The Hotel Cadillac is shutting down. What will happen to its tenants? – Democrat & Chronicle

The Hotel Cadillac is shutting down. What will happen to its tenants?

by: David Andreatta

For year-round residents of the Hotel Cadillac, the first shoe dropped somewhere along the way. It fell to homelessness, unemployment, drugs, or whatever form of desperation prodded them to settle in Rochester’s most resilient and infamous boardinghouse.

“You fall back on the easiest place,” Martin Doty, 56, who’s lived in the hotel on and off for eight years, explained between drags on a cigarette. “For a lot of people here, this was the easiest place.”

The other shoe dropped Wednesday, when residents learned from management they have 30 days to get out.

After 91 years of accommodating guests at the corner of Chestnut and Elm streets, from trendsetters and tourists in its early years to the tenants living on the margins of society today, the hotel is scheduled to close on May 25.

Where they’ll live is now a question on the minds of many of the more than 20 people who call the Cadillac home.

“There are people been here 20 years and more, don’t know what to do,” said Ronnie Klebes, 77, who’s lived in the hotel for eight years.

A spokeswoman for DHD Ventures, the development company that bought the Cadillac last year, said the building will remain a hotel. Whether it will retain its name and cater to the same clientele, she couldn’t say.

But Cadillac residents knew the answer. Over the last couple years, they’ve watched DHD Ventures transform a decrepit brick office building behind the hotel into glass-paneled luxury apartments that rent for up to $3,300 a month.

“No way in hell is it going to be for low-income,” Doty said. “They want to attract rich people downtown.”

‘This place is hell!’

We spoke outside the Cadillac after I had checked into a room and felt I’d been robbed. My room, number 705, cost $58.90 — $49 a night, plus $9.90 tax.

For that price, I got two beds with bedbugs, a broken television and a microwave encrusted with brownish-yellow crud and leftover bacon. The windows were painted white.

When I turned on the light, a mouse tumbled out of the busted air-conditioning unit and scurried under a bed. His turds were in every corner of the linoleum-tiled room.

In the bathroom, the window wouldn’t close and the faucets leaked. Scrawled into the plaster was the word “HELP.”

I was followed to my room by a woman named Caroline Johnson, who goes by “Rosie.” She wanted to party. She lit up a cigar in the elevator and said, “There’s a liquor store down the street.”

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In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America

In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America

by: Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui

RICHMOND, Va. – Before the first hearings on the morning docket, the line starts to clog the lobby of the John Marshall Courthouse. No cellphones are allowed inside, but many of the people who’ve been summoned don’t learn that until they arrive. “Put it in your car,” the sheriff’s deputies suggest at the metal detector. That advice is no help to renters who have come by bus. To make it inside, some tuck their phones in the bushes nearby.

This courthouse handles every eviction in Richmond, a city with one of the highest eviction rates in the country, according to new data covering dozens of states and compiled by a team led by the Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond.

Two years ago, Mr. Desmond turned eviction into a national topic of conversation with “Evicted,” a book that chronicled how poor families who lost their homes in Milwaukee sank ever deeper into poverty. It became a favorite among civic groups and on college campuses, some here in Richmond. Bill Gates and former President Obama named it among the best books they had read in 2017, and it was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

But for all the attention the problem began to draw, even Mr. Desmond could not say how widespread it was. Surveys of renters have tried to gauge displacement, but there is no government data tracking all eviction cases in America. Now that Mr. Desmond has been mining court records across the country to build a database of millions of evictions, it’s clear even in his incomplete national picture that they are more rampant in many places than what he saw in Milwaukee.

Mr. Desmond’s team found records for nearly 900,000 eviction judgments in 2016, meaning landlords were given the legal right to remove at least one in 50 renter households in the communities covered by this data. That figure was one in 25 in Milwaukee and one in nine in Richmond. And one in five renter households in Richmond were threatened with eviction in 2016. Their landlords began legal proceedings, even if those cases didn’t end with a lasting mark on a tenant’s record.

For landlords, these numbers represent a financial drain of unpaid rent; for tenants, a looming risk of losing their homes.

In Richmond, most of those evicted never made it to a courtroom. They didn’t appear because the process seemed inscrutable, or because they didn’t have lawyers to navigate it, or because they believed there is not much to say when you simply don’t have the money. The median amount owed was $686.

Inside the courtroom, cases sometimes brought in bulk by property managers are settled in minutes when defendants aren’t present.

“The whole system works on default judgments and people not showing up,” said Martin Wegbreit, director of litigation at the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. “Imagine if every person asked for a trial. The system would bog down in a couple of months.”

The consequences of what happens here then spread across the city. The Richmond public school system reroutes buses to follow children from apartments to homeless shelters to pay-by-the-week motels. City social workers coach residents on how to fill out job applications when they have no answer for the address line. Families lose their food stamps and Medicaid benefits when they lose the permanent addresses where renewal notices are sent.

“An eviction isn’t one problem,” said Amy Woolard, a lawyer and the policy coordinator at the Legal Aid Justice Center in town. “It’s like 12 problems.”

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Well-priced ranch homes are hot in Rochester-area’s real estate market –

Well-priced ranch homes are hot in Rochester-area’s real estate market

by: Mary Chao

For the past 30 years, Carla Palumbo enjoyed city living in the Lyell-Otis neighborhood in her two-story home on Glide Street. The diverse neighborhood is close to downtown and near amenities, such as Olindo’s Cash and Carry, where she would stock up on imported foods from Italy.

Palumbo, 60, decided a few years ago that the time had come to look into moving into one-story living. She began working in earnest with her Realtor, Carm Lonardo of ReMax Realty Group, last fall to search for that perfect ranch home with the criteria that it should be in a location close to downtown, where she works as CEO of the Legal Aid Society, and should not exceed $170,000.

After getting beat out on two deals, Palumbo was able to snare a buy on her perfect ranch home in Greece on Heritage Drive with an asking price of $139,900 for 1,316 square feet of living space. She moved quickly with Lonardo to write an offer and just closed on the deal last week.

Smaller existing single-family ranch homes that are in updated condition and priced well are in high demand in the current market as people seek easy-to-care-for homes, Lonardo said.

“They’re very popular and go quickly,” Lonardo said.

Ranch homes are especially popular with the baby boomer generation looking to downsize, Lonardo added.

Palumbo’s home in Greece was built in 1963 and features refinished hardwood flooring. The living room features a curved wall — a 1960s retro touch.

There is also a formal dining room and a family room that’s adjacent to the kitchen. The entire kitchen area has been remodeled with granite counters, an island with seating, a subway-tiled backsplash and all new stainless appliances.

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City threatens to take control of ignored apartment buildings –

City threatens to take control of ignored apartment buildings

by: Jake Clapp

Peter Hungerford is starting to become a well-known name to people who follow housing issues in Rochester. Hungerford owns several buildings where tenants say that they have been living in bad, unaddressed conditions, like sewage backing up in their apartments, mold, and electrical problems.

Last month, tenants at 447 Thurston Road started a rent strike. And on Monday, renters at 967 Chili Avenue, some of whom are joining the rent strike, held a small rally to highlight their own building’s problems, including a ceiling falling apart in the building’s entrance way, reports of infestation, and broken windows. The 15-unit building currently has 15 outstanding code violations.

Those actions have gotten the City of Rochester’s attention. The city has threatened to take five of Hungerford’s buildings into receivership if past-due violations aren’t addressed. Through receivership, the city or a third party would take control of the building, collect rent from tenants, and get repairs made in the building. Hungerford was given an April 1 deadline.

“What we’ve seen is that when tenants have gone public in other buildings, the city has responded,” said Ryan Acuff, an organizer with the City-Wide Tenant Union. “And through that, the landlord is taking certain things more seriously.”

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In Flint, Mich., there’s so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency is declared –

In Flint, Mich., there’s so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency is declared

by: Yanan Wang

For months, worried parents in Flint, Mich., arrived at their pediatricians’ offices in droves. Holding a toddler by the hand or an infant in their arms, they all have the same question: Are their children being poisoned?

To find out, all it takes is a prick of the finger, a small letting of blood. If tests come back positive, the potentially severe consequences are far more difficult to discern.

That’s how lead works. It leaves its mark quietly, with a virtually invisible trail. But years later, when a child shows signs of a learning disability or behavioral issues, lead’s prior presence in the bloodstream suddenly becomes inescapable.

According to the World Health Organization, “lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes anemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible.”

The Hurley Medical Center, in Flint, released a study in September that confirmed what many Flint parents had feared for over a year: The proportion of infants and children with above-average levels of lead in their blood has nearly doubled since the city switched from the Detroit water system to using the Flint River as its water source, in 2014.

The crisis reached a nadir Monday night, when Flint Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency.

“The City of Flint has experienced a Manmade disaster,” Weaver said in a declaratory statement.

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These are the ways student loans stop people from buying a house –

These are the ways student loans stop people from buying a house

  • Eighty-three percent of people ages 22 to 35 with student debt who haven’t bought a house yet blame their educational loans.
  • Owning a home, the most common way Americans build wealth, can become a distant dream for many crushed by student debt.

by: Annie Nova

In the late 1990s, Ed McKinley fell in love with a $65,000 house by a lake in New Hampshire.

The owners let him move in early and pay rent until the buying process was completed.

Inside his new home, McKinley installed a modern stove, painted the walls and began to redo the floors.

Then came the bad news.

“The mortgage company decided that my income-to-debt ratio was a little bit higher than they were comfortable with,” McKinley, 59, said.

They were referring to his $34,000 in federal student loan debt.

He had to pack up and leave.

“It’s crushing,” McKinley said, choking up. “I have a very strong desire to own a piece of land that I can put my signature on.”