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Poor Housing Conditions Worry South Bronx Parents

by Rob Palazzolo
A A
aerial view of the South Bronx

Gryffindor, Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Studies show substandard conditions can impact kids' health.

The South Bronx has come a long way since the 1970s and 80s when arson and other crimes were rampant.  But, about half of the area’s population still lives below the poverty line. 

Housing conditions in the South Bronx often leave a lot to be desired, and that’s especially concerning for households with children.

Nova Strachan is a community activist. She goes door-to-door in run-down apartment buildings, taking complaints about housing conditions from tenants. And she's seen all sorts of problems.

"I know of one family, the plaster falling off the ceiling was affecting their skin, giving them rashes."

The problems can be bigger than just rashes. Studies show that simply breathing the air in substandard housing can give kids asthma.

Gale Anthony is a mother of 3 living in the Longwood neighborhood of the South Bronx. You name the problem, her apartment has it--peeling paint, mold, leaky faucets, cracks in the floor, faulty hot water, bad heating.

"These conditions, we should not have to live with...it's ridiculous."

Barbara Berrouet lives upstairs from Anthony, and is dealing with the same problems.  She has concerns about the well being of her kids.

"When my daughter wakes up early in the morning, she wakes up to ice cold water."

Berrouet says she’s also noticed her own breathing worsening. And she worries that her daughter has similar difficulties, so she says they'll be going to a doctor soon.

Strachan doesn't believe that landlords work much harder when children are involved.

"On average, no, landlords don't see urgency because there's children...either way, they don't care."

Strachan says she helps tenants organize and sometimes even sue their landlords for repairs.  The company that manages Anthony and Barrouet’s building didn’t return our call for comment.
 

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