Tuesday, January 22, 2008

City refers homeless to illegal dwellings

Across poor neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx, referrals by the city’s Department of Homeless Services and its contract shelters are helping to fill scores of illegal rooming houses, according to advocates for the homeless, and turning those neighborhoods into new, hidden kinds of skid rows.

Illegal Boarding Houses Pit City’s Laws Against Lack of Alternatives

A soon-to-be released report by the Coalition for the Homeless found 62 illegally converted houses being used by adults formerly in homeless shelters in the last 18 months. Many were found to have had hazardous conditions by city agencies, including the Fire Department, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Buildings Department.

In the past 18 months, nine of those residences, according to the report, were closed for egregious health or safety violations. Earlier this month, the city announced it would close a building on Seymour Avenue in the Bronx that housed 30 men, about half of whom had been referred from city shelters. The city said that it had sent the men there before violations became apparent.

According to the coalition’s report, the Buildings Department alone has issued more than 226 violations to 47 boarding houses for illegal use as a “homeless shelter,” “single-room occupancy,” or “rooming house,” or for serious deficiencies, including sagging walls, cracked and bulging ceilings and serious fire hazards. Others have been cited for leaks, rat infestations and violation of housing codes that set restrictions on maximum occupancy and rooming unit conversions.


Anonymous said...

what will the City do next? Tell the homeless to hold up stores if they need cash for food?

Anonymous said...

The city actively places homeless in illegally converted housing, making the neighborhood surrounding this type house very dangerious in a number of ways.

The city looks the other way on privately held properties who's owners are doing the same. In my nabe there are several single family homes perfect for a family of 4 are bought for the sole purpose of carving them out to bed 12 people. Since the folks there are of the same ethinic tribe and cannot speak english - inspectors assume they are 1 family - they are not. Also when inspectors arrive, they will never see all of the inhabitants together, save for the number of beds to count if they even gain entry. City policy must be adhere to at least by city example, in this case the private sector is saying - me too.

Anonymous said...

None in Manhattan, eh? Interesting.

Anonymous said...

They ought to sue the city.

Anonymous said...

Just like during "The Great Depression".....
inflation....a falling U.S. dollar....unemployment....
converting homes into boarding houses....
so that an owner can "make ends meet".

Or is it just a recession we're now in....
Mr. President ?

It's going to be hard to distinguish
with phase two of the sub-prime crash
now affecting worldwide markets.

Our country has a bad case of the runs
and needs some fiscal "Kaopectate"
not a stimulus (physic) to convince is citizens
to spend their tight money to bail out big business.

Mind you.....
I'll gladly take my tax break
and spend the extra $$$$ on food....
not a new "I-Pod".

A prophetic sign of the times:

Only in their Seattle location (I believe) ....
trendy Starbucks is now offering
$1 coffee with free re-fills in order to compete
with Mc Donalds.

I guess there's less expendable income
around nowadays for $5 lattes !