The family of actress Rosario Dawson is trying to benefit from a city-run program that would allow them to buy Lower East Side co-op units for just $2,500.
Squatters took over the six-story building at 544 East 13th Street in 1984, and the Dawson family has occupied in the building on and off since 1986, the New York Post reported. Since 2002, the building has been owned by the nonprofit Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, which bought it from the city for $1, is planning to turn it into co-ops the squatters could buy at a low cost.
Now that the city-subsidized renovation is complete, squatters in the building who earn no more than $53,450 a year and have the building as their primary residence can buy apartments for $2,500.
Four of Dawson’s family members and a family friend are trying to buy five of the apartments, according to the Post. Residents also told the newspaper the Dawsons have forced their way into controlling a third of the apartments in the 14-unit building.
“[Rosario] is supportive of her parents. I don’t understand why she hasn’t acquired housing for them elsewhere so these units could be for New Yorkers in need,” Annie Wilson, one of the building’s founding homesteaders, told the newspaper.
Dawson’s mother, Isabel, is reportedly pushing back against the 270-day residency rule, and wants it changed to just six months.
Lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey, who is representing the Dawsons and other residents, said he has reviewed tax returns for all of the residents and claims they financially qualify to buy in the building. The co-ops can be be resold, but price restrictions apply. [NYP] — Miriam Hall