Batya Ungar-Sargon at the Brooklyn Bureau reports on Latino immigrants in Brighton Beach, many of whom were living in illegal basement apartments which were flooded during the storm, destroying everything inside. Those apartments are now uninhabitable and the apartments’ illegality—along with, in many cases, their inhabitants’—is leaving the population without aid or recourse.
Ungar-Sargon reports that already-absentee landlords have now totally abandoned their tenants, refusing help with cleanup and in some cases, prohibiting tenants from receiving FEMA aid by keeping inspectors out of illegal apartments: “Isabel, is still living in a basement apartment on Brighton 2nd which she herself drained with buckets. She has lived there for five years, but her landlady is refusing to dehumidify, replace the Sheetrock, or return Isabel’s security deposit so Isabel can find another place to live. Isabel is also without papers.”