Displaced tenants from 85 Bowery reached 5 days on hunger strike outside the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development
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New York, NY – As of February 12, 2018; members of the 83-85 Bowery Tenants Association on hunger strike for five days outside the Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced a temporary end of the hunger strike due to the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Mayor de Blasio promised to end the “tale of two cities.” However, on January 18th, 2018, landlord Joseph Betesh colluded with the City to carry out a mass eviction of 85 Bowery’s low-income tenants, many whom are elderly and children as young as newborn babies. Now, the City’s promised deadline to get the Bowery tenants home has passed and the tenants are still displaced. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the City have NOT taken responsibility and held the landlord accountable.
Over a year ago, the housing court had ordered the landlord to make necessary repairs but when the landlord did nothing, HPD did not enforce the order and their inaction has caused the loss of homes.
Without knowing when they will be able to return home, the tenants are determined to take a stand against this unfair eviction. The Bowery tenants have been on hunger strike for five days.
The Mayor’s Office would rather let the hunger strikers to site in the cold and rain than holding the slumlord accountable and returning the tenants to their homes. This is Mayor de Blasio’s “tale of two cities.” This is a “sanctuary city” for the rich and a city of cold and rain for working people who are facing displacement! Shame on de Blasio!
The Bowery tenants demand HPD:
• Take over repairs if the landlord fails to meet the deadline
• Prosecute the landlord Joseph Betesh for not repairing the building
• Bring the tenants home before Chinese New Year.
The tenants of 85 Bowery announced a temporary end of the hunger strike due to the upcoming Chinese New Year. For the past 5 days, these resilient men and women have fasted despite freezing temperatures and downpours. Their health was monitored constantly, and their spirits were always high because of the groundswell of support they have received across the City.
The tenants and their thousands of supporters will continue to pressure the City and both agencies to stand up for the residents of 85 Bowery against a criminal landlord with a clear track record of eviction attempts and harassment. The tenants will announce their next steps in demanding the City give a firm deadline by which the necessary construction is finished so that they can return home.
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