BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Some public housing residents in Brooklyn spent another night without heat Wednesday.

What You Need To Know

  • Residents claim it’s been more than a month with no heat, some without hot water

  • The Linden Houses is a privately run NYCHA Property
  • It was taken over by the private company, C+C Apartment Management, on Dec. 29

  • C+C says it is working on both short-term and long-term solutions

They say it’s been out for more than a month.

“I don’t want to live much longer like this, it’s too much,” said Margaret Barrett, a tenant at the Linden Houses.

Walking to get a new heater isn’t exactly how Barrett wanted to spend her evening.

But she says she didn’t have a choice.

“When I walked in my bedroom, it feels like I walked outside,” said Barrett.

She and other residents say it’s felt like that for more than a month.

This week things got especially bleak, as temperatures stayed below freezing for 30 straight hours.

“We had to go to bed fully dressed, fully dressed,” Barrett said. “I mean, I tried to take a shower and came out and my whole body was shaking, and it was smoking and it wasn’t from the steam, it was from the cold that was inside the bathroom.”

Together with her daughter, Njeri Pauling, and her high school-aged granddaughter, they’re doing what they can to stay warm.

“I’ve wrapped up the windows, I mean we’re banging things making sure things are shut, because it really feels like we’re outside,” Pauling said.

“The hot water on the stove, it makes the steam come up, warms the place up a bit,” Barret said. “But it’s just in this area, it doesn’t get into the back.”

The Linden Houses used to be operated and managed by NYCHA. 

While NYCHA still owns the property, on December 29, the private company C+C Apartment Management took over management. 

This arrangement is thanks to the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration program, or RAD, which brings in private managers to make repairs to NYCHA buildings. 

Here’s a timeline of events the company maintains since taking over management:

  • January 1st: The company says it first learned the heat was out in five buildings
  • January 2nd: It says they identified the cause of the problem — a boiler leak — and fixed it
  • January 3rd: About 30 units reported being without heat
  • January 5th: Another 30 residents reported being without heat

C+C sent NY1 a statement saying, "We apologize to our residents for these outages of the complex's plumbing system. Since taking over management last week, we have worked around the clock to expedite repairs. As part of this process, we have arranged for daily house calls to fix radiators and will have space heaters available for residents tonight while we work to safely restore heat to all units as soon as possible. We look forward to providing a long-term solution by addressing systemic heating issues and upgrading the portfolio’s heating and hot water system."

Pauling questions whether the lack of response is part of a bigger plan to make money.

“I honestly believing they are laxing purposefully to get rid of the riff-raff that is here,” Pauling said. “Put a couple of granite counters or what have you, hardwood floors, and then charge condo prices.”

C+C says that’s not the case. 

A spokesperson for the company says that in accordance with federal law under the RAD program, all tenants who comply with lease agreements will continue to pay no more than 30% of household income on rent – so charging higher rents is not even possible. He also noted that, like other RAD projects, extensive renovations are planned at all units within the development and that all households will remain in their homes at the same rent levels. 

The family has lived in this building for 33 years.

They say, regardless of who’s in charge, it should be a two-way street.

“I know you demand rent and you demand certain actions of your tenants, we demand actions of you as well,” Pauling said. “To come home and not be able to just be warm in your own home and comfortable is crazy."

Editor's Note: This updated version includes a response from C+C. It also updates language around the status of The Linden Houses. A previous version of the article called it a former NYCHA complex. It is still owned by NYCHA, but is now operated by a private management company.