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Courtesy of Kim's office
(From l. to r.) Assemblyman Ron Kim speaks with a Bland Houses resident and Janaya Whitehead, president of the Bland Residents Association.

Queens lawmakers are calling on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the New York City Department of Buildings (NYCDOB) and Con Edison to immediately restore gas service to residents at the Bland Houses in Flushing.

Congresswoman Grace Meng, Senator John Liu, Assemblyman Ron Kim and Councilman Peter Koo, sent a letter to the heads of NYCHA, NYCDOB and Con Edison demanding swift action. 

Since March, 10 apartments at Bland Houses — located at 133-40 Roosevelt Ave. — have been without gas due to a broken gas line, according to the lawmakers. The problem has still not been fixed, and NYCHA has no timeframe as to when gas service will be restored.

For over three months, residents — many of whom are essential workers — have been unable to cook or use their stoves during the height of the coronavirus outbreak, and the outage now continues into the summer months.  

“Our constituents have said that they have had to choose between standing over their NYCHA-issued hot plates for hours to prepare rice or meat and managing to get some rest before beginning their commutes to our city’s hospitals to help those most in need,” the lawmakers said. 

Although NYCHA has distributed hot plates to impacted tenants, it is not a long-term or acceptable solution to living without working gas, according to the lawmakers.

“It is of utmost importance that NYCHA, NYCDOB and Con Edison address the outstanding issues in restoring gas service to line A apartments so these rent-paying residents are not subjected to any further delays in receiving working gas,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “NYCHA, NYCDOB and Con Edison have been ineffective in promptly addressing the needs of the residents of Bland Houses serviced by gas line A. The residents of Bland Houses are struggling, and remain in desperate need of receiving working gas during this COVID-19 public health emergency.” 

Last month, Kim visited Bland Houses to speak with affected residents in the building and also sent a letter to NYCHA. 

Kim has also demanded an immediate investigation of the situation in order to restore gas service for residents. Furthermore, the assemblyman is requesting that residents receive a rent reduction and due compensation for reduced services during the past six months.

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