Legal Aid Society Supports Tenants Abused by Housing Authority, Reported by The New York Times

Posted on April 12, 2018

Legal Aid Demands Rebates for Nycha Tenants Left in the Cold

Originally Posted in The New York Times on April 12, 2018
Written by Jeffery C. Mays

It was so cold in January in A’seelah Diamond’s apartment at Fiorentino Plaza, a public housing development in East New York, that she, her husband and their three daughters all piled into one bed every night to keep warm.

On Jan. 4 when the temperature outside was 19 degrees, her apartment had no heat or hot water.

Tenants such as Ms. Diamond and her husband, Tyrone, 30, who pay $1,282 a month in rent, deserve a refund, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by the Legal Aid Society. The class-action lawsuit comes after the authority refused a demand for Legal Aid to abate from $2.5 million to $15 million in rent to tenants who were left without basic services during the heating season.

Lucy Newman, staff attorney at the Legal Aid civil law reform unit, blamed the [housing] authority’s inability to provide heat for residents on poor management and staff cuts.

“No one in 10-to-20-degree weather should have no hot water,” Ms. Diamond said.

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