NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Bronx senior citizen and amputee, evicted from his NYCHA apartment while he was in a rehabilitation facility, may soon have a new lease on life.
“Bienvenido is a continued example of the incompetence and indifference of this agency… and quite frankly, the only example of them processing something quickly,” federal housing official Lynne Patton said Friday.
New York City’s HUD liaison brought the federal government down on NYCHA for their treatment of 72-year-old amputee Bienveniedo Martinez.
Martinez was kicked out of his Bronx apartment in December while recovering from surgery.
Making the shameful deed even worse, the senior says NYCHA threw out all of his possessions, despite calls from Beth Abraham Rehab Facility to the city’s housing agency explaining his situation.
“If the rehab facility reached out and let them know where this gentleman was, someone is incompetent or lazy or both,” Patton charged.
On Friday, City Hall stepped in to help Mr. Martinez. The mayor’s deputy press secretary tweeted after CBS2’s report on Thursday.
In a city where it is notoriously difficult for landlords to throw tenants out, the Martinez case begs the question about exactly how NYCHA handles evictions for rent issues versus other matters like being found with drugs or guns.
According to the New York City Department of Investigation, 317 NYCHA residents were evicted for not paying rent in 2016, but only 14 were evicted for dangerous activity.
“It shows where their priorities are and frankly it’s disgusting,” Patton added.
On Friday, CBS2 again requested an on-camera interview with the temporary head of NYCHA – Kathryn Garcia – but those calls were redirected and CBS2’s emails went unanswered by the embattled agency.
Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. said he welcomes NYCHA’s move to grant Martinez a new apartment, but adds “it is unfortunate that it took so public an effort to convince NYCHA to do the right thing for Mr. Martinez.”
City Hall did not have a timeline for when Mr. Martinez is expected to be placed in his new apartment.