HUD official visits public housing, stuck in elevator

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By Associated press

The one-month visit that a federal housing official made to New York City's social housing complexes slowed down sharply when she was stuck in a lift on Tuesday.

Lynne Patton and 10 other people, including journalists and photographers, were stranded in a Frederick Douglass Homes elevator in Manhattan for about 10 minutes when a person accidentally pressed the alarm trigger. The group had to be released by firefighters.

"Thanks to the brave New Yorkers!" Unfortunately, NYCHA residents – the elderly and the disabled – routinely endure this type of debilitating systematic failure, "then released Patton on Facebook, using the acronym New York City Housing Authority.

Lynne Patton, Regional Housing and Urban Development Administrator, right, accompanied by New York State Senator Brian Benjamin, uses stairs after being trapped in a locked elevator in the Douglas Houses, New York , February 19, 2019.Richard Drew / AP

Patton, the regional administrator of the New York-New Jersey Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been living for four weeks in four different NYCHA complexes.

She spent last week at Patterson Houses in the Bronx, where she joined an aerobics class and used an obscenity to describe the dilapidated state of some apartments.

She then posted on Twitter: "I do not mince words and I will not get into the failures of sugarcoat @ NYCHA."

The jammed elevator of Tuesday has revealed not to be a product of a systemic failure. NYCHA spokesman, Michael Giardina, said that someone in the crowded elevator had accidentally pressed the alarm switch. "There was no mechanical failure, and the staff was on hand immediately to help everyone after a few minutes," Giardina said.

Patton's day at Douglass Homes also included visits to several apartments and a seniors' center.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson and City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced an agreement that would prevent the federal government from taking control of the housing authority. Under the agreement, HUD will appoint a federal controller to oversee the authority, but will not cease to take total control by escrow.

The 400,000 inhabitants of the housing authority have long been confronted with problems of vermin, mold, heat and hot water.

The President of the Authority, Shola Olatoye, resigned last year after an investigation revealed that the lead paint inspection reports had been falsified for years.

De Blasio, a Democrat, blamed the misfortunes of this authority for the lack of funding from the federal and state governments, as well as the administrations of previous town halls. But Patton has accused "bad management" in a publication on Facebook.

Patton, an event organizer best known for her work on the marriage of Trump's son, Eric, was widely criticized for his lack of qualification when the president appointed him to the HUD post.

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