"Even Renters Aren't Safe"
Three of our grantees were featured in an in-depth piece entitled "Event Renters Aren't Safe" by Elizabeth A. Harris for the New York Times. It covers the effect of the subprime crisis on renters in New York City. These grantees include South Brooklyn Legal Services, Center for New York City Neighborhoods, and Bushwick Housing Independence Project.
...Michael Grinthal, a lawyer at South Brooklyn Legal Services’ housing unit, said that putting rent money in a bank account is a good way for tenants to protect themselves from lawsuits or eviction if a court decides that the landlord or new owner is entitled to unpaid back rent.
......Mr. Carbine cited a range of problems brought on the city by the housing crisis, ranging from neighborhood destabilization to speculative construction that has left buildings standing empty. To address them, he said, the city is creating the Center For New York City Neighborhoods, which provides resources like counseling and legal services citywide. ...
... Late last year, Sister Kathleen Maire of the Bushwick Housing Independence Project, began helping the Casianos and their neighbors sort out the legal and physical mess of their building.
She is helping them apply for “7A” status, under which a court-appointed caretaker collects rent and administers an abandoned building. The rent goes toward utilities and repairs. If their building is sold instead, they may well have to move.
Sister Maire says she thinks that the city housing department makes an effort to respond to complaints and keep people’s apartments safe, but “they just don’t have the staff.”
When the landlord leaves, she added, “What it does, is put a terrible burden on the tenants.” ...