Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate for the City of New York, launched the website “NYC’s Worst Landlords Watchlist” on August 30, 2010. Go de Blasio!
I applaud de Blasio for standing up against slumlords. The practices of slumlords have detrimental effects on their tenants’ lives. But you do not have to live in one of their buildings to be affected; I don’t. Yet, slumlords have three negative effects on my life. Two of the effects affect you, as well.
First, I teach English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Many of my students have been low-income minority students. I have read some heartbreaking essays. For instance, a fine young man working two jobs to support his family wrote that he wanted to learn English to get a better job. Then, he could move his family to a place where “the rats no run around.” I read this in my country, America. I read this in our city, New York.
While slumlords on vacation sprawl out on the decks of cruise ships, sunbathing, innocent children curl-up for their afternoon naps amid disease-infested vermin. I can’t get the picture out of my mind.
I never want to read another disturbing essay like this one. Our fellow Americans and New Yorkers should not live in substandard conditions created by slumlords. There should be no substandard conditions here for “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link (proverb).” I applaud Bill de Blasio for recognizing this and for calling attention to it with his Watchlist.
Secondly, and this is where you come in, I would never write a check and deposit it into a sleazy slumlord’s account to support him. Would you? Well, in effect, you are. If you pay taxes, you are supporting slumlords. Is that what you want to do with your money? I will provide a simple summary of how this happens. For more information please refer to “Your Tax Dollars at Work” and”Racketeering Law New Weapon Against Slumlords.”
Simply put, the rent of many slumlords’ apartments is subsidized by housing programs because the tenants have low income. Housing programs are funded by tax dollars.. We pay taxes to the Government. The Government gives tax money to housing programs. Housing programs pay rent to slumlords. Voila! We support slumlords just as if we each wrote them a check. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want one cent of my money going to slumlords. I’m all for supporting decent, affordable housing for elderly, disabled, and other people in need. But I do not want to be party to people living in deplorable conditions and making slumlords rich.
The third way I am affected by sleazy slumlords also affects you. Slum areas are breeding grounds for many of our society’s woes such as crime, drugs, HIV/Aids, and more. Slumlords put my personal safety and yours, too, at risk.
Go, Mr. de Blasio, Go! Name and shame those sleazy slumlords but don’t stop there.
Bill de Blasio, NYC’s Worst Landlords Watchlist,” 2010 Office of the City New York Public Advocate
Housing Here and Now, “Your Tax Dollars at Work”, Housing Here and Now
Margo Nash, “Racketeering Law New Weapon Against Slumlords.” Tenant Net