Westbrook Tenants Press Conference: Wed, 8/20 @ 1pm
Westbrook tenants (including myself) spoke out to Starrett City decision makers involved with sale of Starrett City: Do not let affordable housing take a backseat to developer’s desire for huge profits!
We gathered in front of this Westbrook Partners owned building to heard from Westbrook tenants and local politicians on the issue of Westbrook’s ownership hear in the East Village and destructiveness of Predatory Equity.
Here is my statement:
My name is Joanne Morton and I’ve lived at 500 East 11 St for 14 years… it’s been my only home since I’ve lived in NYC. With my first landlord, I had little interaction the owners of the building except for the occasional normal repairs – however, since Westbrook Partners bought this building, I have witnessed a dramatic change in services for the worse. First, the lack of hot water has been an ongoing issue for the past year including this past weekend, from Friday night until 11pm on Sunday. This wasn’t the first time, we have made several calls to PVE Management as well the super. Because there is rarely a return call – we are also calling 311. Last November, for at least 15 days, our building had no hot water or HEAT! I spoke to Josh from Management office the day before Thanksgiving to find out what is going to happen over the holiday weekend and would we be with out heat? His response to me was, “Buy a space heater.” I made a reference about having a larger electric bill, he said, “You’re not paying very much rent, you can afford a higher electric bill.” This is only one example of Westbrook Partners lack of LANDLORD responsibility towards their tenants. After not having heat for the days in November 2007, We were forced to take Westbrook to housing court and file an HP Action against them in December 2007 for Heat and Hot water which we won do to the inconsistencies of this essential service. Because of this appearance in court, they repaired a broken window and floor panels near two radiators in my apt. They however took over 6 months to repair that front door buzzer that took only 15 minutes to repair. Whenever myself or my neighbors call the Management office and 311, we are accused of being “problem tenants”. I don’t think asking for services such as, hot water, heat & working buzzers qualify us to be problem tenants. Westbrook Partners are not interested in creating safe homes for New Yorkers, instead, they are looking to cash in at the expense of local communities. This is why I don’t feel that Westbrook Partners should be allowed to purchase any housing that is a part of ‘affordable housing” programs. One final note, in the last ten months, 13 out of the 25 apartments have been evicted, denied rent renewals and/or pressured to leave. I know there are other stories but some of the tenants are nervous to speak out publicly because they are waiting for their lease renewals. So I speak not only for myself but for all of my neighbors here at 500 East & in the other Westbrook Partner buildings. I’m not leaving my home … it was my dream to come here and I intend to live that dream at for as long as I chose to!
Magic Passion Love and SPEAKING OUT … it feels good to be an “active” part of the East Village community. I am grateful for my neighbors.
“We’ve had no heat or hot water off and on continuously,” said Joanne Morton, a tenant in one of the buildings…
quote from NY Times article
Special thanks to the writers & editors who worked on these stories … it’s important for the press to stay focused and free! Magic Passion Love & Free Press!