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Heat and Hot Water Complaints Up 50 Percent In North Brooklyn This December

By Gwynne Hogan | December 23, 2016 9:27am
 While complaints were up 25 percent citywide, North Brooklyn saw a more dramatic spike.
While complaints were up 25 percent citywide, North Brooklyn saw a more dramatic spike.
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BUSHWICK — Complaints about lack of heat and hot water spiked 50 percent in North Brooklyn neighborhoods this December, compared with a citywide surge of 25 percent, according to an analysis of 311 complaints logged on Open Data.

Last year — an unseasonably warm December, with temperatures pushing 70 come Christmas Day — coincided unsurprisingly with a dramatic dip in 311 complaints about heat, according to the data.

But this year, complaints were up again across the city with 32,186 calls logged in the five boroughs in December, compared with 25,567 in 2014.

This December the North Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick saw a 50 percent jump in complaints from Dec. 1 and Dec. 21 about heat and hot water issues, compared with the same period in 2014.

In Bushwick, there were 504 complaints to HPD via 311 about heat and hot water compared with 329 in 2014 during the first three weeks of December.

The neighborhood, saw slightly more complaints than the nearby Greenpoint and Williamsburg, where complaints were up to 457 from 304 in 2014. 

The city's Department of Housing and Preservation, which fields complaints about heat and hot water, didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

"People are reporting more," said Rolando Guzman, an organizer at St Nick's Alliance, who works on the ground with many tenants in North Brooklyn, though he added there's another possible explanation for the uptick in complaints this year.

"One thing we're seeing more often is a lack of heat because of illegal construction in the building, mostly around gas lines," Guzman said. "That's another pattern for harassment, in denying essential services to tenants."

"It's a big burden, [heat is] an essential need this time of the year, when you have elders or people with chronic disease and also children," he said.