FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW PROACTIVE STEPS THE CITY IS TAKING TO MONITOR AND IMPROVE LIVING CONDITIONS FOR NEW YORKERS AND PROTECT THEM FROM PREDATORY LANDLORDS IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, May 1, 2011
“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Our city is continuing to recover from the deep national recession. But many apartment dwellers whose landlords floundered in the housing market downturn still face big problems. In some buildings, much-needed maintenance and repairs are still lagging. And that kind of neglect jeopardizes the health and safety of all the people who live there.
“That’s why in January we started a full-court press, called Proactive Preservation, to turn such buildings around before their deterioration gets out of hand. And I’m happy to say that we’ve already scored a big victory for more than 1,000 tenants in 10 distressed buildings in the north and central Bronx.
“After the buildings’ owner defaulted on the mortgage in 2009, conditions went from bad to worse. City housing officials began to get ‘S-O-S’ messages from tenants, community groups, and elected officials, including Speaker Christine Quinn and her colleagues on the City Council. And when inspectors from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development went out to do roof-to-cellar inspections, they found damaged windows, decrepit boilers, broken stoves and refrigerators, and more; a total of over 4,800 Housing Code violations were recorded in the buildings.
“Not only did we order that emergency repairs begin; we also started working to put the buildings in better hands. And last week, they got a new owner who immediately dispatched crews to fix broken windows, mend apartment floors, ceilings, and walls, and replace loose masonry. He’s pledged to clear up the vast majority of the buildings’ violations in the next few months, and has committed millions of dollars to that task. To help, the City persuaded a bank that was holding $3 million in debt on the properties to dismiss it in exchange for $1 – the only City money involved in this deal.
“Since we launched our Proactive Preservation campaign, housing inspectors have looked at more than 260 buildings across the city, putting us more than halfway to our goal of evaluating 500 buildings during 2011. Twenty-nine of these buildings have racked up a total of some 1,700 new Housing Code violations; now we’ll follow up aggressively to make sure repairs get made. In many other cases, where landlords want to do the right thing but are financially in over their heads, we’re offering reduced-rate loans and other assistance to help them make repairs.
“We’re putting a strong focus on communities that have played a big role in our Administration’s effort to create and preserve affordable housing for a half-million New Yorkers. We’re doing that to ensure that people of every income level can find the safe, affordable housing they need in our city. And those of us who remember the hard times many such communities saw in the 1970s know that neglect or abandonment of even a few buildings can not only stop that progress; it can undermine safety and stability for everyone in the neighborhood. The hopeful new beginning we’ve helped create for tenants in the Bronx – and our commitment to cracking down on illegal conversions that can endanger tenants’ safety – shows our determination not to let that happen again.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
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