From the Daily News:
When Jesus Castellanos, a construction worker, became jobless in the fall of 2007, he knew he had to cut expenses - big time.
So the 30-year-old moved in with two other men into a small room in a Jackson Heights home for $175 a month.
There was no heat or electricity, and at least 13 other people shared the five-bedroom home, all of them Latino immigrants. But for Castellanos, originally from Mexico, it was the only thing between him and a homeless shelter.
Despite the city's ongoing efforts to shutter unsafe dwellings, illegal conversions remain a chronic problem, illustrated starkly by the recent eviction of tenants from a home in East Elmhurst with no fire escapes or sprinklers.
In the East Elmhurst home on 41st Ave. that was recently shuttered, people were living in a converted garage. There was no second exit, no sprinkler system and insufficient light and ventilation. The owner of the home, Mohammed Ali, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.
You can blame the lack of "market rate" housing or the lack of "affordable" housing, but the sad reality is that illegal apartments happen because people (many times criminals or illegal aliens) want a cheap place to stay, landlords make tax free money off them and the City does very little to stop it.