to lose. maybe we should have a private management and have companies bid for the contracts and if they preform poorly we can replace them. There is no accountability now and this is what you get.

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Lgb

Maybe the people at NYCHA can try their hand at government run health care instead. Housing clearly isn’t their thing.

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David

Lgb- Why would you want that when private insurance already does a great job of blocking plan participants from accessing services?

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Keevin Wells

The director of heating is too busy with his steamy affair with his executive assistant

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Kevin Wells

5 months was long enough to get the plant back on line. They failed to plan for winter. They also know the 2 mobile boilers were not sufficient

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Giovanni

AOC is saving lives and keeping us safe and warm. My family and i finally got heat and hot water last night!! Gracias!

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Blanca

Bravo to AOC for battling covid 19 and still doing all she can to help the working class and poor in our district and beyond. When she shows up the media listens!!! Thank you AOC. We love you! God bless you.

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Selena

Yea people need heat. Its cold and snowing out today. Please shovel your sidewalks!! I need to walk my dogs.

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Resident in Woodside

Selena you can let your dogs do their business on NYCHA grounds – plenty of green lawn .Shame that people have no heat / water.

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Alexa

This is what people can achieve when they work together regardless of race ethnicity or creed! End racism and work together as one! Fix the broken heating plant!! Start a GoFundMe Julie Won!

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Laura

Our people continue to cry out and people purposely ignore us! Stop crying out to the system and cry out to God

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Raya

Shouldn’t public housing be a go between with the result of eventually leaving? Why are these residents there for decades? 🤔🤬🤯🤦🏼‍♀️

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Frayed

Same stories every winter. News reports year after year….like a hamster spinning the wheel and going nowhere.

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