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Flooding Deaths In NYC Highlight Concerns Of Illegal Basement Apartments

New apartment buildings are replacing empty lots in Mantua, one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods.

There are calls for changes after it was learned many of the flooding deaths last week in New York City were people trapped in basement apartments.

The Department of Buildings says 10 of the storm deaths were people who drowned in basements converted into illegal apartments. Annetta Seecharran is with Chhaya, an organization fighting for affordable housing. She wants the city to take action.

“Move towards a program that supports landlords, that incentivizes small home owners and not penalize them for upgrading their apartments to make them meet code so that they are safe.”

Mayor de Blasio calls it very difficult physically and costly to property owners to bring basement apartments up to code but says the city has to figure out a way forward. He would like door to door evacuation warnings ahead of the next storm.