Today’s Read: NYC Allocates $5 Million to Move Tenants Out of ‘Three-Quarter’ Homes
For years, the City has been relegating far too many vulnerable New Yorkers struggling with addiction and mental illness to illegal “three-quarter houses,” where shady providers exploit them for profit.
A New York Times article in May sparked public outrage as well as swift action by the de Blasio administration, which formed an emergency task force to investigate these unscrupulous providers and hold them accountable.
The City is starting to follow through on its commitment to overhaul this dangerous system. As part of the fiscal year 2016 budget, the City announced it will dedicate $5 million to inspect and fix three-quarter houses. The focus will be on relocating tenants to safer temporary housing and providing more support to help them secure permanent housing.
Kim Barker covered the budget announcement for The New York Times:
The task force has now inspected 63 three-quarter homes identified by the city’s Human Resources Administration, said Commissioner Steven Banks, a member of the task force. Nobody knows how many of the homes exist in the city because they are not legal and no registry exists. Officials have estimated that there are hundreds.
Mr. Banks said on Tuesday that the $5 million in next year’s budget will be used to pay for temporary housing for people who need to be moved and security for that housing; case-management services for people being moved; help connecting people to permanent housing; repairs to houses, such as removing bars from windows and unblocking exits; and “fire guards” — workers assigned around the clock to homes deemed to have fire hazards.
“This has been a longstanding problem that has gone on for several decades,” said Mr. Banks, adding that the city planned to fix it once and for all.
In addition to the $5 million, the city will also spend an as-yet-unknown amount of money helping tenants of three-quarter homes pay for permanent housing.