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Loss of washer units irks Bridgeport seniors at Fireside Apartments

Hundreds of Bridgeport seniors say they are agitated after housing officials took away their washing machines.

News 12 Staff

Jul 1, 2022, 9:27 PM

Updated 745 days ago


Hundreds of Bridgeport seniors say they are agitated after housing officials took away their washing machines.
Fireside Apartments on the Upper East Side of Bridgeport is home to hundreds of seniors, like 74-year-old Juanita Austin. She is a disabled, insulin-dependent diabetic.
“Sometimes I could walk and then sometimes my legs start shaking and I have to stop until they stop shaking," said Austin.
When Austin recently found out that the Bridgeport Housing Authority was banning washing machines in her building, she says her world was turned upside down.
"It's taking away my independence and I'm very upset about it because I depend on my washing machine," she said.
Housing officials say, "The apartments at Fireside were not constructed with washer nor dryer hookups during construction in 1963. Consequently, resident households drain washers through kitchen sinks which causes massive backups and sewer line collapses development-wide.
Over the course of the last few years, PCC has spent an exorbitant amount of scarce capital dollars repairing the lines due to system overloads.
While it is never our goal to inconvenience our residents, removing individual washers from units is a necessary change. In an effort to lessen the impact on our households we are looking at ways to extend the hours of our onsite laundry facilities. Additionally, we will seek to upgrade the existing infrastructure in our redevelopment efforts."
"How dare you tell seniors and amputees and people on oxygen that if they don't get rid of washing machines you're going to evict them?" said City Council Woman Maria Pereira.
Pereira said she's been inundated with complaints from residents and believes the approach housing officials have taken is "heavy-handed."
Pereira said each court has only two public washers and the Fireside laundromats are only open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
"I need my washing machine. I can't go over there to that laundromat," said Austin.
Pereira is pledging to fight back, saying she won't let these residents get hung out to dry. 
"That's not how you treat seniors or people with disabilities. It's inappropriate and I'm not going to stand for it," said Pereira.
In a statement, 

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