By Greg B. Smith / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Just days after Hurricane Sandy devastated public housing in Coney Island, the Housing Authority slapped eviction notices on apartment doors for nonpayment of rent, the Daily News has learned.
At the time, tenants had been ordered to evacuate, and those who stuck around had no power, hot water, heat or elevators. Elderly tenants were trapped in upper floors where toilets didn’t function.
“It’s really ridiculous,” said Edward Josephson, director of litigation for NYC Legal Services. “At the very time they were unable to send people out there to see if people were dying or not, they were able to send people to serve notice of evictions.”
Nearly 80,000 tenants at 400 NYCHA buildings across the city were affected by the storm, with thousands in Coney Island, Red Hook and the Far Rockaways living in miserable conditions for weeks without basic services. Tenants at developments most severely damaged by the storm complained that for more than a week, NYCHA staff failed to show up to help or let them know when services would return.
Yet a mere four days after Sandy struck, a NYCHA process server traipsed out to the devastated developments at Coney Island to go after tenants, plastering eviction notices on apartment doors in the Surfside Gardens Houses.
NYCHA spokesperson Sheila Stainback told The News the agency probably wouldn’t go forward with those evictions until next year. In late November, the agency implemented a temporary moratorium on evictions at Sandy-ravaged buildings.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was still fuming. He said NYCHA’s priorities “are completely backwards.”
“It’s infuriating the Housing Authority couldn’t knock on doors to check in on seniors and the disabled after Sandy, but somehow found the resources to post eviction notices,” he said.