NYCHA’s New GM Meets Furious E. Harlem Tenants

nycha24n-1-webThe city Housing Authority’s new general manager made his public debut Thursday, and immediately stepped into a cauldron of resentment and anger.

Frustrated tenants at the Dewitt Clinton Houses in E. Harlem accosted GM Michael Kelly with a litany of complaints about mold and incompetent repair jobs.

“It’s a shame that I have to tell my kids every day and every night not to touch the toxic mold because it is all the way down my wall,” said tenant Geovanny Santana, 26, whose two children have asthma.

“Is this acceptable for me and my kids to live in?” Santana asked, and the crowd yelled back, “No!”

At one point a tenant leader asked one of Kelly’s NYCHA colleagues who was checking his cell phone while tenants were testifying to pay attention. The crowd cheered.

Kelly then took his turn, acknowledging to the boisterous crowd of 100 packed into the Clinton community center that mold “is a critical issue” and promised to return for a walking tour next week.

None of this should be news to Kelly, who was NYCHA’s general manager from 2009 through 2011 when he departed for a stint at the Philadelphia Housing Authority. He was forced to resign from Philly last December after the married father of two admitted to having an affair with a subordinate.

He returned to NYCHA April 15, at a time when the troubled agency is facing a $98 million budget deficit and has fallen way behind in upkeep of its aging 178,000 apartments.

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At the Clinton Houses, residents last summer filed suit with help from the Urban Justice Safety Net Project alleging NYCHA is failing to address dozens of repair requests (source).

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