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Mayor's Speech May Not Have Given Whole Picture of City Housing Authority Repairs

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TWC News: Mayor's Speech May Not Have Given Whole Picture of City Housing Authority Repairs
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Mayor Bill de Blasio spent much of this week touting his short tenure's accomplishments, but in his address on Thursday, the mayor may not have been giving the whole picture when it comes to repairs at the city's public housing authority. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Mayor Bill de Blasio listed plenty of accomplishments on the 100th day of his administration, including speeding up repairs at the city's public housing projects.

"Last year, on complex repairs needed in an apartment, major plumbing problems and other things that took very skilled labor, a typical resident waited, on average, 250 days for a repair," he said Thursday. "Now, this year at the same time, they wait 50 days."

"It takes longer than that," said Katyria Sabino, a housing authority resident.

Because, in fact, a lot of residents of public housing wait much, much longer than 50 days for repairs that require skilled laborers. That's because the numbers the mayor recited on Thursday touting his record do not tell the whole story.

As you can see on the housing authority's website, repairs that need skilled labor at Housing Authority developments take much longer. As of Friday, it took 126 days on average to get a repair done that required skilled labor. That's two-and-a-half times what de Blasio said.

"Tenants still suffer from serious repair problems," said Harvey Epstein of the Urban Justice Center. "These are really underlying problems in the buildings."

Essentially, City Hall's tally did not include repairs that were done by vendors. It cited friendlier statistics of work done by housing authority employees only. So that means repairs like replacing floor tile or painting an entire apartment were just left out of the equation, repairs that residents are still waiting for.

"This is a regular repair," said Nicole Dease, a housing authority resident. "When your floors are not intact and you have small children and they're just tripping over the mess, that's a regular repair. It's tile work. It's contract."

"It took them 120 days to paint my apartment after I took them to court," Sabino said.

City Hall emphasized that urgent repairs, like heat or hot water issues, are getting done faster, and these vendor repairs are not as time-sensitive.

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