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Born a Texan, but traveled the US extensively.  Now staying on the East coast.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The system does not work part 3 - maybe a final entry

I thought we were going to have a happy ending, I thought the complete redo of this apartment was going to be a blessing, but alas I was wrong. It turns out that this two room with a kitchen going for $1200 a month did not meet minimum housing standard sizes for the four persons to be living there. Rightfully the code specifies size - one person gets a bedroom of 70 sq ft, another add 50 square feet and each additional adds 50 sq ft. She would need 220 sq ft of bedroom space to meet the minimum requirements. I don't have the figures, but apparently this one does not and according to sources, should not even have been approved in the first place. There is also a cellar, which is finished, but for reasons of safety (no egress except through the apartment) should not be used as a sleeping space. So sometime soon the landlord will be issued a condemnation order and my friend will be force to find other substandard housing to provide for herself and her children. Will the Department of social services be able to help? I really hope so - it is the heart side of the code enforcement side of the health department and the relocation person is aware and involved. Will my friend allow herself to be helped - that is another question that I cannot answer. When a person has been burned too many times, they shy away from helping hands.
The cracks are wide in the system and if there had not been a fire, this would have never been discovered.
The rules are blind to the plights of people who only make $1200 a month plus what ever extra they get on side jobs.
And unfortunately, many of the people enforcing the rules have forgotten their hearts for what the 'code' says.
And yes this is a rant and a condemnation to all those who follow the letter of the law.
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