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Failure to hold Lantern Organization Accountable for quality service

Numerous complaints about Lantern Organization has been made. Yet the city plans to award it a bigger contract and gift a free plot of land

Complaints of Lantern Organization continue to surface over the last 5 years. Complaints come from tenants of Prospero Hall (100 E 118th St) and Schafer Hall (117 E 118th Street) managed by Lantern Org located next to Timbale Terrace, previous employees of Lantern Organization, and also neighbors and small businesses living near the buildings. 

 

This organization specializes in building and managing supportive housing for Veterans and formerly homeless individuals. It has large contracts from both the State, Department of Mental Health, and the city, Department of Social Services.  Given its questionable capability, we strongly question why New York City Mayor Eric Adams would want to not only gift a large public lot to the organization to manage 339 households and also to award it a large on-going contract to provide supportive services. See some evidence we have collected:

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1) Tenant of Prospero Hall complained at Community Board 11. On Feb 2023, the tenants of Prospero Hall complained at the Community Board about the unsafe conditions inside Prospero Hall and the numerous overdose incidences inside.  Then, the community gardeners next door complain about the tenants frequently throwing needles out of their windows to the community garden, creating a serious safety issues for children.

Community Board has granted this meeting due to these written complaints:

  1. Emails from the tenants of needles and electric bikes in the building (here). See the photos here.

  2. Email from the community garden next to Prospero Hall of needles thrown out from Prospero Hall (here).

  3. Email from the Block Association here

  4. Tenants of Schafer Hall complained of broken elevator from 2019 to 2022 to DOB (see here) lot 1767 - 0005

  5. Tenants of Prospero Hall complained of smoke and drug use at in 2019 to DOB (here) - lot 1645 - 0070

2) Since CBS reported our complaints of the Lantern Organization, we received more written complaints:

  1. From former employee at Prospero Hall (here)

  2. From tenants of other buildings managed by Lantern (here)

Our Demand of Lantern Organization

Since 2021, our advocates worked actively with Community Board 11 to hold Lantern Organization accountable to mitigate the safety issues it generated. Since May 2023, we established a monthly community council meeting with the organization to help us assert the following demand:

  1. A permanent email address that neighbors can send complaints and concerns to about all 3 buildings. Emails should be available to review by police or auditors

  2. Enable and support the organization of a tenant association for all buildings located on 118th street. Including:

    1. Providing a designated time and place for monthly meeting

    2. Distributing meeting time and date to each floor of monthly meeting

    3. Routinely educating tenants ways to file incidence reports.

    4. Routinely distributing surveys to tenants to allow for anonymous report of issues

  3. Quarterly meeting with the block association to discuss safety issues, and associated remediation plans. The block association will invite the police and elected officials to attend. Quarterly report should be minuted and should include the following, after confidential information is masked:

    1. Number of people in hold over, lease violation issued​

    2. Number of incidence report filed, and subsequent actions taken

    3. Information reported in the anonymous email inbox, and subsequent actions taken

    4. Number of on-going investigations and requests for videos by law enforcements and number of cases when a tenant is charged or convicted of misdemeanor or crime

    5. Number of 911 calls and death in the building related to overdose and disturbance

    6. Staff turnover and number of unfilled positions related to the building

    7. Number of residents in different type of housing who are from Harlem

    8. Attendance of different social service programs offered to residents

  4. A written contingent management plan of procedures to handle tenants engaging in drug use and drug dealing. Auditor should confirm these procedures are being followed e.g., mandatory drug treatment plan, put tenants in hold over, issue lease violation...etc.

  5. More intentional selection of tenants, considering the excessive density of supportive housing in the area.  Ensure all the residents in supportive housing are from East Harlem.  Given the rampant drug dealing activities near your building, refrain from selecting tenants susceptible to drug use as this is a triggering environment for them

  6. Increase focus in managing safety issues inside and outside of the building:

    1. Hire qualified security guards who are able to deter criminal elements from coming into the building and is not afraid to file incident reports

    2. Ensure there is sufficient manpower to review videos.

    3. Increase security guards that patrols the area.

    4. Provide a written guide and training to staff of situations where incidence report should be filed. (e.g. needles found in the garden, drug use in trash room, noise in the corridor).   

    5. Increase cooperation with the police to arrest the tenants who are conducting illegal activities

  7. Regarding building design, increase lighting on the peripheral of the building, ensure security cameras cover all of the areas external to the building

  8. A contract between Department of Social Services and Lantern that hold Lantern organization accountable for crimes in side the building and surrounding areas. DSS' contract with Lantern Organization should include review of all the above points and DSS should review the minutes from the quarterly meeting with the block association. 

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