It’s a holiday tradition the residents of the Alfred E. Smith Houses could definitely do without. Once again people who live in the public housing complex near the Brooklyn Bridge are having to made do without gas service. It’s at least the fifth substantial outage in the past three years. The problems have a way of occurring during the holidays, when the weather turns cold and people are cooking more family meals than normal.
This time, we’re told 32 apartments at 182 South Street are impacted. The gas has been out most of this month. Service is not expected to be restored until a week from Thursday or Friday. As in the past, NYCHA has handed out hot plates so tenants can at least use their kitchens.
This afternoon we spoke with Aixa Torres, the tenant association president at Smith. She noted that gas pipes in much of the complex have been replaced, but nine buildings still need to be converted. The money, well over $ 1 million, has been allocated, but the installation has not been scheduled. “It’s an ongoing problem, it’s crazy and it’s time to finally get with the program,” Torres said. At the moment, many residents will be happy with a temporary fix. In a replay of past outages, NYCHA and the Department of Buildings are sending mixed signals about what needs to happen to get the apartments back online.
State Senator Daniel Squadron’s office and the offices of other elected officials are trying to help facilitate the repairs. Last year, they brought the agencies together in an effort to cut through the bureaucratic red tape. In a letter sent to NYCHA officials back then they wrote, “There is obviously a chronic problem with gas outages at Smith Houses and it is essential that the New York City Housing Authority come up with a plan to address this issue in the long term.”