7 On Your Side

Broken mailboxes leave Bronx residents with no mail

Monday, August 19, 2013

Nearly 30 residents of a city run building in the Bronx are sending up a cry for help.

Since the beginning of summer they've had no mail delivery.

That means elderly and disabled residents were having trouble getting vital checks and bills for months.

Among them: Santa West, who recently fought off cancer, pneumonia, even heart problems.

But now the Bronx native says she's met her match.

The problem is a panel of broken mailboxes apparently vandalized back in May and never fixed.

"The postman can't put mail in here because it's all broken, the whole door opens up. So they could take anybody's mail," West said.

Santa says she and other residents of this city owned housing building say they've been battling the New York City Housing Authority to get the bank of boxes fixed.

"It's just crazy," she said, adding that the panel has been broken since the end of May.

"It's frustrating. It really is because it's not fair to us," said another resident, Maxine Bailey.

Maxine says she was told a new mailbox door was ordered, but...

"It's gonna take another four to six weeks before we get a mailbox," she said.

Both Maxine and Santa depend on assistance checks to pay the rent. But with no mail, Santa struggles to make the trek to the post office where they hold her mail.

"They (the NYCHA) are claiming that it's the post office repsonsiblility and the post office is saying it's NYCHA," she said.

First we called the post office: it said the broken door is NYCHA's responsibility. They only repair the lock. Then we visited the on site NYCHA property manager.

And later that same day, an apology from the property manager, and:

"Voila, I have mail," said Santa.

Finally: a very special delivery for Santa, and it's not even Christmas.

"Thank you so much. I love you. Thank you. I don't know how to thank you," she told us.

And with that, she gave us a hug to thank 7 On Your Side for 'delivering'.

So why did the fix take so long?

The U.S. Postal Service told us it investigated the broken mailboxes months ago, even gave NYCHA a list of repairs to be made.

NYCHA told us it met with postal representatives seven times to have the cylinder repaired.

But why was the repair made only hours after our call? We never got an answer to that one.

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