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Help Furnish Homes for Formerly Homeless

August 28, 2016 Comments off

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Today, I found out about Humble Design, an organization re-purposing donated items to furnish homes for the formerly homeless. I saw the smiles on faces of people who hadn’t had a bed to call their own in over a year, and it touched my heart, so I hope you will support by offering assistance and/or sharing this post.

 

 

Humble Design’s mission: to turn four bare walls into a clean, dignified and welcoming home by re-purposing gently used household goods.

For those of you who can support Humble Design’s Michigan-based organization, thank you, and please consider using this comprehensive list as a guideline to support local charitable organizations, as well.

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Produce the Note! The Rallying Cry Against Foreclosure

March 30, 2012 10 comments

There’s hope for some, and it’s all about saving one’s home.  Foreclosure is no longer the end all; instead, there appears to be a couple of options from squatting in your own home to an offer from at least one bank to rent your own home.

I was watching The Rachel Maddow Show  when I first heard about Representative Marcy Kapture who rallied the cry on the house floor:  “I say to the American people you be squatters in your own homes.  Don’t you leave!”  This statement made back in 2009 has gained steam not only from the dire straits of those who are losing their homes today, but was founded and fought for by those who protested against the loss of their homes in the past: Foreclosures and Evictions from Depression to Recession.

Now, the new rallying cry is Produce the Note!  After all the fraud spurred by greed, it appears that many may have a chance to save their homes because mortgage brokers failed to secure the proper documents to prove your home is no longer yours.  In light of this information, it’s not surprising that at least one bank is offering the option to rent you your own home.

Call me a skeptic, but I believe the main reason why the rental option is now on the table is two-fold: the bank wants to make money until they can actually sell your home, and more importantly if you sign a document now there is an actual record.

You can find more information about the Occupy Our Homes movement via a host of media outlets inclusive of  Mother JonesSalon.com and Truthout.org while FindLaw offers specifics regarding “Produce the Note” tactics.

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent they conquered.”  Thomas Jefferson

Here’s a Bed Bug article from the good people of BrickUnderground.com

September 5, 2010 Leave a comment
The subject says it all other than it’s about time!  Here’s the article from the good people of BrickUnderground.com:

Bed Bug Disclosure Law signed by NY Governor

Effective immediately, New York City landlords must let prospective tenants know in writing if an apartment has suffered a bed bug infestation within the past year, or if there has been a bed bug problem in the building during that time.

““New York City tenants have been living in fear of bedbugs, and I am excited to offer them this new protection,” said New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, who sponsored the bill, in a press release issued this afternoon.

“Nothing is more horrifying than signing a lease after a lengthy apartment search only to discover that your new apartment is bedbug-infested,” said the Upper West Side assemblymember. “By requiring landlords to disclose infestations before the lease is signed, people will have a means of guarding themselves against exposure to this plague.”

The law is a positive step in the direction of bed bug transparency, but it is a first step.

Existing renters still have no legal right to learn whether there is a bed bug problem in their building. This information is important to put pressure on lax landlords to take adequate steps to control the spread of bugs from apartment to apartment and so that renters can take their own precautions. (See How to bed bug proof your NYC apartment. )

Then there is the matter of prospective buyers in co-op and condo buildings.

While sellers must disclose a bed bug problem in their apartment if asked about it, buyers still have no legal right to learn, for example, whether there is a bed bug problem in the apartment next door or even a major infestation in the building that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to eradicate.

http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2010/08/it_s_official_governor_signs_bed_bug_disclosure_bill_into_law

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NY Sun Article By E.B. SOLOMONT, Staff Reporter of the Sun | September 26, 2008

September 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Bedbugs Emerge as New Area of Housing Law

By E.B. SOLOMONT, Staff Reporter of the Sun | September 26, 2008

Lawyers who visited Brooklyn housing court were abuzz recently, when bed bugs were reportedly spotted inside a courtroom on Livingston Street.

A spokeswoman for the courts insists the courts are insect-free, but the claim came as attorneys for landlords and tenants said bed bug disputes are filling the docket in New York City courts. At stake are thousands of dollars, including the cost of extermination, destroyed property, and rent for infested apartments. The cases are also setting new precedents in the emerging field of beg-bug law.

“To be honest, up until a year ago, I never even heard of a bed bug or knew about them. I never came across it,” a real estate attorney, Martin Heistein, said.

According to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which keeps track of complaints about bed bugs and issues violations against property owners who fail to exterminate them, there were 8,830 bed bug complaints in fiscal year 2008, which ended June 30, up from 1,839 in 2005. This year, the department issued 2,757 bed bug violations, up from 366 in 2005.

In New York City, landlords are responsible for getting rid of bed bugs in infested buildings and units and they must pay for extermination.

This was not always the case, but a turning point was a 2004 case, Ludlow Properties, LLC, vs. Young, in which Judge Cyril Bedford sided with a tenant who refused to pay rent for six months because of a persistent bed bug problem.

“Although bedbug are classified as vermin, they are unlike the more common situation of vermin such as mice and roaches, which, although offensive, do not have the effect on one’s life as bedbugs do, feeding upon one’s blood in hoards nightly turning what is supposed to be bed rest or sleep into a hellish experience,” Judge Bedford wrote.

A lawyer at Shafer Glazer, LLP, Timothy Wenk, said the Bedford decision has rippled through the legal community. He said the case reversed a long-standing decision in a 1908 case, Jacobs v. Morand, which held that tenants must pay rent regardless of vermin infestation.

Now, Mr. Wenk said, “The tenants are winning the landlord-tenant cases.” He pointed to another recent case, Mathias v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc., in which a Chicago judge awarded $362,000 to a brother and sister who were bitten by bed bugs while staying at a motel. “The brother and sister really hit pay dirt and got pay dirt,” said Mr. Wenk, who called it “the mother of all bed bug cases.”

One reason why bed bug disputes are landing in court is because it is hard to prove where the bugs originated. While some landlords have accused their tenants of bringing bed bugs into the building, tenants have reported bed bug infestations that spread to their homes from neighboring apartments.

“It gets back to the issue of responsibility,” an attorney for tenants, Ronald Languedoc, said. Mr. Languedoc, who is an associate at the firm Himmelstein McConnell Gribben Donoghue & Joseph, said he has heard of cases where landlords asserted claims against their tenants, but he said he could not imagine how to prove that was the case. “In law, the party that asserts a claim usually has a burden of proof,” he said. “I think it is probably hard to track down where, precisely, they came from and how they got in there.”

One attorney, Steven Wagner, said he is currently handling a case for a client on the Upper West Side who moved out of his new apartment within 60 days because of bed bugs. The client, who was renting a three-bedroom apartment on West 92nd Street for $7,000 a month, learned shortly after moving in that apartments on adjacent floors were infested with bed bugs. Mr. Wagner said his client’s landlord assured him that there would be no problem, but then the client’s son was bitten in the middle of the night.

“My client feels as if they had been defrauded into even signing this lease,” Mr. Wagner said. “Had they known there were bed bugs in the building, they never would have signed the lease.”

Mr. Wagner said bed bug cases were unlikely to yield huge rewards, but litigation is a way to minimize losses. “If people sign a one to two year lease at these kinds of rents, and then their children start getting bitten, they’re angry,” he said. “In these cases, people feel they have no choice.”

He speculated that bed bug cases could have a ripple effect in the real estate market. “I wonder if this is a new way of getting rid of tenants who are regulated,” he said.

He also predicted new case law would emerge from a growing area of litigation. “I don’t know how bad the bed bug epidemic is, but I can tell you it is non-discriminatory,” he said. “There are going to be people who are spending a lot of money and can litigate these issues.”

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Gotham Gazette Bedbug Article By Gerard Flynn

September 24, 2007 Leave a comment

As bedbugs bounce back, New Yorkers feel the bite
By Gerard Flynn
For more than six decades, Cimex lectularius, a.k.a. the bedbug, was thought to have been eradicated throughout the United States, largely through the successful use of the pesticide DDT.
In recent years, however, the perennial pest has made a dramatic return.
Statistics from the city’s Department of Housing, Preservation and Development reveal an alarming rise in the number of bedbug complaints from tenants, who describe disturbing incidents of infestations. At the same time, tenants are reporting that landlords are reluctant to do anything about the problem.
“We have seen nearly a fourfold increase in bedbug complaints over the past two years,” said Seth Donlin of H.P.D.
“We encourage people to report potential code violations if their landlord fails to correct the problem,” Donlin said. “It is a landlord’s responsibility to provide housing free of infestations.”
No larger than an apple seed, bedbugs have been known to nest in alarm clocks and screw tips or bury their eggs deep in carpets or floorboards. After dark, they crawl out.
Bedbugs are attracted by a person’s body heat or by exhaled carbon dioxide. Crawling onto the skin, they feed on their victims’ blood.
Laying up to three eggs per day, they can produce anywhere between 300 to 500 offspring per life cycle, each batch requiring a blood meal.
Severe itching follows several days after a bite. People may also find other signs left by bedbugs, including dark spots — fecal matter — on sheets. There may also be visible bug skin shedding. A sickly, musky odor in a room usually indicates a heavy infestation.
“They can go for many months without a blood meal, which makes eradicating them that much more difficult,” said Louis Sorkin, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History.
Although not capable of spreading infectious diseases, the bite — which resembles a welt — can spread secondary infections from the infernal itching that can last for up to a week.
Timothy Wong, director of M & M Environmental, an exterminator on Orchard St., has seen demand for his business soar over the past couple of years, responding to more than 300 calls this year so far, a rise of 33 percent from the previous year.
Wong, who has seen infestations so dense that the critters don’t wait until nightfall to feed, sees education — as well as the efforts of professional exterminators — as central to ridding the city of the problem. This year he has set aside 15 percent of his company’s budget for distributing literature in Chinese, Korean, Spanish and English, largely targeting the city’s immigrant community.
“A lot of people are getting bedbugs from refurbished mattresses,” he said. “They see what appears to be a perfectly good mattress on the street and bring it home, or they buy them from furniture stores where they are sold as new, and this is not illegal.”
“Or when you go to a store and buy a new mattress, they will pick up your old one and place it in the back of the truck with the new mattress,” he said. “So you can imagine what will happen if one of them is infested.”
He also warned about the exploitative actions of some extermination firms, including fly-by-night operations that start up simply to capitalize on the panic, which is occurring in some neighborhoods.
“There are a lot of scams in the industry,” Wong said. “A lot of victims are paying people without experience, and then there are larger companies who want to milk clients and do 10 treatments when you can take care of this in two visits.”
Residents can use over-the-counter “insect bombs” in their apartments, but only a professional exterminator can really remove bed bugs, exterminators say. Using the bombs only causes the vermin to move next door and doesn’t get bugs that may be hiding in deep cracks, according to exterminators.
Attempts to address the issue of reconditioned mattresses are ongoing. In 2005, Councilmember Gale Brewer, of the Upper West Side, introduced legislation — still awaiting mayoral approval — to make the sale of reconditioned mattresses illegal.
Brewer calls the problem an “epidemic.” She has convened a citywide task force to raise the alarm about the spread of bedbugs to city schools and hospitals, as well as to address the potential negative impact on the city’s tourist industry that reports of infestations might have.
Despite the minimal health impact bedbugs represent, Brewer said the city must pay greater attention to the psychological impact an infestation can have.
“They are now everywhere, and it is a serious mental health crisis,” she said. “We go to visit tenants and we are petrified; everyone is walking around with their pants rolled up.”
Marina Berino, who shares a loft with a roommate on Canal St., knows all too well the lingering psychological impact a close encounter with bedbugs can bring.
After a visitation in May, it took them two months and thousands of dollars in discarded furniture and exterminator costs to rid themselves of the maddening bugs.
“Besides the financial bite, it was very stressful and time consuming,” she said. “I still go to sleep and scratch myself all night, thinking they are on me.”

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What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

January 27, 2007 Leave a comment

As a reporter once described they can be as tiny as a “.” and as big as an “O”, a flat “O”, red when fed, and clear if it has not fed yet.

You’ll know you have bedbugs if there are reddish brown spots on your bed from when you turned over and crshed ’em.

 

Categories: Home Help

Bedbug Precautions

January 27, 2007 Comments off

Ah, yes, Bedbug Precautions…There is no full proof way to avoid these little buggers. Your place could be spotless, and I’m sure these little vampires more than appreciate you keeping a clean table for them to dine.

But, of course, one should keep clean, and here’s some suggestions for your home:

  • Double Sticky Tape is your friend. Use it around the legs of beds, dressers, tables, chairs, go karraaaaaazy. (Bedbugs can not travel across sticky tape.)
  • Items you do throw out, bag and tag, so no one else takes the item thinking they’ve hit lotto.
  • NO Sidewalk Shopping!!! If it’s out in the street; there is a reason!
  • Please check A Note to My Neighbors for helpful information, and please pass it on.

And, when you’re away from home, here’s some more suggestions:

  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles:
    1. Make sure the clothes you wear can be washed in HOT water.
    2. Keep a plastic bag with you, place the items you wore in it, and store until you can wash. Do not open the bag otherwise!
    3. Avoid Suitcases. Use a knapsack so you can wash it.
  • Hotels, Motels and the Like:
    1. When in hotels, do not use the drawers.
    2. Keep your items in your suitcase or knapsack
    3. Use the fold out “table” (for lack of a better word) that the hotel provides for you to place your suitcase on. If one is not provided, keep your stuff in the bathtub and/or keep it in a plastic bag.
    4. Ensure nothing hits the floor!
    5. Consider Camping

Lastly, don’t keep quiet it’s the Bedbugs best defense and our worst offense.

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