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Tenants at Bronx housing development sue NYCHA citing unsafe living conditions

With housing in short supply and high demand, many New York City residents have seen their rents increase exponentially within the last decade. The cost of living in the city has increased so much that many residents who were born and grew up in one of the city's five boroughs now struggle every month just to make rent.

In an attempt to provide housing for low and middle-income New Yorkers, the New York City Housing Authority owns and operates 334 housing developments throughout the city that are home to some 400,000 residents. Unfortunately, conditions at many NYCHA developments are unsafe and even hazardous for the men, women and children who call these buildings home.

Fed up with the deplorable living conditions and lack of response from NYCHA officials, residents at the Castle Hill housing complex in the Bronx recently took legal action. Amid the claims detailed in the tenants' complaint are reports of broken elevators, mold, leaking pipes and broken windows.

For example, the mother of one 21-year-old disabled and wheelchair-bound woman described the dangers posed to her daughter due to her building's broken elevator. Many other tenants reported problems with mold and spoke of their frustrations with NYCHA officials who fail to respond at all or appropriately to maintenance requests.

To date, open work orders for building repairs at NYCHA housing developments total more than 124,000. While NYCHA officials admit they are sometimes hampered by and slower to respond due to budgetary problems, the tenants of Castle Hill are tired of excuses and contend the agency is in "violation of the housing maintenance code."

Source: Citylimits.org, "Tenants Again Sue a Housing Authority Crippled by Federal Cuts," Allegra Abramo, Julia Alsop and Maria Villasenor, April 9

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