I read a lot of news every day. It’s become my life and my passion. Rarely do I come across a story of greed and corruption so absurd that I can’t believe my own eyes as they scroll the page. This is one of those stories.
This takes the concept of slumlord to an entirely new level. As New York City struggles to find shelter for its increasingly large homeless population, some landlords are paying off their rent-stabilized tenants in order to overcharge the city on rentals for the homeless. In some cases, the rent ends up being as high as $3,000 a month for a tiny room without a kitchen or a bathroom. Yep, you read that correctly. So next time you wonder why you are paying so much money for your little box in the sky, you can thank America’s growing slumlord industry. Prepare your jaw to remain open for the next couple of minutes.
From the New York Times:
The city’s Department of Homeless Services pays many times the amount the rooms would usually rent for — spending over $3,000 a month for each threadbare room without a bathroom or kitchen — because of an acute shortage in shelters for homeless men and women.
Indeed, the amount the city pays — roughly half that amount goes to the landlord, while the other half pays for security and social services for homeless tenants — has encouraged Mr. Lapes to switch business models and become a major private operator of homeless shelters. He is by most measures the city’s largest and owns or leases about 20 of the 231 shelters citywide. Most of the other shelters and residences are run by the city or by nonprofit agencies, but his operation is profit-making, prompting criticism from advocates for the homeless and elected officials.