Housing advocates are quite happy with a city program that forces landlords of dilapidated residential buildings to pay for repairs, but they are protesting nonetheless, claiming that it's too small.
Building owners, for their part, say the program is already effective at the current level of enforcement, and the city's housing agency says advocates are off-base.
The immigrant-rights nonprofit Make the Road plans to march Wednesday in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to urge the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to expand its five-year-old Alternative Enforcement Program to better preserve the city's housing stock and protect tenants.
"It is a good idea for the city to make sure that landlords are making necessary repairs in the buildings with the worst conditions in New York City," said Gladys Puglla, a tenant in Bushwick and a member of Make the Road. "The Alternative Enforcement Program should be expanded to benefit more tenants."
Under AEP, the city selects 200 of the most poorly maintained residential buildings a year and notifies their landlords that wide-scale repairs are needed. If a landlord then fails to make them, HPD may have the work done and recoup the cost from him.
Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the program, AEP has led to the correction of more than 67,000 hazardous violations in 800 neglected buildings, Make the Road says in a report it plans to release tomorrow. But housing advocates say it's not enough, especially in neighborhoods like Bushwick where blighted buildings go unfixed despite rapid gentrification around them.
HPD says the group's findings are flawed.