NYCHA says it plans to aggressively clean their developments and get information to their tenants about social distancing and preventive methods through email, text, tenant associations, robo-calling and multilingual flyers.
“Through our robust Community Engagement and Partnerships department and programs, we are making ongoing individual phone calls to our vulnerable population to confirm first-hand that they understand the precautions regarding COVID-19 and to identify whether they have any special needs at this time. We are also making sure that residents have access to food, medication, and necessary health and social services, and we are making them aware of the city’s mental health counseling services, available by phone, if they need help coping with social distancing, stress or anxiety,” wrote the NYCHA spokesperson in an email with City Limits.
“We have daily calls with the Department for the Aging (DFTA), Department of Health, and other city agencies to monitor policies related to the senior population. DFTA’s staff, along with the city’s Public Engagement unit, are working to ensure meals continue for seniors who can no longer attend. Additionally, we speak directly to all [Tenant Associations] presidents and leadership to exchange relevant updates regarding services for vulnerable residents.”
NYCHA said during the state of emergency, they have been communicating protocols directly to employees and residents through robocalls, emails, and posting regular updates to their public-facing websites. They have also distributed posters across NYCHA’s 2,200 buildings – in lobbies, elevators, and individual floors and the signage has been translated in multiple languages for residents who are Non-Native English speakers. NYCHA said their Customer Contact Center is available around the clock (24/7).
NYCHA houses at least 380,000 in its 174,000 public-housing apartments spread across 2,351 buildings in 316 developments.
Some NYCHA residents say they have seen some cleaning done but others see no changes and business as usual.
In Red Hook Houses East, a section of the city’s largest public housing complex that has over 2,000 residents, there are cleaner hallways, according to community activist and resident Karen Blondel.
However, other NYCHA tenants in Red Hook Houses West said they have not had a cleaning in over four months. “Our building has been filthy for months. I have three kids and I still have to go to work at Ikea,” said Dougie, a Red Hook Houses West resident walking back to her apartment (who did not want to use her real name). “I got no text or email from them. The cleaning is news for me but it is not happening here.”
Here is a break down of what NYCHA tenants can expect over the coming weeks, according to the authority:
- NYCHA staff will be increasing the frequency of daily cleaning across our developments, specifically on high-traffic and high-touch areas such as building entrance doors, elevator controls, mailboxes, and trash chute doors.
- Starting on March 11th, NYCHA hired an outside vendor to deep clean senior developments and other campuses. The vendor will be using a two-step process which is a deep clean and a bio/eco-friendly protective coating that kills germs before they attach to the surface and typically lasts for 90 days. The vendor will conduct the process on a 30-day cycle.
- Effective immediately, all planned outages have been suspended until further notice. The agency does have planned outages during major repairs in housing complexes.
- Residential evictions have been halted while the city is under a state of emergency.
- For those experiencing rental hardships, NYCHA tenants who face a loss of income should request an “Interim Recertification for any decrease in income that will last more than two months by accessing the NYCHA Self-Service Portal at https://selfserve.nycha.info or requesting a paper form from your Property Management office,” according to the newsletter.
- NYCHA’s Administrative Hearing Office has postponed all cases for two weeks. The hearing will be reevaluated to assess if the postponement should continue.
- All in-person public meetings and events at NYCHA offices and developments have been postponed for 30 days.
- Brooklyn and Bronx Customer Contact Walk-in Centers are closed to the public, effective Monday.
What a NYCHA tenant should do if they think they are infected:
- Stay home and call your doctor if you have symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath, fever, sore throat.
- If you do not feel better in 3-4 days, seek care from your doctor.
- If you need help getting medical care, call 311
- NYC will provide care regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
- Visit on.nyc.gov/mynycha to download the MyNYCHA app and for more information about COVID-19, visit nyc.gov/coronavirus.