News & Politics

Times: “Cluster-Site” Homeless Housing Bonanza for Landlords, Bad for Tenants


The “scatter-site” housing program — originated by John Lindsay to set homeless families up in apartments in various working class neighborhoods, adopted by Mayor Giuliani and inherited and perpetuated by Mayor Bloomberg — was unpopular. So Bloomberg vowed to phase it out.

But he has replaced it with a “cluster-site” program, whereby, the Times documents today, homeless families are transferred to buildings, mostly in the Bronx, whose owners have negotiated a deal with the city — usually a very generous one, about $2,700 per month per unit. For example, Aguila Inc., a “non-profit” run by the son of Bronx assemblyman Peter Rivera, netted a cool $9.2 million from the Department of Homeless Services in 2006.

The program seems a great deal for such companies. Homeless participants have to observe a curfew and can’t have guests — perfect tenants! Also, regular tenants report the cluster-site landlords are harassing them to leave their cheap, rent-stabilized apartments so they can get more homeless bucks — the law of supply and demand! Do-gooders complain that the arrangement is more expensive for the city than Section 8 housing and promotes landlord harassment, but they’ve probably never been on a gravy train and are jealous.

Well, look at it this way: at least it’s a change from the usually pattern of landlords harassing tenants so they can get more money from rich people. Photo (cc) Carl MiKoy.



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