CITY HALL - Today, Council Members Rafael Salamanca, Jr., James Vacca, Ben Kallos, Corey Johnson and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced the introduction of legislation drafted in response to the Hunts Point tragedy that occurred late last year.
On December 7, 2016 two girls under the age of two were killed when a valve blew off a radiator in their Bronx apartment and filled their bedroom with scalding steam. The apartment was identified as a cluster site under the duress of the New York City Department of Homeless Services.
At the time, Council Member Salamanca and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. announced that they would be introducing legislation to rectify the problems surrounding the tragedy. Since then, Council Members Vacca, Kallos and Johnson, who had previously been crafting legislation pertinent to these issues, have joined them in sponsoring the following:
Intro 1489 (Kallos & Salamanca) - This legislation requires owners to install and maintain radiator covers.
Intro 1524 (Salamanca & Vacca by Request of the Bronx Borough President) - This bill would require the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to inspect radiators during any inspection related to health, safety, or the physical conditions of a homeless shelter.
Intro 1529 (Vacca, Johnson & Salamanca by Request of the Bronx Borough President) - The bill would require DHS to report on how it plans to close cluster sites, or convert those units into permanent housing for homeless families or stand-alone shelter, and would require DHS to take into consideration certain metrics when developing that plan, among other requirements.
Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr.
“Since this tragedy occurred, my colleagues and I have been working diligently to craft legislation that we believe will best ensure that a tragedy like we saw in my district a few months ago will never happen again. I’m looking forward now to working through the process to shape and eventually pass these bills as soon as possible.”
Council Member James Vacca
“I’m pleased to join my Council Member Salamanca and my colleagues in addressing these very critical issues. Cluster site housing has caused an unacceptable amount of suffering for some of our city's most vulnerable residents. We witnessed the horrific deaths of two young girls because they were being housed in substandard conditions. My legislation will guarantee that cluster sites are phased out in a transparent and accountable manner, which will lead to a safer shelter system."
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.
“The safety of our most vulnerable residents must be a top priority. Just because a family is forced to spend time in cluster site housing does not mean they should not have the same level of safety and cleanliness that anyone else would expect from their home. I’m proud to partner with my colleagues in the Council on this important legislation.”
Council Member Ben Kallos
"After a tragedy like the incident in the Bronx where two young children lost their lives, the City has the obligation to review every possible option to prevent a recurrence. With this legislative package, we are taking concrete steps to prevent further loss of life.”
The legislation is slated for hearings in the coming weeks.