Homeless People Count: Vacant Properties in Manhattan

May 01, 2007
  • Description

We need significant changes in housing policy to develop real housing out of empty property. Our core demands include: Creation of a regular citywide census of vacant buildings and lots. Empowerment of NYC Department of Buildings to expand the Building Code concerning "nuisance" buildings, to declare unoccupied buildings "nuisances" on the grounds that they are "detrimental to the life or health" of the community at large, including homeless people. Empowerment of NYC HPD to levy an annually-increasing fine against non-compliant landlords in an amount equivalent to the current cost of bringing the building online. Development of a mechanism by which DHS-funded shelter residents can "opt out" of shelter and into housing, with a portion of the money currently being paid by the City to their shelter being used to rehabilitate empty buildings. Amendment of NYC Rent Stabilization guidelines to ensure that when these properties are brought back online, previously-rent-stabilized units, which typically lose their stabilization as a result of their vacancy, will revert to stabilized status.