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Local News September 5, 2013  RSS feed

Ozone Park ‘Drug Den’ Finally Gets Shuttered

Pol Helps City Seal Off Abandoned House
by Max Jaeger

After community outrage hit a fever pitch, a local politician and city agencies successfully evicted squatters from a drug den in Ozone Park.

Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder announced, Sept. 3, that the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), along with the NYPD and The New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) immediately condemned and evicted squatters from a house that was a blight on the neighborhood and that was allegedly the home of drug activity and prostitution.

“This is a huge victory for our residents in Ozone Park,” said Goldfeder in a statement. “I applaud the Department of Buildings, NYPD and other agencies involved for listening to the concerns of the community and taking immediate corrective action to help keep our residents safe.”

Goldfeder received several constituent calls about the property and toured the grounds earlier this month before issuing a letter to the Depart- ment of Buildings and the NYPD to investigate this situation, according to a press release.

City agencies siezed the property, which had a history of fires and criminal activity, it was noted.

Additionally, the Red Cross offered temporary shelter to individuals squatting inside the house until permanent arrangements could be made, according to Goldfeder’s office .“ I am ecstatic that the squatters are finally gone for good,” said a resident who lives across the street from the house. “I am grateful for the timely response from Assemblyman Goldfeder and for everything he has done for my family and our community. It's a relief to finally feel like we got control back of the block—not having that danger so immediate and in our face is a wonderful blessing, and we couldn't be more grateful,” said a neighbor on the block.

It was noted that the house has been boarded up for nearly 10 years. Local police officers reportedly kept an eye on the location, but could not remove vagrants until receiving approval from the DOB and other city agencies.

The house and garage are now sealed, preventing anyone from occupying the building, according to a statement from Goldfeder.

“I am proud that this important quality-of-life issue for our hardworking families in Ozone Park was resolved and now they can finally receive the peace of mind they deserve,” said Goldfeder. “I will work with the bank to determine proper ownership and hopefully allow for the home to be used once again.”