NYC landlords boot paying tenants to shelter homeless

Number of units leased for such housing has shot up 66 percent in two years
August 13, 2013 12:00PM

Private landlords in the city are increasingly clearing space for the homeless by forcing market-rate tenants to leave, WNYC reported.

When shelters are too crowded to take additional boarders, the city often turns to compensating landlords to house the homeless in apartments. The landlords who participate receive about $3,000 a month from the city. Some of those funds pay for security and for caseworkers.

About 2,500 apartments are leased for shelter, a 66 percent jump from two years ago, according to data from the advocacy group Coalition for the Homeless cited by WNYC. Over the past year, the shelter system’s population has held steady at 50,000 people, nearly half of which are children.

The city is mandated by the court to give shelter to anyone seeking help, but does not condone the intimidation of regular tenants by landlords.

Bola Omotosho, chair of Community Board 5 in the Bronx, said profit often drives landlords to evict tenants in these matters.

“That’s one of the reasons why some tenants feel so threatened,” Omotosho told WYNC. “They can easily be kicked out of their house so that a landlord can use it as a steady income from the city, which is guaranteed.” [WNYC]Mark Maurer