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Those Flooded Basement Apartments are a Deadly Part of the Housing Crisis

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Eight of the nine people who died during the Hurricane Ida floods last night were exactly where emergency alerts told them was the safest place to be: their homes. Specifically, they were in their own basement apartments in Queens and in one case, Brooklyn. Only one of the buildings, at 61–20 Grand Central Parkway, was located in an area that was a “special flood hazard area,” according to Department of Buildings records, highlighting just how unprepared the city is for climate change. And in New York City, these subterranean spaces, many of them turned into apartments in violation of zoning and occupancy laws, are among the few affordable housing available to low-income immigrants. The Pratt Center for Community Development has estimated that there are more than 100,000 illegal basement apartments in New York, the majority of them in Queens.

It’s unclear whether the five (and possibly more) apartments where people died were legal or not. But........

© Daily Intelligencer

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