Law proposed to assist residents when elevators are down

One disabled senior in Gravesend is demanding change to elevator accommodation laws after he and other residents were trapped in their apartments when the elevator shut down.

Carmine Santa Maria, 79, lives on the seventh floor of a high-rise in Gravesend and has been using a handicap scooter for 10 years. He says that the elevators in his building break down often, leaving him trapped in his apartment with no access to buy food or water.

Councilman Mark Treyger brought Santa Maria and other residents sandwiches while the elevator was broken. Treyger says that he is trying to push through a law that would prevent residents from ever being trapped in their homes due to a broken elevator again.

Currently, the law is that landlords must notify residents 10 days in advance if an elevator breaks down. The new law would obligate landlords to have a plan in place for assisting residents who can't use the stairs.

Treyger says that the best legislation will come from working with residents and landlords to improve the situation.

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