"These are the specific triggers which they get exposed to in their home, in their own environment. And their asthma is not going to get controlled if they keep getting exposed repeatedly," Mir said.
The link between poor living conditions and health problems is one the City Council is now trying to address by expanding a law that seeks to hold landlords responsible.
Under 2007 legislation known as the Safe Housing Act, the city singles out the 200 worst buildings in the city when it comes to housing code violations, and targets them for repairs. Landlords must make the necessary repairs themselves or else the city steps in and does it, and forces them to pay for the work.
"Were expanding that law to have it include in a more significant way housing code violations that cause asthma: mold, rats, rodents. Were finally realizing that bad housing conditions they are bad for your health," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Tenant advocates like John Whitlow of Make the Road New York say giving the law more teeth will help eradicate problems for good.
"Lets say youre say in housing court and a judge tells the landlord to fix it. They usually paint over it, paper over the problem. And then, because the underlying source of the problem hasnt been addressed, then within a few weeks or a few months the tenants stuck in exactly the same position they were in before the court case started," Whitlow said.
The City Council is expected to pass the measure without much opposition Wednesday. Its also supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whos expected to sign it into law.
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