Earlier this week, NY1's Susan Jhun filed a report on a two-family home in Bushwick illegally operating as a halfway house. Since the beginning of NY1 for You's investigation, we have learned that this problem is not uncommon.
After our first conversation with Angel Tarrats, we learned that his next door neighbor on Hancock Street was not the only residential home that had been converted into a boarding house.
It's just one of at least eight houses in Brooklyn run by Miracle House Incorporated.
All of the houses are certified with the Department of Buildings as two or three family homes. NY1 called the fire department and the next day they were denied access to a house on Milford Street, but made it in to a home on Gates Avenue. An FDNY spokesman says both had previously received vacate orders for significant safety concerns.
The Coalition for the Homeless claims homes like these wouldn't be proper halfway houses even if they didn't violate building codes.
"Half-way houses as everybody understands them are places that are run usually by not-for-profit organizations that have social services on site to meet the needs of folks coming out of institutional care to transition back into the community," said Patrick Markee, Coalition for the Homeless.
Instead, Markee claims houses like these are run for profit. NY1 called the administrator of Miracle House Incorporated and he declined to comment, but in response to an anonymous call a Miracle House representative confirmed that they do not provide social services.
In the report, the Coalition for the Homeless alleges this problem extends beyond Miracle House Incorporated.
"For the past couple years, the New York City Department of Homeless Services has increasingly moved thousands of homeless adults into illegal boarding houses," said Markee.
It's a charge the Department of Homeless Services denies, but a spokesperson admitted that three people moved from city shelters to Tarrats's neighbor's house in 2008. But, when asked about other addresses listed on the flier, another spokesperson claimed confidentiality laws prevented the agency from revealing if former DHS clients now live in any of these homes.
"I understand the nobility of finding a place for these people to reside. I just don't feel that a community such as this one, or residential areas, is the appropriate place for it," said Tarrats.
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