State Dept. of Health finds 195 new violations against Plainfield apartment building
The New Jersey Department of Health announced on Wednesday that 195 new violations were found related to a Plainfield apartment building that was condemned earlier this month. This is in addition to the previously reported 235 violations. The report comes more than a week after hundreds of residents were forced from their homes.
The state announced that it has allocated $1.5 million toward helping the evicted tenants find housing.
Two buildings are impacted. They are located at 501 and 515 West Seventh St. in Plainfield. They are owned by Cyclone Investment Group. The group reportedly owns several other buildings where tenants have been forced out due to unlivable conditions.
The nonprofit Bridges Outreach says this isn’t the first time they have helped tenants who lived in Cyclone Investment Group buildings.
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“They gave this man their rent and now they’re out on the street trying to figure it out,” says program director Shahlida Boynes.
The two buildings have about 400 maintenance violations altogether – 501 West Seventh St. remains condemned.
"The most immediate concerns were the raw sewage on the basement floor and then uncapped gas lines,” says Plainfield Chief of Staff Jazz Clayton-Hunt.
Contractors have been working on fixing things, but many are questioning the building owners who have been difficult to reach. There is no timeline on if or when tenants will be able to go back home.
"It’s hard to speculate. Based on what we saw, it's probably going to be quite a while,” Clayton-Hunt says. "There's action that will be pursued with this particular landlord, but I can’t go into that."
The city of Plainfield has housed nearly 300 people who were evicted – some temporarily in hotels and others permanently. The city is working with Bridges Outreach and several other nonprofits.
“We’re not here to place judgment and say, ‘Why did you stay in these conditions?’ That's not our questioning. We really just want to help and execute as quickly as possible,” says Boynes.
The shelter space at the Plainfield Performing Arts Center is still available but the city says it's mainly being used as a place where tenants can get meals and access to housing resources.
The city says they plan to do another inspection soon but there’s no word on when that will be.