A new bill in the state legislature would require the NYCH to provide residents with free food if access to drinking water is cut – in response to this month’s fear of arsenic in a Manhattan council estate.

The measure, sponsored by Manhattan Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly member Harvey Epstein, would instruct New York City housing officials to give their residents three free meals a day if their water supply was interrupted, according to a copy of the bill provided only for daily news.

Epstein and Hoylman said the bill was directly inspired by the troubled homeowners Riis NYCHA faced earlier this month when they were told not to use taps for over a week due to the discovery of arsenic in water sources.

“It’s become clear that it’s not just water – people can’t cook,” Epstein said, recalling that a certain Riis family he had met did not have access to gas in their apartment either. “If you’re losing water for more than 24 hours, local authorities have to step in. It’s obvious they didn’t.

Rochel Leah Goldblatt, a spokeswoman for NYCH, declined to comment on the substance of the bill, but said her agency was reviewing it and promised to “meet the needs of residents in the event of an emergency” in the future.

The fear of arsenic began on September 2, when news organization The City reported that NYCHA officials had found traces of a dangerous toxin in water being delivered to the East Village estate, where nearly 4,000 people live.

Residents were instructed the same day not to use the taps for drinking or cooking, and city workers – including Mayor Adams – began giving away free bottled water.

“But the town didn’t give away food,” said Hoylman, whose neighborhood includes Riis, as does Epstein. “Some nonprofit partners stepped in to help these residents with meals, but the residents were left alone for a few days, which was unacceptable.

“Sometimes we find out that we are not prepared to deal with emergencies, whether they are viruses or contaminated water,” Hoylman continued. “These laws will require the housing authority to have a plan.”

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It wasn’t until September 10 that city officials not only announced that Riis’s water was arsenic-free, but the independent testing company that made the discovery accidentally added trace amounts to a lab sample.

Riis’ defeat is still under investigation by the federal NYCHA monitor, and questions remain as to why the Housing Authority first began testing the complex for arsenic.

Daphne Williams, a Riis resident who serves as president of the estate’s tenants’ association, said she “wholeheartedly” supports the Epstein-Hoylman Act.

“And I can speak for my inhabitants that they too,” she said. “This time was very stressful and NYCH needs to be clearer about what they are doing with our water. It is essential for us. “

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