As president of the residents association, he put in requests for repairs into the NYCHA system, but according to Burgess, those tickets closed out within hours.
Burgess then encouraged his fellow residents to put in requests for fixes, but all of those were closed out too.
That’s not the only problem Ingersoll Houses tenants have faced. They have a rat population that is “taking over the development,” Burgess said. They have had not a working incinerator for 15 months, and steam pipe work is still incomplete.
“I think it’s very ludicrous for NYCHA to just keep passing the buck, to give us no answer at all when it comes to heat and hot water,” he said. “They had all summer to get it together. I feel totally disrespected, and my residents feel totally disrespected.”
He’s not the only one. Isabella Lee from the Walt Whitman Houses in Fort Greene said her development has faced a multitude of problems as well, including ongoing roofing and brickwork that never seems to end.
Scaffolding and netting completely shroud many buildings in the complex.
“My residents cannot breathe through this netting they have up here,” she said. “We’re fenced in like we’re living in prison.”
Like Burgess, Lee said residents at this development have tried to reach out to NYCHA for help, but their request have fallen on “deaf ears.”
These are just some of the complaints that public housing residents say plague developments across the city. Worst of all, they don’t have a real-time, publicly accessible platform to track all of the repairs that need to be done.
Borough President Eric Adams hopes to change that. On Monday, Adams urged NYCHA to adopt CompStat-style technology to make repair work in public housing more transparent.
CompStat, a management system that the NYPD adopted 25 years ago, would allow not just NYCHA officials but all residents to track repairs, see how many hours were put into the work, and observe the costs involved.
“When residents report these problems, they’re faced with an archaic, 20th century system of tracking and reporting that does not do the job correctly,” Adams said. “NYCHA staff will come into the apartments with a pad in their hands. This is unimaginable.
“It’s time that NYCHA joins the 21st century and modernize their maintenance requests and collection system,” he added. “The goal is to fix modern problems with modern solutions.”
Under the current system, the borough president said, many complaints are lost in the shuffle and end up unaddressed. Requests that do go in are backlogged, and there’s no way for residents to know what is happening.
With winter coming, Adams said NYCHA residents are likely to face another cold season because there have already been reports of broken boilers. He said having a CompStat-style platform would help NYCHA better tackle that problem.
“If you put the right system in place, you can prevent the breakdowns,” he said.
Former NYPD Chief of Department Louis Anemone, who is widely known as the architect behind CompStat, said the system helped the police department reduce crime, but also made it more transparent.
Anemone, a product of the Marlboro Houses in south Brooklyn himself, said NYCHA lacks transparency, so it’s a “perfect opportunity.”
“It works, it’s been proven,” he said. “It can work here.”
NYCHA spokesperson Chester Soria said the agency agrees they need a more transparent, streamlined process for managing repairs and response.
“Our new leadership has already begun working on implementing a new program for NYCHA,” he said in a statement, “which we look forward to announcing soon.”