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Families struggling to find shelter after being forced out of condemned apartment building

<i></i><br/>Dozens of families in Plainfield

Dozens of families in Plainfield


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    PLAINFIELD, New Jersey (WCBS) — Dozens of families in Plainfield, New Jersey are displaced after their apartment building was condemned last week.

The windows at 501 W. Seventh Street are boarded up and the doors are chained shut. The families living there were given days to pack up and move out with no return date in sight.

Firefighters went door-to-door on Friday to make sure every room was empty.

Pedro Rodriguez is one of nearly 300 people now struggling to find new accommodations.

Speaking through a translator, Rodriguez cried saying he and his family didn’t do anything wrong and that his children were upset they had to leave.

The city condemned all 49 units at the building last week. They were deemed unlivable after the discovery of holes in the ceiling, mold-like stains and uncapped gas conductors that were active fire hazards.

CBS New York learned state inspectors found 235 violations in 2021 that were never addressed, according to Mayor Adrian Mapp. The state blamed the lack of a follow-up on pandemic backlogs.

“Help us because there’s too many families and we don’t want the children to continue to be homeless,” said Flor Gonzalez, of the Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

Advocates are pleading for the city and state to put pressure on the landlord to complete repairs as soon as possible. We reached out to Cyclone West LLC, the owner of the building, for a timeline on the repair work and are waiting for a response.

Families said a temporary shelter at the Plainfield Performing Arts Center lacks privacy and many of the hotels offered are in Elizabeth – 45 minutes away.

“How am I going to leave my children in a hotel alone and how are they going to be coming to go to school?” Rodriguez said through a translator.

In a previous statement, Cyclone West LLC blamed their management company for the disrepair, writing they were “under strict instruction to maintain the building in pristine condition and had been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in management fees.”

Cyclone West LLC said they severed ties with the management company.

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs is making $1.5 million available for temporary housing assistance until the tenants can return.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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