Report blasts conditions in family homeless shelters

Officials found families living with rats, roaches and fire safety hazards.

Officials found families living with rats, roaches and fire safety hazards. (3/12/15)

BROOKLYN - A new report blasts the living conditions in some of the city's family homeless shelters.

For a year, the Department of Investigation looked into 25 shelters citywide operated by the Department of Homeless Services.

According to its findings, one family was found living with a large puddle of urine in their shelter's elevator. Another apartment had a dead rat where four children were living.

At a shelter on Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn, officials say that families tolerated living with rats, roaches, poor maintenance of the building and fire safety hazards.

The 50-page probe also found that the 25 shelters listed in the report had a total of 621 city-issued violations.

The Department of Investigation recommended a list of steps for Homeless Services to improve its shelters. The list includes tasks like creating a plan to put all shelters under contract with the city and implementing 24-hour security at residential building sites.

Homeless Services says it is committed to improving the shelter system, saying, "We have already begun implementing corrective actions in the areas referenced in the report, and pressing problems have either been addressed, or are in the process of being corrected."

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