Paterson homeowner says an abandoned home nearby is causing health, safety issues for his family

Jose De la Cruz is concerned about an abandoned property near his home on Madison Avenue. He says trash covers the front and backyard of the property and overgrown shrubbery attracts wild animals.

Amanda Eustice and Lanette Espy

May 5, 2024, 9:30 PM

Updated 14 days ago


From cracked leaking walls to mold and rodents, Paterson homeowner Jose De la Cruz says he's paying the price for blight.
The adjoining abandoned property that is connected to his home is in disrepair and De la Cruz says it's putting his family's health and safety at risk.
"They have to destroy this house and make a new house because it's the only way,” he said.
De la Cruz lives at 885 Madison Ave. and is concerned about the adjacent home at 887 Madison Ave. He says trash covers the front and backyard of the property and overgrown shrubbery attracts wild animals. He also says the homeless sleep on the porch sometimes.
After several calls to the city's inspector's office, De la Cruz enlisted his brother-in-law, Javier Garcia, for help. De la Cruz says the abandoned property isn't just making his family sick, but rodents have made their way into his home.
"One of them fell through the ceiling, fell on the kid's bed. Luckily the kid wasn't in the room at that time. So, they had to obtain the big raccoon and take it away,” Garcia said.
Garcia says when driving in front of the house, it doesn’t look pleasant. "They just bought this home. They were living here and renting, and they bought the home. They want to make it look nice. But you look next door and it's devaluated the home. Everybody around here," Garcia said.
"When it's raining heavy, it comes into my house, into my wall and I've tried to fix it but I can't,” De la Cruz added.
City officials are now stepping in to try and help. Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh says community improvements, code enforcement and the Department of Public Works will visit the property this week to inspect it.
"The preliminary notification that I received is that it potentially could be condemned. But like I stated before, it will be cleaned up, boarded up, and then we will take the necessary action to make sure that the quality of life for any of those residents in that neighborhood is no longer compromised,” Sayegh said.
Sayegh said there is a process for seizing property from a homeowner, but if they need to do it, they will.

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