The City Council will review a package of legislation, which will be introduced on Wednesday, targeted at problems at so-called “three-quarter” homes.
The unregulated flophouses serve poor people in treatment for substance abuse, homeless looking to avoid shelters and the mentally ill with nowhere else to go.
Following a New York Times investigation last year, the city formed a task force to inspect the properties and relocated roughly 200 people out of the homes, which were often overcrowded and infested with bedbugs and vermin.
“To have 10 people cooped up in half a room is an abomination, and it doesn’t say that we care about these people,” City Council member Donovan Richards Jr., the lead sponsor on one of the five bills, told the New York Times.
The legislation would prohibit flophouse landlords from interfering with residents’ medical treatment. Notorious Brighton Beach landlord, Yury Baumblit, was arrested last week for allegedly receiving $2 million in Medicaid kickbacks. He is accused of forcing tenants to go to certain substance-abuse treatment providers, according to the Times.
The bills would also help improve residents’ access to relocation services, and require the agencies in the city’s task force to report publicly every three months about inspections at the homes, number of tenants, violations issued and where any tenants relocated, the newspaper reported. [NYT] — Dusica Sue Malesevic