Tenants Rally to Save Their Building After Fire
MONDAY, MAY 19, 2008
Tenants of 560 West 144th Street

The tenants of 560 West 144th Street have grown used to fighting with their successive landlords over the years. The 100 year-old building has been flipped, fought over, and even managed by a court-ordered receiver while tenants, many of whom have lived in the building for their entire lives, suffered through its neglect and decay.

Ten days ago, a fire cascaded through the building, forcing more than 40 families into homeless shelters or into the homes of friends or relatives. The fire seems to have started in a vacant apartment under renovation by the landlord. Fire-fighters battled the top-floor blaze for two hours, causing water to flood the entire building.

Since the date of the fire, these families returned to their apartments one-by-one to retrieve valuable possessions and necessary documents only to find that their apartments had been looted. Many tenants have lost jewelry, electronics, and even cash.

Their landlord, Eight Avenue Sky Realty, has offered the tenants no consideration during their displacement. Instead, an agent of the landlord has offered tenants as little as $10,000.00 in exchange for their apartments.

Also, many families have been separated as a result of the relocation because of rules in effect at city shelters restricting children over 18 from residing with their families. These rules have scattered family members across the city, away from their jobs and loved ones.

Today, the tenants rallied in protest of their treatment by their landlord and by their city. They demanded that their building be repaired quickly and that they be reunited with their families and neighbors.