Blair Komar Bates, a housing attorney at Community Legal Aid, was quoted in an Aug. 15 WGBH article about the hazards of old three-decker buildings in Massachusetts.
When Lorraine Adams sees a triple-decker in Worcester, she remembers the fires.
Adams was 15 when old electric wiring in a three-decker she and her family rented ignited a blaze that completely burned the building. Nobody was injured, but the family lost all of their belongings and had to immediately find somewhere new to live.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Massachusetts has a housing shortage of about 163,000 affordable rental homes. Komar Bates, a housing attorney with Community Legal Aid, said that means many lower-income people have little choice but to live in unsafe three-deckers. If a fire burns through the building, they’re vulnerable to homelessness if they can’t immediately find somewhere else to live.
“Landlords have disproportionate power right now to make tenants live in dangerous conditions,” Komar Bates said. “They can’t afford to move and they’re stuck in substandard housing.”
Read more at WGBH.