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Coney Island Residents Demand Better Housing From Their Congressman

Instead of staying home to watch the Warriors vs. Cavaliers NBA playoff game, families, children and community members of Coney Island gathered together at the YMCA for an 8th Congressional District town hall meeting with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

“These are challenging times. Our great President, Barack Obama, has left the building, and we have got a new president in town, and we have got some issues we have to work through,”  Jeffries said. “We do want to focus on storm recovery and resilience, as well as some of the challenges that we are going to face in the housing space.”

The congressman was joined by what Jeffries called “the Coney Island dream team”: New York Sen. Diane Savino, New York Assemblywoman Pam Harris and City Councilman Mark Treyger. Jeffries was also joined by Dan Falt, a U.S. Army Corps project manager and Melissa Quirk, a New York City Housing Authority Special Assistant.

Harris wooed the crowd by mentioning specific audience members by name and by continually repeating phrases like “I am you,” and “I represent you.”

However, not all members of the audience were so intrigued by the speakers’ remarks. Luz Lozada was the first person to get up and beeline for the microphone when citizens were given the opportunity to ask questions.

Luz Lozada shows pictures from last winter of her freezing children in their unheated apartment.

Since Hurricane Sandy hit almost five years ago, Coney Island has continued to rebuild and fix the damage that occurred, but this wasn’t the case for Lozada.

“I have walls falling apart,” Lozada said. “I get no heat whatsoever in there throughout the winter. The thermometer read 19.6, that’s how cold my apartment was.”

Other frustrated crowd members asked if the money being used to repair the city from Hurricane Sandy was taking away money from the housing projects.

Jeffries and his panel answered the concerned community members’ questions and assured that his team will continue to work toward better housing and storm recovery efforts.

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