Enforce stricter building codes in Albany, NY

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In January 2018, it was estimated there were 1,044 vacant buildings in Albany. These buildings are a mix of residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional structures and are scattered throughout Albany’s inner city.The amount of buildings that are structurally unsound in the city of Albany can be seen due to the abundance of red “X” signs scattered throughout almost every neighborhood. When the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance inspects a building that does not mean the building is safe. The NYS Uniform Building & Fire Code provides only the minimum level of safety for buildings and the Department of Buildings & Regulatory Compliance is only encouraged to enforce that minimum level of safety (Building & Regulatory Compliance FAQs, 2018).  

Fires in vacant and abandoned properties cause an average of ten civilian fatalities each year. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that more than six thousand firefighters are injured while fighting fires in these properties every year. NFPA statistics show that more firefighters are injured while operating at fires involving vacant or abandoned properties than in any other property classification. Prevention of structural dwellings from becoming abandoned or vacant is one foot in the right direction, raising inspection expectations could contribute to preventing structurally unsound buildings, decrease injury and crime occurrences, and enhance the safety of residents in their community.

It is to our understanding that Mayor Kathy Sheehan is empowered with the capacity and privilege to make a difference regarding our concerns. We are urging her to take necessary steps and take our suggestions into considerations so that our community can benefit from a decrease in injury and crime while simultaneously adding safe housing opportunities.

We thank you for your time and hope to count on you for your support!