Friday, March 13, 2009
From the NY Times:
Their two-family building on an ordinary block near Boston Road is a flophouse for the impoverished and addicted, for as many as 30 men who secure their food in padlocked cupboards and fight one another for the bathrooms, both of which are spotted with a brackish mold. In the upstairs bathroom, a sign informs the tenants, “Please don’t use this ‘sink’ for nothing.” The quotation marks are operative: the water doesn’t work.
A year ago, the flophouse was condemned after firefighters, responding to a call about smoke, reported its conditions to the city. But the men did not move out, as most of them had nowhere else to go. Instead, they filed a lawsuit contending that their rent had made them tenants and that they deserved protections, despite the violations of the fire code. Their rent, paid to “two ladies,” Mr. Guzman said, is $215 to $300 a month. Their suit against the city is on appeal.