UN Rapporteur to Meet Renters of Bronx Foreclosures for Sale

by Simon Lindsay on cities

The United Nations Human Rights Council has appointed a special rapporteur who will meet with people whose properties are facing Bronx foreclosures for sale as part of the organization’s study of affordable housing in New York City.

Raquel Rolnik, the designated UN rapporteur on adequate housing right, will tour New York for about three days, together with some city officials and housing advocates, to hear the views of people who are suffering due to lack of affordable housing.

UN has been appointing independent experts to investigate and report on human rights conditions in various areas in the world. Rolnik, a University of Sao Paulo urban planning professor, is tasked to tour the city and six more places across the country and to report her findings on the progress and violations made on housing rights before the United Nations General Assembly.

If the report showed that there has been a violation of housing rights, the concerned cities will receive a letter from the UN asking them to intervene on the problem.

Included in Rolnik’s itinerary is a visit to Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards site to see the progress of the effort to use eminent domain to repossess property, Grant Houses of the New York City Housing Authority in Harlem to examine the living situation of public housing residents and to meet with renters whose properties are facing Bronx foreclosures for sale.

During a town hall meeting, some city residents complained about the deficient housing subsidies for people with AIDS, deteriorating public housing and landlord harassment among others.

Rolnik pointed out that affordable housing in the city is a misnomer because there is nothing affordable in the current housing market. She said that New York City is unusual in the sense that it took the responsibility to make sure that thousands of homeless people have roofs above their heads.

She said that it is about time that the city put affordable housing on the top of its agenda. After her New York City tour, Rolnik is scheduled to visit and examine the housing and living situations in New Orleans, Louisiana, Chicago, Illinois, Los Angeles, California, Washington, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and an Indian reservation in South Dakota.

One renter whose landlord is at risk of Bronx foreclosures for sale said that people with authority should be made aware of the fact that many residents have no one to turn to for help.

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