The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) ask court to stop evictions of day laborers in Farmingville

August 16, 2005
Contact: John Garcia, Director of Communications (212) 739-7513

Town of Brookhaven, NY --- The Puerto Rican Legal Defense & Education Fund (PRLDEF) has asked the state Supreme Court to stop the Town of Brookhaven from evicting day laborers from houses in Farmingville without prior notice.

PRLDEF’s show cause order, filed this morning, also seeks to stop the Town from evicting any more residents without giving them a chance to fix any violations. PRLDEF has asked the judge to order the Town to provide relocation assistance to any residents already evicted. If the Town refuses or cannot provide relocation services, PRLDEF requests that the judge allow the residents back into the home.

PRLDEF argues in its papers that the mass homelessness these evictions create, forcing many residents to live in open camps on vacant land, with no running water or toilet facilities, presents a greater danger to community's health than the overcrowded conditions the town allegedly sought to address by these evictions.

Last Thursday the Town ordered shut a house they claimed was illegally overcrowded. More than 15 people were evicted and sent into the streets. The displaced residents have since erected tents in the backyard of the house. The town has executed 10 other evictions in the past months, which has resulted in the displacement of hundreds of people.

“There is no logical reason for the Town of Brookhaven to refuse to give these people advance notice of evictions,” said Cesar Perales, PRLDEF’s President and General Counsel. “Many of the violations that the Town cites could easily be fixed and these people should get the opportunity to save their homes.”

PRLDEF claimed that the Town’s policy and practice of summary evictions without giving tenants prior notice was “arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law…” PRLDEF refutes the Town’s claim that its action was justified because of an emergency situation in the house. A Brookhaven inspector made an internal inspection of the house on May 20th yet the Town waited until August to evict the tenants.

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