Posted 10 months ago on July 4, 2012, 3:15 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
¨These three buildings are in danger of fire. We could die!¨
Tenants Call a Rent Strike and Rally Demanding Immediate Emergency Repairs
When: 12 Noon, July 5th
Where: 553, 545, and 557 46th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, Brooklyn NY
Fifty one families in three buildings on 46th street are organizing a rent strike and have called a rally to press for immediate emergency repairs, to be held at 12 noon on July 5th at 553, 545 and 557 46th Street. “We just want to live like human beings,” said Sara Lopez, a tenant leader.
Residents welcome solidarity and support from the community, including Occupy Sunset Park, because despite numerous documented housing violations such as fire hazard wiring, garbage, and vermin, and numerous complaints to City agencies and politicians, there has been no action yet to remedy the hazardous conditions. “Do we have to wait until there's a tragedy before we'll see action?” Sara Lopez said.
Lopez, who has lived in her building for 40 years, explained the landlord was always negligent, but conditions in the buildings have gotten worse now that the three properties are in foreclosure. Recently the buildings underwent a 12 hour blackout during which super Israel Espinosa refused to respond to tenant requests for help. Lopez stated that this winter there was heat and hot water for only three days.
The tenants have taken many steps to confront their slumlord, Horacio Petito of Peto Management, but the situation is being handled slowly through the courts. They say they can’t wait months for something to change. They need something to happen now since they fear a fire or medical emergency. The affected residents include a pregnant woman with two children, some disabled tenants, and people with chronic conditions who suffer without electricity. The tenants have compiled a petition for repairs with almost 75 names on it.
Residents have documented violations (everything from unsafe electrical wiring, frequent blackouts, a broken boiler, lead paint, mold, cockroaches,rats, and bed bugs).They have filed complaints at the 311 hotline; appealed to State Assembly member Felix Ortiz, and City Council Member Sara Gonzalez; filed a request for emergency repairs with the City's Department of Housing Development and Preservation (HPD);reached out to and received assistance from community based organizations (5th Ave Committee and Neighbors Helping Neighbors); called the 72nd Precinct and the Fire Department. Nevertheless, there has been no action yet taken to remedy the situation.