“Enough now! Enough!” Marlena Lunnon, a Red Hook resident, uttered vehemently.
On Thursday, Red Hook residents came together to talk about the neglected aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Red Hook, home to 12,000 New Yorkers, was one of the hardest hit areas. Until last Saturday, 8,000 tenants in the Red Hook Houses had been living without heat, hot water, and electricity. Twenty of the thirty-two buildings still didn’t have heat or hot water as of Thursday morning. Many of the residents living in these buildings are battling with various kinds of medical conditions. Without access to basic amenities, their health suffers daily.
Enraged, Red Hook residents have decided to take action. At the community meeting, they called for rent strikes, marches, and lawsuits against the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Of great concern was the fact that NYCHA waited two weeks to perform door-to-door wellness checks, which they found unjustifiable.
To compensate for their delayed response, NYCHA showed up to the Red Hook buildings with a plethora of NYCHA staff, nurses, and ambulances, giving the impression of effective response. The emergency brigade was also accompanied by reporters and news cameras. Kirby Desmaris, a member of Occupy Sandy, insisted that NYCHA’s performance was a publicity stunt to cover-up their prior lack of action.
The aftermath of the hurricane is devastating enough. The fact that Red Hook residents are, then, forced to battle with the NYCHA to get repairs made is inexcusable. We hope that NYCHA stops neglecting folks living on the margins of the city and starts making necessary repairs immediately. With the weather worsening and residents’ tensions intensifying, we hope that the folks living in Red Hook can feel comfortable in their homes again soon.