NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Some disabled residents of one apartment building in the Bronx feel trapped in their own homes, with the elevator they desperately need out of service for the last two months.
For the young and able-bodied, using the stairs is a snap. For the chronically ill and the disabled, though, not having a working elevator is a challenge, reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.
The situation has been especially difficult for Rosa Batista, whose 11-year-old son, Livon, has cerebral palsy. They’ve been relying on the kindness of their neighbor, John Luciano.
“As you can see, the lady next door, her son is disabled,” Luciano said. “It’s a hassle for her to get her son into the house.”
“He’s stopped going to his therapy,” Batista said through a translator.
The six-story building on Anderson Avenue, near Yankee Stadium, has a single working elevator on one side of the building, but on the side where Cia Johnson lives, residents say the elevator hasn’t worked in more than two months.
“I have asthma and the woman I live with, she has lupus and she’s in a wheelchair,” Johnson said. “She can’t even go to all her appointments because some days she can’t walk.”
That woman, Carmen Cruz, said that even when she can handle the stairs, it’s still a struggle.
“You know, I’m stuck in my home,” she said. “I feel like a criminal.”
Some of the residents have resorted to using the elevator on the other, separated side of the building. They go to the roof, then cross over to the other stairwell, an inconvenient and often slippery solution.
The tenants recently received a letter from the landlord claiming that, because of permits, fixing the elevator would take another three to four weeks.
The Buildings Department told CBS 2, however, that it has filed a violation against the owner of the building and is pursuing legal action to force the landlord to make immediate repairs.
In the meantime, though, the elevator issue will be an ongoing hardship that the elderly and disabled tenants shouldn’t have to deal with.
The violation issued by New York City last week can carry a fine of $25,000. The elevator in question is also being listed as a chronic offender, which means it will be subjected to more frequent inspections.