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Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Asthmatics to protest bldg. woes

sufferers are calling for a citywide crackdown on lazy landlords today as they
rally in front of a Bushwick building with a long history of mold, mice and

Eight people who suffer from asthma
live in the building at 211 Irving Ave., which has 131 open violations of the
Housing Maintenance Code.

Today, the asthmatic residents will
be joined by two busloads of asthma sufferers from across the city – with
inhalers in hand.

"Asthma is the No. 1 cause of
missed school days in New York City, and is a high cause of missed work days.
The impact is huge," said (Make the Road by Walking’s) Irene Tung, lead
organizer of the rally.

"There’s not an understanding of
all the environmental factors that go into asthma. It’s not just truck traffic
and power plants, but it’s also negligent landlords."

The ralliers are calling for the
city to reclassify mold, mice and cockroaches as more serious violations, and
also are pushing the City Council to pass the Healthy Homes Act, a bill
introduced a year ago that will require the city to check up on the most
serious housing violations, increase fines and grant rent abatements for
tenants living in unhealthy environments.

(Make the
Road by Walking member) Nilda Morales
, the superintendent of the moldy Irving Ave. building,
lives with her grandchild, two sons and an 18-year-old daughter, who has asthma
and has been hospitalized several times.

Despite dozens of unreturned calls to
landlord Roland Tibert, Morales said, her apartment has deteriorated to almost
unlivable condition.

"There are always problems
there – and my landlord does nothing, nothing," she added.

The phone number Tibert gave
residents has been disconnected, so he could not respond to the complaints, but
Carmen Boon, spokeswoman for the Housing Preservation and Development
Department confirmed that there are 131 violations on the property.

The rally at 11 a.m. marks the
formation of the Coalition for Asthma-Free Homes and leads up to the American
Lung Association’s Asthma Walk on Saturday.