Immediate Release June 30, 2005 Contact: David Chauvin (516) 869-7794
County and Town Partner in
Illegal Housing Crack Down
Social Service and Housing Agencies on Hand
to Provide Assistance to Residents
New Cassel, NY- County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi, Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Town Councilman Robert Troiano announced today that the Town of North Hempstead will be obtaining an injunction for 269A Wright Street, Westbury.The Town believes that 30 residents are currently living in unsafe and deplorable conditions in a home that is zoned for one family use. The Town has agreed to give residents seven days notice prior to any action on the property and representatives from various housing and social service agencies will be on hand to assist residents with relocating into safe and adequate housing.
“In the past the Town of North Hempstead has taken advantage of grant monies from the County to breakup illegal housing,unlike the Town of Hempstead who has not. Today, demonstrates how much can be accomplished when different levels of government are willing to work together to protect the suburban quality of life of all County residents,” stated County Executive Suozzi. I applaud Supervisor Kaiman and Councilman Trioano for aggressively enforcing the Town’s housing rules and for reaching out to the County to assist handle this situation properly. Working together, the County and Town is addressing housing and public safety needs surrounding this crisis of illegal housing,” he added.
The Wright Street property was issued several violations by the Town’s Building Department on Monday, which includes: rental without a permit, non-permitted uses, electrical problems, and litter and debris.The violations total a maximum possible fine of $14,000. The Nassau County Department of Social Services, with the help of local agencies, has temporarily set up shelter for the thirty individuals who have fallen victim to this crime.
“The Town of North Hempstead must continue to take an aggressive stance toward illegal housing,” said Supervisor Kaiman.“In 2004 we pursued over 100 illegal housing cases; joined forces with the District Attorney’s office to go after absentee landlords who may be committing crimes against the town and against their tenants; opened discussions with Assessor Harvey Levinson regarding his creative approach to fighting illegal housing; and increased our annual code enforcement fine revenue by 500 percent.”
Supervisor Kaiman continued, “While the Town will continue these efforts, I am aware that we must not forget that the people are being displaced are moms and dads, sons and daughters, old and young, people like you and me. We have an obligation to treat such residents humanely, and with respect, but this does not relieve us of our obligation to enforce our codes.”
269A Wright Street, which sits on a 50 by 100 foot lot and is approximately 2200 square feet. Originally approved for construction in 1988, it was built as a 2 story, three-bedroom house with a one car garage.Now the interior has been converted into five or six bedrooms within the confines of the interior walls, changing living rooms, family rooms and hallways into bedrooms.
“The tenants were living in conditions that were unsafe and unsanitary. Exposed wires were hanging from the shower and extension cords cascade across the ceiling creating a high potential for a fire that would endanger the lives of the tenants and the residents of the surrounding houses,” added Councilman Troiano. “The landlord is guilty of theft of services from the taxpayers of this district who are forced to provide governmental services for thirty or more people that are valued way in excess of the taxes collected on this single family home.”
North Hempstead, like many other municipalities, finds itself faced with fundamental changes involving every aspect of community life including a progressive and expanding community. However, illegal housing is not an option.The dangers posed by multiple residences which do not meet minimum fire safety and construction standards, are too risky to chance.