Faced with a court order to provide housing to anyone seeking help and a disproportionate amount of shelter space, the city has been renting out rooms in privately owned buildings as a quick solution. Scumbag landlords, enticed by the higher amounts the city will pay for apartments in low-income communities than tenants on the private market, have now reached the point of evicting paying residents to make availablity for the homeless, WNYC reports.
Melvina McMillan, one of those dozen or so still remaining in the 83 apartments at 60 Clarkson Avenue in Flatbush, spoke to the station about what is maybe the most unsettling part of an all-around unsettling situation: the state of the building. “The sticky traps in the kitchen … are covered in dead roaches. The insects even make their way into her freezer. The whole building is dirty and in need of repair. The elevators smell like urine, and the trash rooms in the hall overflow with garbage,” WNYC observes.
McMillan pays $700 a month for a three-bedroom in a building with 215 current housing code violations, including mold, water leaks, broken plaster and roach infestations. (For quick comparison, the city’s deals with landlords are usually around $3,000 per unit, though a portion of that goes to cover security and caseworkers.) When WNYC asked McMillan where she would go if evicted and quite possibly forced to pay a higher rent elsewhere, she responded, “Who knows? I would be a statistic just like the rest of them,” suggesting a cycle that threatens to continue. And here you thought that news about Park Slope being the fourth most unaffordable neighborhood in America was the worst you’d have to read today.