Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. held a press conference to highlight a specific case of tenant neglect carried out by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), noting that a lack of common sense has embarrassed the agency while forcing a tenant into homelessness.
“This case is another example of why NYCHA is the worst landlord in New York City,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Rather than use common sense and judgement to work with a tenant in dire straits, NYCHA has made a bad situation worse through its cold, callous treatment of this senior citizen.”
Borough President Diaz spoke of the case of Beinvenido Martinez, a 72-year old former resident of NYCHA’s Union Avenue Consolidation in Bronx. Late last year the agency evicted him from his apartment while he recovered from an emergency above-the-knee leg amputation in a borough rehabilitation center.
Despite being informed of his medical emergency by the rehabilitation center, NYCHA evicted Mr. Martinez from his apartment in December, citing an arrears of $816.00. To add insult to injury NYCHA disposed of his belongings in the garbage, rather than putting them in storage as is required by law. In addition to throwing away all of Mr. Martinez’s earthly possessions, NYCHA also disposed of his state identification, birth certificate, Social Security and other difficult-to-replace documents.
Borough President Diaz has been working on Mr. Martinez’s case for several months. In March, the borough president sent a letter to Interim NYCHA Chair & CEO Kathryn Garcia regarding the case, to which the agency has not yet replied.
That letter can be viewed here.
“How much more expensive is it to make this man homeless, rather than use a little common sense and work with him to keep him in his apartment?” asked Borough President Diaz. “It will cost far more than $816.00, I’m positive of that. This is a tragedy, and NYCHA should be embarrassed. The agency must fix this mess and make Mr. Martinez whole again”
Borough President Diaz closed the press conference by demanding that NYCHA provide Mr. Martinez with a new apartment and compensate him for his lost possessions.
“It is shameful that NYCHA has no trouble expediting the eviction of a newly disabled senior citizen but cannot seem to move as quickly to replace its boilers or provide repairs for units with longstanding issues. NYCHA must resolve this situation as soon as possible because Mr. Martinez is ready to go home,” said Borough President Diaz.
More photos and a video of today’s press conference are available here.