Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous reports from the remaining eight residents at PPR and their families that hot water has either been non-existent or scalding, and that heat in the building has been sporadic.
Days at a time have gone by without hot water for the seniors, and on Christmas night residents found that the heat in the building had been completely turned off.
The horrendous conditions are nothing new at the facility, which has been in the throes of numerous court hearings for the past nine months after building owner Haysha Deitsch attempted to evict over 120 seniors living there.
The remaining eight residents in court won their right to stay, at least until a settlement is worked out between them, Deitsch, the real estate company that has already signed a contract to buy the building once the seniors are gone, and the state Department of Health (DOH).
While negotiations are worked out, DOH is supposed to monitor conditions at the facility to ensure that Deitsch continues to provide a good quality of life for the residents.
But for many months, family members have contended that DOH has failed to keep the seniors safe. This latest issue with heat and hot water is just one of many complaints that DOH has failed to address in the building.
"I submit that the Department of Health has long ago disqualified themselves as an appropriate monitor of the conditions in the building or of the health and safety of the residents,” said one family member, who asked to remain anonymous.
The family member called for a new monitor “so that our loved ones need not suffer any longer under these revolting conditions."
That request may be answered at another court hearing set for the end of January, but in the meantime, a hearing last week led to an order from Judge Wayne Saitta to immediately provide and regulate hot water at the facility.
“There cannot be no hot water,” said Judith Goldiner, an attorney for the elderly residents. “We were very concerned about the residents.”
Goldiner said that a number of other stipulations that the judge previously set forth are not being followed — including fixing leaky ceilings and a lack of programmed activities for the seniors — but that the hot water was the most pressing issue and needed to be addressed immediately.
She said she and her clients may be back in court again before the end of the month if the poor conditions continue.