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Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz
Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz
Shola Olatoye with Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz and Bill Colton.

Local politicians and community stakeholders met at the Marlboro Houses in Gravesend on Friday, January 20 to announce the arrival of new appliances to the apartments within the complex thanks to $3 million in funding that was secured last year.

Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz and William Colton were on hand, alongside Shola Olatoye, chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), to announce to residents that new stoves and refrigerators will be delivered to all 1,765 apartments within the Marlboro Houses, thanks to funding secured by the two legislators specifically for that purpose.

“Delivery of the new appliances began this week and will continue on a building-by-building basis,” said Cymbrowitz, adding that an estimated $1.5 million worth of appliances are currently being delivered.

Colton called the announcement a “truly a happy occasion.

“What it really represents is the cooperation between city and state government agencies, elected officials, residents and the residents association, all working together,” he said.

Pols said that, thanks to the residents’ constant efforts and identification of the problems within the complex, this project was able to come to fruition.

Cymbrowitz, who was recently named chair of the Assembly’s housing committee, stated that “prior to being elected to the Assembly, I spent many years working on housing issues at NYCHA and at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). This new position will allow me to fight for safe and affordable housing throughout our state. I will be working more closely with NYCHA, and I look forward to working with them on future projects.”

Olatoye noted that there has been “a consistent disinvestment in public housing,” promising, “it is something that we are working to turn the tide against, but it is hard.

“We really cannot do this without you helping us to communicate to residents,” she added, “and letting people know that we need them to to be home so we can get into the apartments.”

Tenant Association President Betty James thanked everyone involved for their hard work and constant support.

“I have been working with Bill and Steve for this to happen and whenever I have asked, or whenever we have asked them for anything for the residents, they always come through,” she said. “I want to thank you for being there, as always.”

Previously, there had been new lights and cameras installed in the buildings in order to make the complex safer for the residents. Olatoye also mentioned a future project which will include the repair and upgrade of the picnic and park benches and recreational area.

“This is a long term effort,” she said. “We would love to say that tomorrow everything is going to change but in fact that is not going to be the case. Our commitment is to ensure that a safe and clean NYCHA is not just a slogan but it is something that actually means something for residents. It is going to take time but we are starting to see the changes, whether it be through lighting investments, security camera investments or outdoor and indoor investments. These are the types of things that actually mean something to you. This is what affects what’s happening in your home.”

“This is government at its best working for you,” said Colton.

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