NBC New York
Hundreds of Bronx residents were forced out of their apartments when their fire escapes were removed for renovations. Now, the cost of temporary housing is starting to add up. Gus Rosendale reports.
Hundreds of residents who were forced to leave their Bronx apartment building after their fire escapes were removed for renovations gathered Tuesday to air their frustrations over the financial and personal costs of the evacuation.
"Since it's been going on, I've stayed with friends and family," said tenant Phyllis Simmons, who has lived in her apartment at 2400 Webb Ave. for 30 years. "It really is an inconvenience."
City building inspectors evacuated the 75-unit complex in University Heights last week because a contractor who was working on the façade removed all the fire escapes.
The city said that presented a fire hazard and that the move was never approved in the permitting process.
The building's owner, Goldfarb Realty, blames the contractor for the confusion and is offering tenants money to pay for temporary housing.
But City Councilman Fernando Cabrera said that was no solution for the displaced residents.
"We don't want them to receive services three or four weeks from today," he said. "We want them to be able to get them as soon as possible."
But there's no quick fix: tenants were told at the community meeting that replacing the fire escapes could take as long as two months.
"I don't know what's going to happen," said Delia Washington. "I hope and pray for the best but I have no idea."
The building landlord did not attend the meeting.
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