Exiled Tenants of 85 Bowery Can Stay an Extra Week in Brooklyn Hotel, Plan Opposition Rally
Seventy-five people lost their homes last Thursday in the latest chapter of a nasty dispute between tenants of 85 Bowery and their landlord Joseph Betesh. The court-ordered inspection resulted in a Department of Buildings determination that the main stairwell was not structurally sound, and required an immediate vacate order.
The city also ordered Joseph Betesh to repair the stairs within fourteen days of the vacate order. Until then, the embattled tenants cannot return from their emergency accommodations in a purported hovel of a hotel in East New York.
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, who has been instrumental in advocating on behalf of tenants, announced on Twitter Monday that HPD has allowed exiled residents to remain in this temporary housing for at least another week. Furthermore, a Niou spokesperson tells us that tenants are currently completing paperwork proving residency at 85 Bowery. The city can then relocate to parts unknown.
With many working and going to school in Chinatown, the substantial distance (and disconnect) has put a strain on the children and families of the buildings. The hotel was described in a recent press release as infested with bugs and mice, and according to the tenants, all of the children have fallen sick because of the conditions.
Meanwhile, the full vacate order issued last Thursday was rescinded to partial status earlier this week to “allow controlled access under licensed P.E. supervision for tenant access to retrieve personal belongings and to perform remedial repairs.” As of today, however, there are still no permits on file with Department of Buildings to repair the staircase.
Team Betesh says they’re working on solving the issue. “Our team mobilized immediately following the City’s vacate order and has spent each day working diligently to remove obstructions and prepare the site in compliance with the DOB’s rigorous structural stability requirements,” a spokesperson said. “Safety is our top priority and we are continuing to work closely with the DOB, the Mayor’s Office and other stakeholders to repair building infrastructure and make the property safe for habitation as quickly as possible.”
The tenant association of 83-85 Bowery, meantime, is holding a rally later today outside HPD headquarters at 3:30pm to demand the city agency to conduct emergency repairs. Tenants will be joined by the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side, and other community-based organizations and neighbors.
Our check in with @NYCHousing regarding #85bowery confirmed that residents will be able to stay at the temporary emergency housing for another week. It has been extended. Landlord is supposed to fix the stairwell 14 Days from the day @NYC_Buildings made decision.
— Yuh-Line Niou (@yuhline) January 22, 2018