The local federal housing administrator became a temporary New York City public housing resident Monday to experience the dilapidated conditions residents deal with on a daily basis.
Bringing a small rolling suitcase and an air mattress, Lynne Patton moved into the Patterson Houses in Mott Haven for the week and greeted the family — a mother, three children, and an aunt — that is hosting her in a three-bedroom apartment at the complex.
"I'm hoping by being here, at the very least, it sends a sense of urgency; that not only can changes every day be made, they must be made," Patton said at her news conference. "There's no reason why folks can polish the floors today and they couldn't polish them last week."
Patton is expected to stay in NYCHA units at multiple complexes, Mondays through Fridays, for the rest of the month.
She was supposed to move in last month, but officials said her stay was postponed because of the partial government shutdown.
Critics say Patton, who held a press conference before she went into the building, is simply creating a media spectacle. She countered that is she was moving in to highlight the horrid living conditions.
Residents are hopeful that Patton's visit puts a spotlight on the obstacles they face every day.
"It's an outstanding idea so she can see what we go through," one tenant said. "I'm pretty sure once she sees it, hopefully something will be done. First of all, the door is broken over a year. When they put it on, quickly it was broken in less than a week, and it's still broken. So I'm looking forward to seeing her and meeting her."
Patton also said she met with federal housing chair Ben Carson in Washington D.C. in the morning, saying they are close to selecting a federal monitor to oversee NYCHA as part of an agreement less than two weeks ago.