Landlord needs a hand

Seven On Your Side
August 24, 2009 3:00:50 PM PDT
The Brooklyn man thought he was doing a good deed for a homeless woman. He gave her a place to live. But when it came time to be reimbursed by the city, he says he was the one left out in the cold.

Keith Johnson rents his first floor apartment to a formerly homeless woman and her three children. It was an act of kindness which has nearly cost him his home. Keith was being reimbursed by the New York City's Children Advantage Program, a total of about $1316 a month. But that lasted only until the end of April.

"It's a one year program, 'Children Advantage.' said the Brooklyn landlord. "Then once you're in there for one year you get switched to Section 8."

But after the year was over the tenant never renewed herself in the program. So the money stopped coming. So Keith complained and the NYC Department of Homeless Services renewed her lease and apologized for any confusion. He was also promised retroactive payment ($5264) in 10 to 15 business days, but that was in July.

And now, without the subsidy, Keith has fallen behind paying his bills. Both the water and electric services were threatening shutoff. And no one seemed to being hearing his cries for help.

"It's not the system. The system will work if the people would do their job," remarked the frustrated landlord. "So people don't do their job, you see, they don't they just don't wanna research and make sure. They just deal with you and pass you up like a number."

But just days later, Keith looked like a different person. After a call from us The NYC Department of Homeless Services got in gear, big-time. In just days, Keith had a check for more than $2600, two months worth of back payments. The final payment (another $2600) came later that day in the mail. That made Keith very happy, "I thank you, Tappy Phillips. Channel 7, was definately on my side."

Homeless Services told us the problem started when the tenant was slow to renew her application for payment last April. But it acknowledged a clerical error on it's behalf was the latest issue. A spokesperson thanked us for bringing the problem to her attention, instantly cutting Keith 2 emergency checks in just days.


Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone