NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In an exclusive story CBS2 first reported on Sunday night, reporter Reena Roy discovered a horrible reality in a senior apartment building, where the disabled are forced to take the stairs because the elevator has been broken for almost two months.
Some haven’t even been able to leave their apartments because they can’t get downstairs.READ MORE: Brian Laundrie's Remains Found In Florida Nature Reserve, Officials Say
On Monday, Roy demanded answers in Jamaica, Queens, to find out why repairs are taking so long.
With their walkers, groceries and canes, getting up the stairs at the Grace Houses is an uphill battle.
“I feel like a Mack truck ran over me, just those two steps,” 84-year-old Leo Wright said.
Some can’t take any steps at all. Luther Roof, 77, who uses a scooter, hasn’t been able to get downstairs for about two months, since the only elevator at the 90th Avenue senior housing development suddenly stopped working.
“I’m in here, I’m stuck in here from the 4th of March,” Roof said. “I don’t get to go to none of my doctor’s appointments. I call myself under house arrest.”
Eight floors with a total of 80 apartments are filled with angry tenants who have been getting the runaround, just like Roy did.
For the second day in a row, the building’s management company told her no one was available to talk.READ MORE: Man Taken Into Custody After Shooting Just Steps Away From Bronx School
Roy: “That’s a long time. They can’t walk.”
“They’re working on it,” a representative told Roy.
Roy: “Yeah, but this is unacceptable for seniors. Why is it taking so long? They can barely walk as it is. Who can we talk to that’s responsible for this?”
“I tried. I really don’t have an answer for you. I’m so sorry,” the rep responded.
Ava Lezama, the housing manager on site, did speak with Roy but couldn’t say when repairs will be finished, telling CBS2 the entire elevator needs to be replaced.
“We are working on it,” Lezama said, adding when pushed for a completion date, “I have no idea.”
It turns out, the government agencies involved don’t exactly know, either. The city’s Department for Housing, Preservation and Development, which is overseeing the work, said it has begun and is being prioritized but could take at least several more weeks, adding things couldn’t get started until the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved and funded the repairs because the building is subsidized by the agency.
Officials said there has also been a delay in ordering the rare parts for the old elevator system.
So no one can give a deadline and there’s little tenants like Roof can do but sit and wait to leave what he calls a prison cell.MORE NEWS: Paterson Youth Football Team Gets $10,000 Gift From New York Giants, Dunkin' Donuts
Workers are looking into whether or not elevator service can be safely and temporarily restored on an interim basis for tenants.