Bronx News
Mar 22, 2018

BRONX NEWS: Cuomo says state budget must fund NYCHA or he won’t sign it

Gov. Cuomo went after Mayor de Blasio’s public housing headaches again Thursday, visiting another decrepit NYCHA apartment and insisting he won’t sign the state budget unless it includes help for city public housing tenants.

At the Forest Houses in the Bronx, the governor repeated his push to get an independent contractor to come in and jump-start NYCHA apartment upgrades.

“We have to have a real solution as part of this budget, to bring in a contractor who can do the work,” he said. “And if this budget does not have a solution for the NYCHA tenants, I won’t sign the budget.”

Cuomo’s parachuting into the Bronx came a day after de Blasio took to the airwaves to razz the governor for suddenly discovering the sorry conditions in public housing.

This was the third NYCHA apartment visit in 10 days for the governor, who has recently made it his mission to point out de Blasio’s failure to address the authority’s mismanagement issues.

The mayor, in turn, has ridiculed the governor for what he sees as his too-little, too-late approach. On Wednesday de Blasio accused Cuomo of hypocrisy, stating, “The governor is getting his photo-op but not handing over the money.”

The state stopped aiding NYCHA in the late 1990s, and Cuomo began steering funds the agency’s way in 2015. To date he’s allocated a total of 0 million, though 0 million has yet to be spent as the state and NYCHA iron out differences regarding how quickly the funded work can get done.

At the Forest Houses, Cuomo toured the apartment of Carmen Silvia, 84, who suffered a stroke and can’t move the left side of her body. She’s stuck in her 11th floor unit with water damage and roaches.

“Here in New York, conditions deteriorated over a prolonged period of time,” Cuomo said. “It was a silent storm, but it was the drip drip drip of apathy, neglect and discrimination that has allowed this to happen. This is a failure of the political system.”

Cuomo hugged Silva’s son, Alberto Pitarro, 61, who said he’s worried about his mom’s living conditions.

“It is funny that it has to be a governor the comes over here to take care of the problems we have,” Pitarro said. “There are 400,000 (NYCHA tenants) that are suffering. My mom is just one out of all of them, with the walls, water damage, roaches, all the problems that she has. I can’t say how appreciative I am for you to be here.”

The governor again slapped at NYCHA managers for delaying repairs by taking too long to spend the money they have.

“NYCHA can’t spend the money they have,” he said. “They are saying it’s going to take them four years to replace a boiler with the money they have. It is the incompetence of NYCHA. Until you fix that, you will accomplish nothing.”

Council member Ritchie Torres, who attended Cuomo’s press conference at Forest Houses, said de Blasio is in denial about the chaos at NYCHA.

“The residents of public housing have gotten a rotten deal from the mayor,” he said. “The mayor has no one but himself to blame for the mismanagement of NYCHA. Affordable housing neglect is the legacy of the mayor.”

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Cuomo says state budget must fund NYCHA or he won’t sign it

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