The head of Region II at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) spent a month living in New York City public housing and blamed Mayor Bill de Blasio for ignoring the ongoing “humanitarian crisis.”
“It was horrific,” Lynne Patton told a New York CBS affiliate about her one month living in public housing in the city.
The CBS report includes video to confirm much of what Patton said she encountered while living in and exploring public housing.
“I saw rats, I saw roaches, I saw lead paint, I saw black mold, I saw raw sewage dripping down the walls,” Patton said. “It is incredibly inhumane… nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.”
Patton wasn’t shy about placing blame on Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio, whom she said is not helping the people forced to live under these kinds of conditions, and is also wasting millions of federal dollars.
If the @NYCMayor was TRULY focused on protecting @NYCHA residents then he would stop wasting the federal $30M/week INVESTMENT (not settlement $ due to fraud) on Union OT that doesn’t fix anything. But he won’t b/c the unions’ 2020 vote is more important than inhumane conditions. https://t.co/crqgWe5R5X
— Lynne Patton (HUD) (@LynnePattonHUD) March 18, 2019
“I know that money is being wasted, for example one of the units I stayed in Brooklyn had a leaky basement, but NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) thought that was the perfect place to store about 40 brand new doors never used – those doors were destroyed,” Patton said, adding that she wants to see proof that the staggering $30 million a week that goes to NYCHA gets from the federal government is being used to fix the problems,” Patton said.
“Where is the $30 million a week that the federal government gives to NYCHA and the city for the residents repairs going?” Patton said. “Because it’s certainly not going to the residents for repairs.”
Patton went so far to say in the CBS interview that she believes de Blasio and city housing officials are fraudulently deceiving the federal government about conditions in the city’s public housing.
“They literally had a cheat sheet on how to pass a physical from HUD,” Patton told CBS. “Paint cardboard so it looked like tile… these are crimes it’s not something that’s an innocent gesture… that’s a cheat sheet on how to commit crimes.”
Patton charges that politics – Mayor de Blasio’s ambition to run for president including several trips around the country – have distracted him and has kept him from doing what he’s responsible to do for New Yorkers. She has a laundry list of bones to pick with “On The Road Bill.”
She is demanded to know why it’s taking so long to find a permanent NYCHA chairman, a role she calls “the most critical position that’s vacant right now in the city.”
Patton also said there need to be fewer office workers and more boots on the ground.
“There are far too many people at NYCHA wearing buttoned-up white shirts and not enough wearing overalls, and this has to change, and the mayor needs to get on board or get out,” Patton said.
Patton said she believes people should be held accountable for committing “blatant deception and fraud.”
De Blasio pushed back on Patton’s charges.
“Everything she is saying is false, let’s make it simple false, false, you can quote me… keyword false,” de Blasio said, adding that Patton’s experiment has less to do with public housing and more to do with President Donald Trump’s budget request, although he did not explain how.
CBS noted that de Blasio did not directly answer questions about the fate of the millions of dollars.
“NYCHA sat on about $486 million that was earmarked for capital repairs… did nothing with it,” Patton said. “Why are you sitting on that? Are you trying to just live off the interest?”
Meanwhile, the residents who are living in dirty and dangerous condition were happy to see Patton and her effort to get the word out about their plight even though it seems things have now returned to the status quo.
“They’re telling the residents ‘oh, we can’t do this, we can’t do that,’ but that wasn’t the issue when Ms. Patton was here,” resident Leonard Jones said in the CBS report.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter