Yvonne Shields

New York City Chapter

I am a resident of the Highbridge Gardens public housing development. I was a victim of downsizing at my job and soon there after I became homeless and was receiving public assistance. Public housing became the best option for me, and after a 10 month search I was able to move into Highbridge Garden, and have lived there for 10 years.

Living in Public Housing was a new experience for me and although I am totally appreciative of having a home, I still face a number of issues; the most serious of which is dealing with subpar repairs and equipment. From the beginning, I’ve had to deal with a refrigerator that did not work.

It’s taken the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) four years to repair a door. The first year they installed a door; a year and a half later they replaced the frame but put the door in upside down. In the process, they left holes in the walls from the repairs which took them 3 years to eventually repair. Housing and Urban Development needs to issue and enforce guidelines on how housing authorities deal with repairs in our homes.

My building was once without gas for 6 weeks. NYCHA’s solution was to issue everyone hot plates to cook on, which is not only insufficient, but dangerous. At no time did NYCHA even provide us even a reduction in rent for the inconvenience or issue an apology. Public housing residents pay their rent just like the everyone else and we shouldn’t have to deal with subpar repairs or equipment. That’s why I am fighting to preserve and improve public housing in New York City and State.