Gov. Cuomo said Saturday that he would push to free up $250 million in state funds to fix the deplorable conditions at the city’s public housing complexes.
The cash infusion, if approved, would come on top of the $300 million the state has already pledged for NYCHA repairs.
“Even though the state has no financial responsibility, I am going to fight for another $250 million for NYCHA residents because I want to say to this federal government and this city government — ‘It’s time to lead,’” Cuomo said.
The governor made the announcement during an afternoon tour of the Taft Houses on E. 112th St. in East Harlem.
With cameras in tow, Cuomo examined a sad assortment of housing woes: A broken stove, peeling paint, mold and leaks.
“It’s like a bad Dickens novel,” said Cuomo, noting the heat went out in the city building on Christmas Eve. The governor then unloaded again on Mayor de Blasio.
“You all want to give a speech about how you’re great progressives,” the governor continued. “And New York is the progressive capital of the nation.
“No, it’s not when you have people living in the filth that we have at NYCHA.”
Cuomo was joined on the St. Patrick’s Day tour by City Councilmen Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) and Bill Perkins (D-East Harlem).
“The mayor is nowhere to be found in NYCHA buildings,” Torres sniped as he entered one particularly problematic apartment. “As I said, we have absentee management of public housing.”
City bus driver Andrew Lawson, 55, said his 17-year-old son’s asthma was exacerbated by the unhealthy conditions in their apartment.
The mold, a leaky shower and the flaking paint created an unhealthy environment for Andrew Jr., he said.
“These people don’t do what they’re supposed to,” griped Lawson. “De Blasio should have been here. He should have been here.”
“If the State matches the city's recent $200 million investment in NYCHA, it would be a major win for tenants. This is precisely what we've been seeking for months. We sincerely hope the Governor follows through on this new promise, delivers on last year's funding, and gives NYCHA the authority it needs to speed up major repairs,” de Blasio spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said.
Earlier last week, the governor blew into a bug-infested New York City Housing Authority apartment when de Blasio was out of town — and announced a probe into the conditions by the state health commissioner.
Cuomo appeared Saturday at the city housing project as dozens of East Harlem residents — wearing orange hats with “TENANTS UNITED” stitched on the front — protested outside.
Frank Gordils, 54, has lived in Taft Houses for more than 30 years and described Cuomo’s visit as long overdue.
“I don't know where to start,” he said. “Elevators, mold, water leakage, the heat, the hot water problems. Go figure, and what’s next to come?
“This is the first time the governor has come down to visit apartments and see people’s living conditions. Too much too late, too little. But it’s a start. It’s a start.”