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Old 04-14-2012, 03:50 AM
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Angry Lack of ramps for the disabled at Bronx’s Soundview Houses has tenants fuming

from The NY Daily News:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz1rswZtPPd
Quote:
Lack of ramps for the disabled at Bronx’s Soundview Houses has tenants fuming; NYCHA says funding for fix 'in process'
Disabled tenants decry lack of accessibility in Soundview Houses

By Kerry Wills / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 6:00 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 6:00 AM

A tenant leader at Soundview Houses is fuming over the city’s refusal to work with her to make the complex handicapped-accessible.

Mary McGee, the tenant association president, says she can’t leave her building or even check her mail alone since a recent surgery temporarily confined her to a wheelchair. Two steps in the lobby, between the elevators and the front door, strand her inside unless neighbors lift her over them.

”I’m a prisoner in my own home,” the petite and typically energetic woman said Wednesday.

Several other residents of the Seward Ave. building use wheelchairs, scooters, canes or walkers. McGee, who also sits on Community Board 9, said nearly half the buildings in the project lack ramps for the handicapped, including eight with apartments outfitted expressly for people with disabilities.

Clarice Faulkner, 89, has been wheelchair-bound by arthritis for five years. She asked NYCHA for a ramp twice but was offered a transfer to another project instead. But Faulkner, who moved to Soundview in the 1960s, said she feels safe surrounded by her friends there.

“I don’t want to go,” Faulkner said. “I think something should be done about a ramp, not just for me, though I would very much appreciate it.”

Grace Jenkins, 76, said she needs a cane to walk even short distances and often can’t manage the steps.

“They’ve done us wrong for many years,” said Jenkins, who has a pin in her knee. “Those two steps downstairs, people can’t handle them when they get like me.”

McGee said NYCHA has refused to send her a survey of the steps she asked them to perform in November. McGee said she wanted to show it to elected officials, who recently helped her secure city dollars for new playground.

It’s been five years since McGee first complained about the steps at a NYCHA roundtable, inspiring state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. to write a letter to Mayor Bloomberg.

“This lack of handicap accessibility is a safety and quality of life concern that is entirely unacceptable and likely in violation of building codes,” Diaz wrote.

A NYCHA spokeswoman declined to answer specific questions about why ramps haven’t been installed. She issued this statement:

“In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), NYCHA has assessed the need for accessibility at Soundview Houses and is in the process of obtaining funding to make the necessary modifications to six building entrances and lobbies. The approximate cost of the modifications is $1.5 million."
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz1rzzjyNF0
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