At a speaking engagement at a Red Hook housing complex Monday, NYCHA Chairman John Rhea announced that while residents of New York City’s storm-beleaguered housing projects will have to pay their full rent for the time being, they’ll be getting a reimbursement credit come January. Rhea called the coming credit “a nice little Christmas present,” for the NYCHA denizens, 22,400 of whom are still without either power or heat and hot water.

Many residents at the event were unhappy, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio echoed their sentiments, blasting NYCHA on the decision.  “It is unacceptable to charge full rent up front for tenants who in many cases are still living in the dark,” he said. “NYCHA should cease rent collection in affected developments until basic services are restored, such as electricity, heat and hot water. No tenant in public housing should be forced to pay the city for rent they do not actually owe.”

Rhea, however, assured the residents of Red Hook Houses that they hadn’t been “forgotten.” “We’re all saying a few prayers, believe me,” he said. “We recognize this has been unbearable for so many families. We’re trying to do our part.”

(Photo: Shelley Bernstein/Flickr)