Hunts Point blast puts spotlight on poor housing conditions

Many are questioning housing conditions across New York City after the Wednesday incident in Hunts Point in which two toddlers were killed in a radiator blast in a so-called cluster site.

It is estimated that there are more than 62,000 homeless people in New York City, and about one-third of them are children. Tahica Fredericks and her family were once part of that statistic.

They say they tried to stay out of the shelter system, but their money eventually ran out, so they sought assistance and were sent to a cluster site.

Homeless advocates claim that more often than not, the buildings are not well maintained and under substandard conditions. Although Fredericks was grateful to have a roof over her head, she says mold, vermin and electrical problems caused inhumane living conditions.

Cluster sites were started more than a decade ago to help homeless families, but critics say clusters started a vicious circle that allowed some bad landlords to profit from the city paying for housing. That is why earlier this year Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration announced a move away from clusters. The idea is to transition to a new plan that would include affordable, permanent housing.

In the meantime, families entering the system are no longer placed in clusters, but commercial hotels and shelters instead.

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