After six months without gas service, residents at Bland Houses in Flushing are once again receiving working gas in their apartments.
The restoration comes after Congresswoman Grace Meng, Senator John Liu, Assemblyman Ron Kim and Councilman Peter Koo sent a letter to the heads of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) and Con Edison calling for the broken gas lines to be immediately repaired for impacted residents.
“This is good, if belated, news for the tenants living without gas these past five to six months, and I am glad that the concerns we expressed as elected officials helped make the difference,” Kim said. “Being forced to go without use of your stove during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is unacceptable, and I hope the gas is restored for the remaining affected residents shortly.”
On July 23, service was returned to the 10 apartments at 133-50 Roosevelt Ave. — which lost gas in February — and 10 units at 133-40 Roosevelt Ave. — which lost gas in March.
Residents in those apartments were unable to cook or use their stoves during the height of the coronavirus outbreak in New York, and throughout most of the summer months.
Meng had personally spoken with NYCHA CHair and CEO Gregory Russ about the issue. She explained the toll the outage had taken on residents, and emphasized the urgent need for restoring gas as soon as possible.
“These repairs are long overdue and should not have taken this long. But I thank NYCHA for following through and finally fixing the problem,” Meng said. “I also thank Chair and CEO Russ for speaking with me about the outage, and being responsive to my concerns for constituents who reside in these buildings. I hope that there will be no further service interruptions, and that any future repairs do not take many months to fix.”
Liu said that their neighbors and constituents at Bland Houses deserve better than the inordinate delays and treatment they have suffered for far too long during the stay-at-home health crisis.
“It’s good to see at long last progress is being made to restore this vital service,” Liu said. “Kudos and thanks to Congress member Meng for lighting the fire under NYCHA so that these residents can finally light the fire on their stoves once again.”
Meanwhile, Koo said NYCHA needs to do more to make sure the gas outages don’t happen again.
“If a private landlord left its tenants without gas for months during the pandemic, they would be held to account,” Koo said. “And when infrastructure does need repairs, it needs to be fixed with far greater urgency. Many thanks to Congresswoman Meng and my colleagues in government for drawing attention to this serious issue.”