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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed new legislation last week that will crack down on city agencies providing inadequate housing to homeless individuals and families. The legislation will bar the city from referring clients to buildings with any “life-threatening” violations, such as no heat or running water. Also barred are buildings with 35 or more units with an average of at least two violations per unit, and smaller buildings with an average of three or more violations per unit. If an approved building develops severe problems, the agency involved must notify tenants, building owners, and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The legislation comes on the heels of two damning reports: Last April, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum found that 40 percent of apartments approved by the Department of Homeless Services for its Housing Stability Plus program had code violations issued within the past year. In 2004, the City Council surveyed 25 buildings serving clients with HIV/AIDS and found that 73 percent had open violations. “New Yorkers should be outraged to know that they are paying for these subsidies,” said Jennifer Flynn, executive director of the NYC AIDS Housing Network. The legislation was announced last Thursday by Speaker Quinn and Councilmember Eric Gioia, and will be formally introduced this week. (J. E. Mendez) [2/27/06]

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