City of Yonkers Declares Victory After Westchester County Discontinues Its Lawsuit Regarding County-Funded Homeless Shelter at 101 North Broadway
YONKERS, NY – December 14, 2016 -- Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today declared victory after Westchester County agreed to discontinue its lawsuit against the city regarding the unsafe conditions at 101 North Broadway in Yonkers, a county-funded shelter. As a condition of the settlement, Westchester County has made the necessary repairs and rectified all major fire and building code violations that were ignored for months and now the property has been granted a Certificate of Occupancy by the City.
Westchester County had been utilizing the 101 North Broadway as a shelter despite it being condemned and deemed unfit for human habitation by city building inspectors. The county-funded facility was continually cited with numerous housing, building and fire code violations including overcrowding.
Mayor Spano commented, “Given the recent tragic headlines in Oakland, CA and Hunts Point, NY concerning the loss of life at properties that did not comply with local fire and building codes, I am pleased with this outcome. We will rightfully continue to hold the County to task on its constitutional obligation to secure the safety and well-being of our region’s homeless.”
Mayor Spano noted, “Today’s settlement puts the County on notice. We, as enforcers of local building and fire codes and protectors of our residents’ safety, are watching to ensure the County adheres to the codes that could prevent other potential tragedies.”
Yonkers fire and housing officials noted that on September 21, 101 North Broadway, operated by the Sharing Community and funded by Westchester County, had no current certificate of occupancy for the basement. In addition, despite not holding the required City of Yonkers Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) since 2014, the county shelter continued to house individuals in the facility. The TRP ensures that all required safety inspections are performed before the building is occupied and that the occupancy limits are honored. Unsafe conditions at 101 N. Broadway included structural deficiencies, dead vermin, unsanitary spaces, little to no lighting, fire hazards caused by faulty and exposed wiring, overloaded electrical outlets, combustible objects near the boiler and soot residue indicating insufficient venting and possible carbon monoxide build up.
“The City can’t in good conscience, ignore the housing conditions and the obligation to the health and safety of these individuals and surrounding residents,” Mayor Spano added. “We will continue to monitor the conditions at 101 North Broadway and be sure that the properties are maintained so that they meet the habitable standards of the State of New York and the City of Yonkers.”
Moving forward, Mayor Spano plans on introducing legislation to the Yonkers City Council early next year that would require on-site operators at county shelters located in the City of Yonkers to be trained as fire guards. Similar to New York City, this legislation would give these on-site operators the responsibility to eliminate fire hazards and assist in the evacuation of occupants during drills and in cases of emergency.