“There’s nothing you can do,” said O’Dwyer resident Roberta Rankins. “You can’t wash your head, do the dishes or mop the floor. It’s disgusting because when I pay the rent they say light, gas and hot water are included, but we don’t.
Without access to stoves and ovens, NYCHA gave residents one electric hot plate per apartment, according to residents and flyers. But workarounds to find solutions to feed themselves and their families with the equipment cost tenants thousands of additional dollars in the months the gas was cut, residents say.
“We have to use the hot pot, something like that, and it’s not enough. I want my stove because I love to cook, I’m so used to cooking or baking something,” Ramirez said. “It’s not the same. It’s horrible.”
Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the nonprofit Coney Island Alliance, hosted a 2021 Thanksgiving food drive, at which she said local NYCHA residents rejected the food.
“They didn’t want a turkey on our ride because they couldn’t cook,” Silversmith said in a December interview. “There is a level of suffering that is not recognized at all. The construction took forever, the lines are not there to run the gas.
In late February, a city-sponsored hot food truck also began delivering meals to affected residents. These trucks, organized by Frontus, were to deliver food on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The initiative lasted at least three months, but the problem persists.
In the agency’s response flyer posted in early July to O’Dwyer Building 5, NYCHA explains that “on average, gas outages last three months” and that before service can be restored, the agency is legally required to repair leaks and replace piping. in each apartment, a process that involves a private contractor entering and staying in the apartment without the presence of the tenants.
“Someone told me the lines would be fixed in 2023,” Jackson said in an April interview, when asked if NYCHA had given him an estimated completion date for the gas lines. “But if it’s not that, it’s the heat, or the elevators, or the water. The heat is terrible.