The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

Tag Archives: irene

Surviving Irene, in a New York Community Bank Building

Just one short week ago, New Yorkers were running around mad with hurricane prep. By Sunday morning it was all over…and for many of us, the Irene’s bark was much worse than her bite. The trains were up and running again by Monday morning and some were calling it the “hurricane that wasn’t.”

Not for tenants. Many of the buildings we work with leak with a slight drizzle. Some tenants report flooding if their neighbor upstairs is just doing the dishes. These buildings could not sustain even the large scale rain storm that Irene turned into.

Some tenants took matters into their own hands. The photo above is of 230 Schenectady, where tenants fashioned a tarp out of a kiddie pool to try and block off some of the water. They report that it helped, a bit, but basement flooding, and severe sewage issues related to the storm.

Not all tenants were able to climb up to their roof and build their own, makeshift shelters. Below is a picture of a ceiling at 1255 Longfellow. It began to leak on Saturday evening with the heavy rain, and by Saturday morning it had entirely caved in.

These buildings are both in foreclosure and the tenants have no hope of repairs. New York Community bank is the mortgage holder, and they have been notified numerous times about the unlivable conditions in both of these buildings.  They continue to refuse to work with tenants, advocates and HPD to provide relief.

New York Community Bank does not have a plan to dispose of these mortgages in a responsible way, that ensures proper repairs and long term affordability. New York Community Bank does not intend to provide the necessary relief to make these buildings livable. It’s time to make New York Community Bank take responsibility for their bad lending practices!

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