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Mayoral Hopefuls Have a Sleepover in NYCHA Complex

By Gustavo Solis | July 21, 2013 11:45am
  Five Democratic candidates spent Saturday night at an East Harlem public housing complex.
Five Democratic candidates spent Saturday night at an East Harlem public housing complex.
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DNAinfo/Jeff Mays

NEW YORK CITY — Mayoral candidates fighting for a home in Gracie Mansion slept in a public housing complex Saturday night.

The five Democratic candidates — Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, and Anthony Weiner — had a sleepover at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem.

Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network set up the political slumber party to shed light on some of the living conditions that New York City Housing Authority tenants have to put up with on a daily basis.

“Just one night will not solve any of the problems,” Sharpton told reporters at a 6 a.m. press conference. “But one night will take the issue out of the margins.”

Candidates carried sleeping bags into mold-filled apartments that had not received basic maintenance in more than two years.

“The mold in this bathroom is some of the worst I’ve ever seen,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

NYCHA has been criticized for its backlog of over 400,000 repairs and failure to improve living conditions for public housing residents. Some tenants, like the ones in the rat-infested Claremont Houses, have sued the housing authority.

“People in the city in a million years would never accept this,” Public Advocate Bill De Blasio said. “Yet NYCHA tenants are forced to accept this every single day.”

“The New York City Housing Authority appreciates any gathering that leads to thoughtful discussion about the preservation of low income and public housing in the city,” NYCHA said in  a statement.