En Español Know Your Rights
Source: QueensLatino.com
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Legislation to Improve Housing Conditions and Fight Asthma in New York City

New York City Council passed Intro 436-A by a vote of 49-0. The comprehensive City legislation will crack down on serious housing conditions that endanger families by expanding and strengthening HPD’s successful Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP).

The new legislation will require building-wide remediation of asthma-triggering housing code violations in thousands of the most hazardous housing units throughout New York City. The law will also strengthen the impact of the City’s innovative Alternative Enforcement Program, designed to fix NYC’s 200 worst buildings each year, by doubling the number of housing units repaired to 3,000 annually.

The expanded AEP program will help tenants like Maria Cortes, a member of Make the Road New York, who has made several emergency room visits due to respiratory problems caused by moldy walls and roaches in her apartment: “My building has 186 open violations, 40 of which correspond to my apartment. The court ordered my building owner to make the repairs but he has done very little. Tenants should not have to suffer from asthma attacks because our building owners are violating the law. This legislation will protect families like mine and hold negligent landlords accountable.”

“This new legislation cracks down on lawless landlords whose dangerously substandard buildings threaten the health of thousands of New York City families every day,” said Andrew Friedman, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “Asthma is epidemic in low-income communities of color throughout our city, and this bill is an important step toward ending the impunity that is literally taking our children’s breath away.”

“The expansion of the Safe Housing Act to include housing conditions that trigger asthma in the city’s worst properties is a significant step forward to ensuring that families who have loved ones living with asthma can breathe a deep sigh of relief. Infestations of mold and vermin that are not handled properly pose significant threats to health and the expansion of the City’s enforcement authority to address these issues is much needed in many communities throughout New York City,” said Michelle de la Uz, Executive Director of Fifth Avenue Committee.

“The modification of the Safe Housing Act is an important first step in ensuring that families with asthma can have a comprehensive remedy for indoor contaminants such as vermin and mold,” said Harvey Epstein, Director of Community Development at the Urban Justice Center.

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