Public Housing Residents Give NYCHA a Failing Grade

Public housing buildings are falling into disrepair at a rate faster than the New York City Housing Authority can keep up with them, according to a resident survey.

Five community groups conducted the first-of-its-kind survey that asked 1,400 residents living in 71 public housing complexes — about 1/5 of the NYCHA developments —to give the authority a letter grade on a variety of issues.

Fifty-seven percent gave a 'D' or 'F' for the maintenance, and the overall grade for management was a 'C-'.

Martha Lopez, a resident of 20 years of the Jacob Riis development on Manhattan's Lower East Side, said the findings aren't surprising. She said her requests to fix a recurring leak in her bedroom wall had gone unanswered, and she was thinking of fixing it herself.

"If I can find instructions on how to seal this wall, I would do it. I don't care what I have to pay for it," said Lopez, who added that she'd already making small repairs herself. "But you know sometimes I think that could get my neighbors upset, because then [management] might start thinking that everybody could do their own repairs."

Sheila Stainback, a spokeswoman for NYCHA, said in a statement that the authority is under-funded and its aging buildings require a great deal of repair.

She said the authority is already working on a range of short-term solutions, but warned that it could lose $200 million in federal funding this year, and such a loss would mean that 70,000 apartments could go without even basic repairs.