The City, a City Contractor, and an Illegally Converted SRO

529 Monroe St. in Brooklyn (Photo by Kadia Goba via Kings County Politics)

New York City withdrew all the homeless individuals who had been placed in a Bedford-Stuyvesant building by a city contractor, Kadia Goba reports in Kings County Politics. The move came two days after the publication, in an exclusive story, reported that the four-floor walk-up that had been approved for 14 units of housing had been illegally converted to more than 40 units. By placing individuals in the single room occupancy (SRO) building, the city was in violation of the illegal housing conversion law passed last September, Kings County Politics noted.

In her initial story, Kadia Goba wrote that

Monroe Lewis LLC acquired the 529 Monroe Street building in May 2016 for $1.7 million, and between then and Sept. 2017, illegally converted it to a SRO. It then contracted management of the building to Core Services, a nonprofit agency with a city contract to place and manage homeless facilities.

The new owners completed the illegal conversion, contracted with Core Services, and homeless individuals were moved in, despite the fact the city Department of Buildings fined the owner.

…the DOB slammed them with several fines including one for occupancy exceeding nearly three times the building’s Certificate of Occupancy and for altering plumbing without a permit.

Then, since  September 2017 – around the same time the city passed legislation that would ramp up penalties as well as allow the Department of Buildings easier access to buildings suspected of illegal home conversions, the city began to illegally fill the building with tenants.

Despite the DOB leveling fines at the building’s owners for the illegal conversion, the HRA continued to house the homeless there, netting the landlord and Core over $40,000 a month in guaranteed city funding to split up as the city pays $1,047 per SRO unit.

Both HRA and Core cast blame elsewhere. Meanwhile, local politicians are troubled by what happened. Go to Kings County Politics to read what they had to say.

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