Amsterdam must fix up apartments

Hurricane refugees don't need another disaster

I just read the Nov. 19 article about residents from Puerto Rico making Amsterdam their new home after being displaced by the hurricane.

While Amsterdam is, I am certain, in better circumstances than Puerto Rico to provide basic human needs and a better quality of life, I can’t help but feel sad for these newcomers. Many of the apartments in Amsterdam would not even pass code inspection. If you’re fortunate enough to get into the “projects” of Amsterdam, then you are set. I laugh writing that. I come from south Florida. I have seen projects. I never imagined people would fight to get in them instead of out. No one should have to live in poorly maintained apartments.

It just seems the overwhelming amount of slumlord-owned properties that are going to take further advantage of these unknowing new citizens of Amsterdam. They’re already vulnerable from the losses ripped from them by the storm. I think it’s horrendous that the city of Amsterdam will allow these families, or anyone, to live in and pay rent to a landlord who doesn’t meet code enforcement standards. 

The fact that Montgomery County Social Services helps pay rent to these landlords is more mind-blowing. They send an inspector to make sure applicants, seeking help, aren’t being fraudulent, but aren’t concerned with the fraud the landlord is committing.

If an apartment isn’t up to code, I’m talking bigger things — electrical, smoke detectors, right amount of exits, gas appliances etc. — then rent should be with held until repairs are made. Why does the county pay the rent on these thrown-together apartments?

I welcome my new neighbors. I just hope they don’t have to settled for housing that barely gets its taxes paid, let alone the proper care and repairs.

Deborah Piellucci


Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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