Hoarders add $40M to bill for Penn South renovations

October 28, 2013 03:22PM

A massive effort to update and overhaul the co-op homes at Penn South is over budget and behind schedule thanks to a serious hoarding problem.

Dozens of elderly, long-term residents of the 2,820-unit affordable housing co-op at 321 Eighth Avenue have stacked belongings from floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall over the years, inhibiting management’s efforts to overhaul the building’s old heating and cooling systems and remove asbestos. In order to the work, workers must enter every apartment and tear down walls to replace pipes.

The struggle against resident hoards prompted management to bring in social workers and hire 31 new staffers to help residents move their possessions away. The new hiring, combined with additional construction costs brought on by the delay, has added $40 million to the project’s original $100 million price tag, DNAinfo reported.

Building residents, some of whom pay as little as $350 per month for a studio, may have to help foot the bill by tacking on around 10 percent ($30 to $35) to their monthly fees.

For those residents who balk at the request to clean out their abodes and abandon cluttered possessions, the co-op has launched eviction proceedings in an effort to make these residents change their minds.

“We’re not trying to evict them,” Brendan Keany, the co-op’s general manager, told DNAinfo. “But you can’t start a proceeding without a threat.” [DNAinfo]Julie Strickland