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Washington Housing residents still waiting for hot water after NYCHA makes some repairs

May 19, 2023

EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Frustrated residents at a NYCHA housing complex in East Harlem finally have running water, but were told they still have to wait for hot water.

NYCHA released a statement that said staff "worked through the night" to address the outage at the Washington Houses after the water went out in all 14 buildings early Monday morning.

The outage was "caused by a ruptured domestic water line that resulted in a flood of the boiler room," according to the statement. "Water service was restored overnight around 1 a.m."

Residents are still without hot water while NYCHA continues to make emergency repairs to the boilers.

The housing authority handed out hot plates to residents as an option to heat up water, but they are causing power to be blown out in kitchens if use with another appliance at the same time.

Upper floors still have no water at all because there's no water pressure, leaving some residents to fill buckets still.

Four buildings in the complex have had no gas for four months and some residents said they were told the outage would go on for another six months to a year.

Residents pay between $500 to $3,000 a month for apartments in the Washington Houses, according to the Resident Association President.

Roughly 3,500 residents spent their Monday filling up buckets, bottles and pans at a fire hydrant before sloshing it all back to their dry apartments as they tried to survive without indoor plumbing.

"This is ridiculous. I have an autistic kid that needs water," tenant Gracie Feliz said.

Feliz is pregnant and should not be doing any heavy lifting, but she had already made six runs to one of the three watering stations before the night was even over.

WATCH: Eyewitness News Reporter Lucy Yang talks to residents about the water outage

"I'm disgusted. I'm very disgusted," tenant Genevieve Lucky said.

Lucky is 87 years old. In addition to no water, she lives in one the buildings without gas.

"Mother Lucky," as her church calls her warms up soapy water on an electric hot plate.

"So, I can warm it up and wash the dishes," Lucky said. "And then I gotta cook. And it takes long to cook."

"At this point it would take me until maybe midnight tonight to cook dinner, wash the plates, clean up and get the kids ready for school," tenant Kelly Diaz said. "And I'm back at it 4:30, 5 o'clock in the morning. How do you continue to live like that?"

Dan Greene is the head of all NYCHA properties and told Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang that an incoming water line broke off from the connection Monday morning, causing massive flooding. It took most of the day to pump out the mess. Now the race is on to restore service.

"Our buildings are old. Disinvested in for many years," Greene said. "We know this is a huge aggravation. More than aggravation. It's really upsetting."

"It's a huge inconvenience," tenant Soraida Sanchez said. "Things happen, but this is too much."

As for restoring gas, Eyewitness News was told that that will be more complicated to get back online.


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