The city will investigate conditions in housing for recovering addicts, after widespread abuse and poor living conditions were revealed in a New York Times expose over the weekend.
Inspectors from several city agencies will inspect buildings with more than 10 unrelated adults, where the landlords are receiving payments from the city to house recovering addicts, the Mayor said.
“We will not accept the use of illegally subdivided and overcrowded apartments to house vulnerable people in need of critical services,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement to the Times.
Recovering addicts were living in unsafe, overcrowded conditions, and in some cases being forced by landlords to relapse in order to continue drawing government benefits for building owners.
The homes are not quite halfway houses, and not quite permanent housing. But owners receive payments from the city’s Human Resources Administration and the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
There is currently little regulation of the homes - apart from Department of Buildings fines, which are not closely pursued by the city.
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In one case, the New York Times found an addict who had achieved sobriety, only to be told by the owner of the building he lived in that he needed to relapse and enroll in a new program to hold onto his housing.
The owner, the Times found, was getting kickbacks for sending his tenants to rehab treatment programs, which receive Medicaid fees for each patient who attends.