HORRORS IN HOMELESS HOUSING: NEW YORK’S UNCLEAN, UNSAFE, DANGEROUS TEMPORARY SHELTER SYSTEM...

HORRORS IN HOMELESS HOUSING: NEW YORK’S UNCLEAN, UNSAFE, DANGEROUS TEMPORARY SHELTER SYSTEM AND HOW TO FINALLY TACKLE THE HOMELESS EPIDEMIC

Senators Klein, Savino, Avella, Alcantara, Hamilton & Peralta release alarming investigative report on worst commercial hotels and cluster sites in the city; propose legislation to combat homelessness

New York, NY – (RealEstateRama) — Senators Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn), Avella (D-Queens), Alcantara (D-Manhattan), Hamilton (D-Brooklyn) and Jose Peralta (D-Queens), joined by advocates, released an investigative report detailing deplorable conditions at New York City hotels and cluster sites used for the homeless and called for a five-point legislative solution to the homelessness crisis.

The disturbing investigation, “Horrors in Homeless Housing,” analyzes inspection data in commercial hotels and cluster site housing where some of New York City’s skyrocketing homeless population call home. Violations left open at many sites where families and individuals are placed include unsafe cooking spaces, toilets that don’t flush, lead paint contamination and broken fire escapes.

“Homeless families are among the most vulnerable groups in New York City. It is unacceptable that they be subjected to the living conditions detailed in the report that we unveiled today. The solution proposed will help provide new, more humane, housing options for city residents who live in these hotels and clusters sites. The proposal will also ensure that those on the brink of losing their home will be able to remain where they are living, adding much needed stability to their lives,” said Senator Klein.

“It is unconscionable to allow children and families to be forced to live in these violation ridden hotels and cluster sites. These sites lack the basic services that homeless families should have access to and make living a normal life difficult, if not impossible. The IDC plan presented today will keep people in their homes and make it easier for those in the shelter system to find a place of their own,” said Senator Savino.

“New York City has a duty to provide shelter, aid, and support for the homeless who live in our city. However, the current system completely looks past the aid and support and only wishes to provide the bare minimum shelter provisions. Many times these sites are almost as bad as staying on the street and the individuals are not treated with any dignity. The City does very little to provide these families and individuals with the assistance and support necessary to get back on their feet. The City should be allocating funds for programs that can cater to basic human needs rather than facilities that warehouse families. We need to provide these families and individuals with, at the very least, basic city services that are built into our State’s constitution and our City’s charter,” said Senator Avella.

“Our current system of homelessness prevention is expensive, complicated, and dehumanizing to the homeless families who are warehoused in cluster housing and hotels. Replacing multiple overlapping housing subsidies with the Home Stability Support plan will not only save our local governments money, but also increase the number of homeless families who are able to understand and therefore take advantage of state support to remain in their homes,” said Senator Alcantara.

“We need to stop using hotels, cluster sites, and temporary housing and instead advance real solutions to our affordable housing crisis. That’s why I am a strong supporter of the Home Stability Support Program in the 2017  budget, so we can proactively prevent people from facing homelessness. It is also why I am a strong supporter of 100% affordable housing at the Bedford Union Armory site – we need to use our public-owned sites for public benefit.  Three of the top ten cluster site violators are in communities I represent in Crown Heights and Brownsville. Our neighbors are living in buildings with more than 100 open violations. Nobody should live like this. I am proud to stand with colleagues in demanding the housing our most vulnerable New Yorkers deserve,” said Senator Hamilton.

“My constituents have been raising concerns for the last couple of years regarding the  increasing number of hotel to shelter conversions in the district and throughout the City. In light of the growing homeless population, it is clear that warehousing  homeless New Yorkers is not the correct answer to the crisis we face. It is also troubling to see the unsafe, unsanitary living conditions at some homeless shelters and clusters. No family or individual should be living in run-down buildings. It is time to stop putting band-aids on this grave situation and to focus on preventive solutions. A starting point is the Home Stability Support Program. Let’s tackle the problem at its roots and pivot the efforts toward preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place. I applaud Assemblymember Hevesi, Senator Klein and the IDC for their efforts to combat the homelessness situation throughout New York City,” said Senator Peralta.

“The Van Cortlandt Motel in the northwest Bronx is a prime example of the old dilapidated, run-down, dirty motels being used by DHS. This 1960s-era motel is a magnet for crime and prostitution. It is almost impossible to provide wraparound support services at these motels that most shelter residents need. I applaud the Mayor’s commitment to ending the use of hotels and cluster sites, but this startling report demonstrates that more needs to be done,” said Councilman Andrew Cohen.

With the recent rise in homelessness in New York City, the use of hotels and temporary apartments known as cluster sites has risen to keep up with the demand for shelter. The IDC’s report examined both the use of hotels and cluster sites to shelter the homeless. Using the city’s shelter scorecard system, IDC investigators identified these sites and examined their Housing Preservation & Development, Department of Buildings and Environmental Control Board violations.

The investigation found that 78% of identified hotels used to house the homeless currently have a total of 433 open violations, with the 10 worst sites accounting for 67.9% of all violations. Overall, those with violations averaged 8.68 per site, with Manhattan hotels having the highest average of over 20 violations per hotel. In the case of the Dawn Hotel in Manhattan, the worst site with 78 open violations, investigators found open citations for broken floors, broken sinks, toilets that won’t flush, issues with fire escapes, unlawful cooking spaces, potentially dangerous electric hot plates and contaminated lead paint.

Top Ten Hotel Violators

Rank

Name of Hotel

Address

Borough

Number of Open Violations

1

Dawn Hotel of NY LLC

6-8 ST NICHOLAS PLACE

Manhattan

78

2

Frant Hotel

209/211 WEST 101 STREET

Manhattan

59

3

 Ellington Hotel LLC

610 WEST 111 STREET

Manhattan

37

4

Aladdin Hotel

317 WEST 45TH STREET

Manhattan

26

5

Apollo Hotel

2027 7TH AVENUE

Manhattan

25

6

  Lincoln Atlantic Motor Inn Inc

90-35 Van Wyck Expy

Queens

17

7

  Park Overlook Hotel

1938 WEBSTER AVENUE

Bronx

16

8

Galaxy Motel

860 PENNSYLVANIA AVE

Brooklyn

16

9

Manhattan Center

315 West 34th Street

Manhattan

10

10

Extended Stay America-NYC LaGuardia Airport

18-30 WHITESTONE EXP

Queens

10

While the violations at hotels are alarming, investigators found violations at cluster sites to be especially egregious, with 93% of those analyzed having open violations. Despite numbering less than homeless hotels, cluster sites had nearly six times as many violations and averaged 68 violations per site. The Bronx has the highest number of violators with six sites making the top 10 list and accounting for 46% of violations uncovered. The worst violator in the city and the site of a recent shooting, Bedco Cluster in the Bronx, had 185 open violations including rodent and roach infestations, mold, lead paint in several units and failure to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The site also lacks a locking front entryway and door locks are absent from several units.

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