NYCHA Tenant Demoralized After Two Years of Keeping an Umbrella Next to Her Toilet as Protection from Leaking Ceiling

A NYCHA tenant on the Upper West Side has been dealing with a bathroom leak for more than two years. At times it's so bad that she has to get creative just to stay dry. Our Michael Scotto has the story

When Victoria McKnight uses her bathroom, sometimes she has to open an umbrella just to stay dry. That's because for the last two and a half years, her bathroom ceiling inside this New York City Housing Authority building has been crumbling and leaking.

"This umbrella actually covers me, the whole, while I'm doing my business on the toilet," McKnight said.

McKnight lives in the Frederick Douglass Houses on the Upper West Side. On Monday morning, water could be seen dripping from the ceiling onto a towel placed above a light fixture. McKnight says sometimes the liquid appears to contain urine and feces.

There's a tarp on my ceiling right now, which means water runs down the wall, into the socket, into the light fixture.

Fed up, McKnight decided to take NYCHA to court last year. And after reaching a settlement, NYCHA agreed to fix the problem. 

She says workers soon came in and patched up the ceiling. But then this year, the ceiling collapsed again — and this time, they only taped a piece of plastic over the hole. The source of the problem, she says, is in the upstairs apartment.

Because they're not getting to the root of the problem, the situation starts all over again.

McKnight recently told Republican City Comptroller Candidate Reverend Michael Faulkner about the problem at a tenants' association meeting.

"There's not any accountability, they're not being held responsible for the damages they continue do to the residents lives as well as to the building," said Michael Faulkner, a candidate for City Comptroller.

NYCHA told us the situation is unacceptable and that workers went in Monday to fix the ceiling and the pipe that's causing the problem.

McKnight says the experience has left her feeling demoralized.

"I feel like less of, less of a person," McKnight said. "Like I'm not important because I live in New York City housing."

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