Residents of first public housing complex fight for repairs

Proud residents of First Houses on the Lower East Side, New York’s first ever public housing development in the city, are worried about the historic landmark they call home. The development, at 87 First Avenue between 5th and 6th streets, is in disrepair after a long period without maintenance, according to City Limits.

The residents are frustrated with the New York City Housing Authority, which oversees 180,000 housing units in the city, and whose capital and operating funds have failed to cover the problems of aging buildings. The plumbing system, which was installed in 1930, is now faulty and causing major leaks, the article says, and one resident’s ceiling is collapsing. Tenants have filed lawsuits and submitted complaints to the Division of Code Enforcement, to no avail; capital funds worth $423 million from the stimulus package went to other state and city developments.

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NYCHA says it’s developing a five-year strategic plan to deal with the backlog of repairs in public housing.The plan, it said in the statement, “will serve as a vital roadmap for addressing our current maintenance and repair backlog, as well as other challenges in the future.”

The houses were opened in 1935 by Eleanor Roosevelt and Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Up to 4,000 applicants had competed for the 122 apartments that feature indoor bathrooms and electric refrigerators. [City Limits]