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NYCHA tenants file lawsuit alleging health and safety violations

The lawsuit also accuses the agency of mismanaging funds and falsifying records

On Tuesday, the Citywide Council of Presidents (CCOP), who represents tenants living in the city’s public housing buildings, along with At-Risk Community Services, filed a lawsuit against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and is demanding that the court “impose an independent monitor” over the agency.

According to the lawsuit, NYCHA has failed to “uphold their legal obligations to protect the health and safety of public housing residents.” The three most pointed allegations are that the NYCHA did not keep residents safe from lead poisoning, put lives at risk by not providing adequate heat and hot water this winter, and did not provide tenants with employment and economic opportunities. The suit also accuses the NYCHA of mismanagement, falsifying records, and not giving tenants an opportunity to weigh in on policy decisions that directly impact them.

“NYCHA should see today as the dawn of a new era,” said CCOP Chair Danny Barber. “CCOP takes its obligations to protect our community seriously. Mayor de Blasio ran his campaign on a ‘tale of two cities,’ but his administration has completely forgotten about New York City’s poorest members.”

In recent months, NYCHA chair and CEO Shola Olatoye has come under fire for submitting false certifications on annual lead inspections and removals from apartments. Additionally, the Legal Aid Society threatened to hit the agency with a lawsuit unless they agreed to provide up to $15 million in rent refunds to the 323,098 public housing residents that lost heat during the city’s cold front.