NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It was a sleepover the Democratic candidates for mayor said they won’t soon forget.
Residents at the Lincoln Houses complex in East Harlem rolled out the welcome mat so the candidates can see what life is really like for the 3,100 residents.
“They’re roach infested, they’re rat infested,” one resident of the public housing complex told reporters including WCBS 880′s Monica Miller.
Christine Quinn, Anthony Weiner, Bill de Blasio, Bill Thompson and John Liu each spent the night with a host family at the 65-year-old housing project.
The Rev. Al Sharpton organized the unusual sleepover to shed light on the problems.
“Just one night will not solve any of the problems, but one night will take the issue out of the margins,” said Sharpton.
With sleeping bags in hand, the five candidates said the black mold was hard to ignore.
“The mold in this bathroom is some of the worst that I’ve ever seen,” said Quinn.
“People all over the city in a million years would never accept this, and yet NYCHA tenants are asked, forced to accept this every single day,” de Blasio said.
The candidates all agreed that the living conditions are subpar at NYCHA complexes.
“The holes in the wall, other things. It is just wrong. It’s not the way we should be treating our fellow New Yorkers,” said Thompson
“We have to remember that these neighbors are people, people who are very proud of what they’ve done, what they’ve accomplished in their lives and that they deserve the same kinds of services that anybody else in this city gets,” Liu said.
Win or lose, Weiner said it’s a night they’ll never forget.
“We’re going to remember the families we stayed with for a long time,” he said.
Residents of the Lincoln Houses said they’re hopeful there will be changes to NYCHA in the next mayoral administration.
“They went out of their way to do it, so I think it will make a difference,” resident Kathrine Wilson told CBS 2′s Janelle Burrell.
“We could hope for a change…because it’s time,” resident Barbara Gamble added.
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