Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder last week unveiled a three-part plan to create a safer environment for the residents who stayed to rebuild, as well as hold mortgage holders and banks more accountable in the process.
“Abandoned homes are not just a health concern, but they invite crime, lower the neighborhood property values, and place an undue burden on local communities,” Goldfeder said.
The Neighborhood Relief Act of 2014 would require banks to maintain vacant properties for no more than three months after they have been abandoned, pay for their upkeep and expand the state’s authority to step in during particularly complex foreclosures.
Additionally, the assemblyman is advocating that the legislature pass the Remediation of Unsafe Flooded Homes Program to grant the city access to abandoned homes in order to secure the structure and remove toxic mold or other hazardous conditions.
He also sent a letter to NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton asking him to create a registry to serve as a resource for local precincts to monitor these homes.
“The last thing a homeowner should have to worry about while they’re rebuilding is the property next door,” Goldfeder said. “The proposed state laws would clarify ownership and responsibility.”
Joyce Zoller, resident and neighbor to an abandoned home in Neponsit, joined Goldfeder as he met with dozens of community members last week to discuss the plan.
“This is something no one should have to go through after battling Superstorm Sandy,” Zoller said.
For the betterment of the community, Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100th Precinct Community Council, applauded Goldfeder for his proposal and said he too hopes there is a brighter future for those who are living in the midst of Sandy’s ruins.
“These vacant and abandoned Sandy-damaged properties can cause serious health issues in our communities,” said Ruscillo. “Who knows what was left behind in them from Superstorm Sandy? This can cause serious health problems to our young and our elderly.”