SRO/ILLEGAL CONVERSION COMMUNITY FORUM on March 4

This is really a great meeting for the community. Great for those who have issues with SROs and illegal conversions in their neighborhoods and also for information that will help folks living illegally, especially if they are displaced and need new housing.

You might not think SRO’s are in our neighborhoods, but they are: Sunset Park, Greenwood Heights, South Park Slope and Windsor Terrace. They have an impact on the community and victimize those who live in these illegal conversions.

This should empower the community, everyone in the community, through education and Q&A from the City agencies and CBOs that will be on hand.

The forum is co-sponsored by Brooklyn Community Board 7, CM Gonzalez and CM Lander. Press release below. We’ll post the flyer when it is available.

Monday, March 4, 2013 @ 6:30 P.M. at the Community Board 7 office, 4201 4th Avenue (entrance on 43rd Street).

PRESS RELEASE

 

COMMUNITY BOARD 7/BROOKLYN TO HOST SRO/ILLEGAL CONVERSION COMMUNITY FORUM ON MARCH 4

FEBRUARY 15, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT PERSON: JEREMY LAUFER, DISTRICT MANAGER

The Buildings and Construction Committee and Housing Committee of Community Board 7/Brooklyn, serving the communities of Sunset Park, Greenwood and Windsor Terrace, will host a community forum concerning SROs and illegally converted apartments on  Monday, March 4, 2013 @ 6:30 P.M. at the Community Board 7 office, 4201 4th Avenue (entrance on 43rd Street).  The community forum will bring several city agencies and not for profits together to discuss their roles in dealing with illegal single room occupancy (SRO) and illegally converted apartments and will allow for neighborhood residents to ask questions concerning the rights of neighbors, as well as, the appropriate method for reporting illegal conversions and SROs.    Councilmembers Sara Gonzalez and Brad Lander are co-sponsoring the forum.

The forum seeks to better inform the community about illegally converted residential properties, often 1-, 2- and 3-family homes, that are altered without City approval and, often, in a dangerous manner to accommodate more renters and higher rent roles.  Many of these illegal apartments are the homes of some of the most vulnerable residents in the community.

“This is in response to the concerns of several residents who are worried that the improving housing market will spur a wave of illegal construction across the district,” as was the case before 2009, said Board Chairman Fred Xuereb.  “This forum will allow residents to ask questions directly to the city agencies and not-for-profits who deal with these issues every day so that we can better understand what the city can do, what its limitations are and how best we can supply evidence to the city agencies to deal with illegal housing.  At the same time, we want to be sensitive to those who live in these illegal apartments, because they are often victims, too.  Illegal housing is dangerous to those who live in these situations as well as to their neighbors.”

Buildings and Construction/Housing Committee Chairman Aaron Brashear stated, “In addition to my committee’s want to better educate residents in the community about SRO/illegal conversion, we must also undertake a conversation about the displacement of those residents that are living under illegal conditions. Once the illegal condition is reported and corrected, where do those constituents go for help and affordable housing opportunities? We hope the forum will answer questions on all sides of the issues in a proactive fashion, not just reactive.”

The City agencies expected to attend are the Department of Buildings, the Department of Health and Mental Health, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Fire Department.  The not-for-profits include Fifth Avenue Committee and Neighbors Helping Neighbors (list in formation).

“There are many agencies involved in dealing with illegal construction and it can be very confusing and upsetting for residents who are trying to do the right thing and who report possible illegal activity only to find out that a complaint has been closed,” Xuereb explained.   “This forum will give all of us a better understanding of the process and should help our community to better inform city agencies of conditions so that we have a greater chance to find and root out illegal conversions.  Our goal should be safe, legal and affordable housing for everyone who wishes to live in the community.”

 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT THE BOARD OFFICE AT 718-854-0003.