Hempstead shelter residents say they're forced to live in 'hell'

<p>Residents of a Hempstead home that is being used as a homeless shelter say they're being forced to live in deplorable conditions.</p>

News 12 Staff

Dec 13, 2018, 5:17 PM

Updated 1,984 days ago

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Residents of a Hempstead home that is being used as a homeless shelter say they're being forced to live in deplorable conditions.
Linda Simmons says living in the shelter on Cornwall Lane is "hell." The 59-year-old describes the facility's owner as "a slum landlord" who "doesn't do anything."
News 12 checked out conditions in the house, and it didn't take long to spot that a smoke detector was missing. The thermostat was also covered up so residents couldn't touch it. Simmons says the oven doesn't work.
Outside the home is a deep, potentially dangerous ditch. Residents have also complained about mold and rodents.
Residents say the shelter is supposed to be only for women but that two men are currently living there.
News 12 tried tracking down the shelter's owner, Billy Ross, at his Garden City home and tried contacting him over the phone, but to no avail.
Hempstead village says the property is zoned as a single-family residence and that the owner was cited several times for allegedly running an illegal boarding house. But it continues to operate -- even receiving public funds, including a check for $550 from the Nassau Department of Social Services.
The DSS says the house is not a certified shelter. County officials say they were not notified of the conditions at the facility.
DSS officials say that if Simmons would like to find new housing, she can visit its office to be certified for another location.


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