Life ru­ined by NYCHA

Forced out after ceil­ing col­lapse

New York Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

A CEIL­ING COL­LAPSE in her de­cay­ing apart­ment was just the lat­est and largest prob­lem ig­nored by NYCHA of­fi­cials, an ag­gra­vated Brook­lyn mother said Tues­day.

Mold, mildew and an in­fes­ta­tion of cock­roaches are among the myr­iad rea­sons Princess Mor­ris’ home was barely liv­able even be­fore the May 6 col­lapse — the sec­ond in five months at her home.

“This is not safe,” the 33-yearold sin­gle mother of four told the Daily News.

“It’s a health hazard. I can’t have my kids liv­ing in this en­vi­ron­ment. It could have killed them.”

In­stead, the frus­trated fam­ily re­mains home­less while await­ing some word from city of­fi­cials.

This month’s ceil­ing col­lapse in Mor­ris’ Crown Heights apart­ment ren­dered the apart­ment un­in­hab­it­able, and de­stroyed much of her fam­ily’s be­long­ings.

“NYCHA is not do­ing their job,” Mor­ris said. “I’ve been in my apart­ment for two years, and since I’ve been there I’ve put in tick­ets, tick­ets, tick­ets — they still don’t do any­thing.

“I just want me and my kids to be safe.”

But Mor­ris won­ders if it’s too late for that.

She says the atro­cious con­di­tions have taken a phys­i­cal and men­tal toll on her kids.

“He’s al­ready go­ing back and forth to the doc­tor,” Mor­ris said of her 7-year-old son, Lawrence. “His throat is swollen up, face break­ing out.”

Lawrence, who at­tends nearby Launch Ex­pe­di­tionary Learn­ing Char­ter School, lost many of his clothes and toys in the col­lapse that drenched his be­long­ings in rank sewage and other haz­ardous de­bris.

“I hate this house,” the tear­ful lit­tle boy said. “The wall is on the floor.”

The mom said the city’s Hous­ing Au­thor­ity has yet to be­gin re­pairs on the two-week-old dam­age.

Calls to Mor­ris’ hous­ing as­sis­tant have largely gone ig­nored, she said, and NYCHA gave no timetable about when the re­pairs would be­gin — leav­ing the fam­ily of four with­out a home in­def­i­nitely.

“NYCHA ob­vi­ously doesn’t care where me and my kids stay,” said Mor­ris, whose fam­ily en­dured a smaller-scale col­lapse in Jan­uary.

“They shouldn’t have to go through this,” Mor­ris said of her trau­ma­tized kids. “They should feel safe and they don’t. I don’t blame them.”

The dev­as­tated wo­man and her chil­dren have been bounc­ing back and forth be­tween her mother’s downtown Brook­lyn home and a fam­ily friend’s place in East New York.

“My mother’s house is crowded,” she said.

“By the same to­ken, I shouldn’t be stay­ing in any­body else’s house when I have my own. I should be com­fort­able, my kids should be com­fort­able, safe — ev­ery­thing.”

Mor­ris, who has lived in the Weeksville Gar­dens com­plex for two years, said it took NYCHA nearly two weeks to sim­ply come and re­view the ex­ten­sive dam­age.

In March, Gov. Cuomo de­clared a state of emer­gency on NYCHA pub­lic hous­ing.

Mor­ris wants to know whether that means she’ll get an ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse. “What’s your def­i­ni­tion of an emer­gency?” she said. “This is an emer­gency.”

A NYCHA spokes­woman, Jas­mine Blake, said car­pen­ters will be at Mor­ris’ apart­ment Wed­nes­day.

“We will make im­me­di­ate re­pairs to fix the ceil­ing and cor­rect any un­der­ly­ing con­di­tions like leaks, and we will de­ter­mine why staff failed to make re­pairs in a timely fash­ion and take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion,” Blake said.

The sky is fall­ing, at least as far as NYCHA res­i­dent Princess Mor­ris (right) and her son Lawrence Wa­ters are con­cerned. They were forced out of their Crown Heights, Brook­lyn, apart­ment after a sec­ond ceil­ing col­lapse.

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