Amidst the ongoing dispute between tenants and Alma Reality over conditions at Rockaway’s Surfside apartments, Councilwoman Joann Ariola spoke out to make her position clear and express her support for the tenants and the Surfside Housing Association For Tenants (SHAFT).
“What Alma is doing here at Surfside is nothing short of despicable,” Councilwoman Ariola said. “Tenants are left for days without heat or hot water, residents regularly complain to my office about cleanliness issues in the halls and lobbies, and the elevators have become nothing short of dangerous. Alma’s recent attempts to hold up a survey responded to by 150 people with less than a hundred people responding positively, showing that they are good caretakers is almost comical. This clearly does not represent the view held by the majority of Surfside residents and is simply a smoke and mirror act meant to misguide the general public about what Alma is really doing.”
“For at least the last 15 years, SHAFT has been working very hard to keep Alma accountable for the upkeep of the property and to provide the services we deserve as rent paying tenants. It has been and continues to be a frustrating relationship,” SHAFT President Barbara Buffolino said. “As always Alma only steps up when electeds keep them in check. The burden continues to be placed on SHAFT and the individual tenants to ‘get things done.’ While the current staff try their best with no union to protect them, we stand by our opinion that there is not enough staff to provide the proper upkeep and issues involving equipment like boilers and elevators are still being repaired with a band-aiding approach.”
“Alma’s refusal to address chronic health and safety issues within the buildings while simultaneously working to expand the property is highly problematic,” one Surfside resident wrote in a recent letter. “Our building, 107-10 Shorefront Parkway, has had critical interruptions in the provision of heat and hot water, during which times outdoor temperatures have been below freezing. Our elevators have serious and dangerous problems for everyone, especially for people with carriages, people with disabilities, senior citizens and those who live on very upper floors.”
Councilwoman Ariola firmly stands with the people of Surfside, and pledges to continue dialogue with Alma to rectify tenant complaints and ensure that all residents of those buildings can enjoy the quality of life that they expect and deserve.