The winter months in New York can be brutally cold. A woman living in the Bronx is being forced from her home because it’s too cold to live inside. The reason that the home is so cold is because her landlord doesn’t want to fix her heat. After two hip surgeries, more than one stroke and cancer, Shawn Smith is struggling to keep her family warm. She has no gas or hot water on top of no heat. Shawn is only 51 and trying to support her family the best way that she can. Her boyfriend lives with her as well as her son. Shawn’s son has asthma.
Shawn and her family have been living in a cold apartment for at least seven weeks. All of them wear layers of clothes in the home just to stay warm, including when they sleep. They also have several blankets on them while they are trying to sleep so that they aren’t as cold as they would be if they lived like a normal family. If they want to take a shower, the family has to go to a relative’s house. Since there isn’t any hot water or gas in the home, they can’t use the stove to cook.
The family doesn’t understand why the landlord won’t fix the heat. They have asked the landlord to help, but he has ignored them for weeks. Shawn thinks that the landlord wants them to move so that he can remodel the apartment and charge a higher rent payment. Shawn does have a unpaid electric bills, which is where the issue started with no heat and no hot water, but the landlord hasn’t offered to help get the family back on track. Officials with the city have been contacted because there is a gas pipe that needs to be repaired. Shawn hopes that her apartment will have heat in the near future. Until then, she continues to freeze and pay over $1,000 for the small home she rents.