WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York
You should know that while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio talks about helping the Syrian immigrants who are innocent victims of a humanitarian crisis, and bringing them here to live because we are humanitarians, the New York City Housing Authority continues to subject our own senior citizens to barbaric living conditions.
Ms. Carmen Rivera is an 82-year old grandmother who resides in disgusting and deplorable conditions in the New York City Housing Authority’s Betances Houses located at 460 East 147th Street in Bronx County. She is completely traumatized and cannot even sleep at night because of the years of neglect by the New York City Housing Authority.
According to her family, Ms. Rivera has filed more than 100 complaints (tickets) with the New York City Housing Authority, whose receipts were confirmed. Her list of complaints includes: rats the size of cats on her furniture, leaks, toilet and bathtub backups, floods, holes in the walls, mold, etc. See https://youtu.be/8B1fIVTfW98 and https://youtu.be/6wFG_sVy3Ik.
The toilet in her apartment overflows from time to time, and her bathtub has backed up numerous times with dirty, filthy water that includes human feces and who knows what else is in that water.
Ms. Rivera tries to keep her apartment neat and clean. Then, when she least expects it, her toilet or tub overflow and once again, she has to go through the entire cleaning process to try to make her home livable, until the nightmare returns.
Ms. Rivera’s grandson, William Garay has provided me with two videos to document the trauma that his grandmother is going through. One of the videos was recorded on December 10, 2015, and the other video was filmed earlier that week.
After all of this serious trauma Ms. Rivera has experienced, and after filing more than 100 complaints. Ms. Rivera’s desperate calls for help continue. She is suffering from serious psychological trauma to the point that she cannot sleep at night nor find peace in her home during the day.
Ms. Rivera has been asking to be transferred because she cannot get these visions out of her mind. She gets up many times at night with real concerns such as those shown in the videos: if there are rats on her furniture, if her bathtub or toilet are overflowing, and how she can clean it all and sanitize her apartment.
No matter how hard she tries to put her home back to normal, and no matter how many supposed repairs are made to her apartment, throughout the years, when she least expects it, the filthy flooding comes back, as do the rats.
You should know that even though we live in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, we have senior citizens like Ms. Rivera living in unspeakable conditions in New York City’s Housing Authority apartments.
Ms. Rivera, and any 82 year-old person most certainly deserves to live with some minimal dignity, and to go to bed without fear of her toilet and tub overflowing, or that rats are going to come out of the walls.
The very least the City of New York can is to transfer Ms. Rivera to appropriate, sanitary and safe housing, someplace she can call home. It is time to take all of this mental anguish away from Ms. Rivera.
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.