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Stand-up comic and SNL’s Weekend Update co-anchor Michael Che is organizing a benefit show for New York City public housing residents this week. There are still a few tickets left for “A Night for NYCHA” on January 11, as amNY reported earlier today. Che is the headliner, “Roastmaster General” Jeff Ross will be hosting, and Michelle Wolf will feature in a “top secret lineup” of comics. “It’s gonna be a fun show and a GREAT cause,” Che posted on his Instagram stories earlier this month. “A lot of residents don’t have heat this winter. This money could really help. I grew up in a building like that, and it’s really tough.”
Che started a GoFundMe page for those who want to help out but can’t attend the event on Friday. “Last year, 350,000 NYCHA residents lost heat and hot water during the coldest months of the year,” the campaign reads. “Already this year, 35K residents are without and that number is expected to grow.” At press time, just under $7,000 of the $10,000 goal had been reached, and Che has pledged to match the donation if they raise the full amount. All proceeds from the campaign will go to The Fund for Public Housing.
As 6sqft reported in October, just three weeks after the start of the cold season, 35,000 people living in NYCHA housing were already without heat and hot water. “This is a terrible start to the heat season, and we fear for vulnerable New Yorkers living public housing—the elderly, disabled, and others—heading into colder weather,” Legal Aid Society spokesperson Redmond Haskins said. “NYCHA has a legal and moral obligation to provide these utilities to its residents, and the Authority’s continued disregard for the law should alarm us all.”
Last winter season, over 80 percent of NYCHA residents complained of heat outages from October to late January. During two weeks of frigid weather that included a significant snowstorm, New York City received nearly 22,000 heat and hot water complaints from renters, many of whom were living in New York City Housing Apartments. Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the time that a lack of federal funding and upkeep was to blame for the defective boilers found at NYCHA apartments.
Last year, the federal government ranked three Upper East Side public housing buildings as some of the worst in the United States and just last month former Public Advocate Letitia James ranked NYCHA as the city’s “worst landlord.”
Lynne Patton, the regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in New York and New Jersey, was scheduled to spend January living in the public housing system but the experiment has been delayed due to the government shutdown, as AP reported. She was planning on staying with four different families at various NYCHA buildings throughout the city so she could experience the problems firsthand. Patton tweeted on Monday that she will be rescheduling her stay after the shutdown ends.
- NYCHA will turn over 62,000 apartments to private developers for repair work
- In just three weeks, over 35,000 NYCHA residents have already experienced heat outages
- Three NYCHA developments on the Upper East Side ranked among the worst in the U.S.