It gets cold in New York in the winter, so to suddenly find yourself with heat is a nightmarish scenario.
Unfortunately, nearly 324,000 New York public housing residents have found themselves in exactly that predicament due to lax New York City Housing Authority reporting systems. Some have even had their water cut off as well. However, those residents have found an unlikely ally in their fight against this unjust treatment: Queens rapper Ja Rule.
While he may not be the most obvious choice for champion of the oppressed, considering his recent business failures and high-profile celebrity feuds on social media, he might be the best one, since he’s got a dog in the fight.
“I was raised in public housing, my mom worked two to three jobs to try and feed us,” he explained during a panel on the Housing Authority on FOX5 earlier this month. “I’m really upset at the fact that we’re all here right now, talking about heat. It’s a human right to have heat in your building that you live in.”
Ja held a press conference on the steps of City Hall along with fellow citizens to protest the deplorable conditions foisted on them by the system. “I think the next step is for NYCHA to give us answers. We want to know: Where does this go from here?” he said. “We’ll go to the mayor, we’ll go to the governor… we’ll go as far as we need it to.”
Per a New York Times report, over 143,000 apartments were affected between October 1, 2017 and January 22, 2018, losing heat for an average of 48 hours. More than 80 percent of Housing Authority residents were without heat at some point during the winter.
Rule speculated that the reasoning for the shutoff was economic, saying, “I think we’re all missing the big, big picture here. This is all part of a bigger plan, that I feel, they have to push these residents out of their homes, and bring in private housing.”
He also detailed plans for further action and proposed withholding rent until the situation changes. “Let’s shut this city down. We ain’t paying no more rent until this situation is dealt with. No heat, no hot water? No money, no rent.”