Thursday, March 8, 2018
Brooklyn building illegally converted into shelter
From Kings County Politics:
The city announced today it removed all its resident clients from a four-story Bedford-Stuyvesant walk up illegally converted from a 14-unit apartment building to a 42-unit single room occupancy (SRO) shelter.
But the entire incident, in which the owner of the building at 529 Monroe Street appeared in some form of collusion with both the city and the non-profit organization that has a contract with the city to house homeless in an illegally converted building has local officials deeply concerned.
According to Community Board 3 District Manager Henry Butler residents have filed complaints about the building with CB3 as far back as the spring of 2017 when construction first began on the 4-story walk up.
Despite repeated complaints that the construction was illegal, the owners Monroe Lewis LLC, one of the shadowy landlords that operate out of 199 Lee Avenue in Williamsburg, was able to not only complete the illegal work, but secure a contract whereupon the city contracted with the non-profit Core Services to turn the site into a SRO homeless shelter.
The owners were able to do this even after the DOB slammed them with several fines including one for occupancy exceeding nearly three times the building’s Certificate of Occupancy and for altering plumbing without a permit.
Then, since September 2017 – around the same time the city passed legislation that would ramp up penalties as well as allow the Department of Buildings easier access to buildings suspected of illegal home conversions, the city began to illegally fill the building with tenants.
Despite the DOB leveling fines at the building’s owners for the illegal conversion, the HRA continued to house the homeless there, netting the landlord and Core over $40,000 a month in guaranteed city funding to split up as the city pays $1,047 per SRO unit.