East Harlem NYCHA complex gets $8M for flood prevention

EAST HARLEM, N.Y. - According to residents of the Clinton Houses, an NYCHA public housing facility at 108th and Lexington in East Harlem, flooding is a major issue.

"When it starts flooding in the lobby area, it stinks like really bad." Desma Cropper

Cornelius Sullivan has lived in the building for 44 years. He says whenever the basement floods, the elevator "goes out completely."

"I have to help old people up the steps when the elevator goes out," Sullivan said.

"The majority of times when it rains," said resident Gerratt Johnson, "you see flooding coming from out of the walls."

But residents will soon benefit from $8.3 million awarded by FEMA for what the agency is calling a stormwater resiliency project.

"Now that makes me feel good for the community," Johnson said.

"It makes me feel good for NYCHA knowing things are going to get upgraded." Gerratt Johnson

The money is coming from the bipartisan infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed into law two years ago, which directed more money to communities so that, FEMA says, they can better withstand the growing climate threat.

In a statement, Fema Region 2 Administrator David Warrington said, "Clinton Houses, a low-income public housing development in East Harlem, is just one example of how we are leveraging nature-based solutions to reduce risk and benefit the community in many other ways."

A similar flooding mitigation project at the South Jamaica houses in Queens will include a sunken basketball court that can act as a reservoir.

Fox 5 NY reached out to both NYCHA and FEMA requesting an interview to get more details about the planned project, but neither responded by the deadline.