Vigil being held for 85-year-old grandmother wrongfully evicted, now homeless

11/22/2017, 2:27 p.m.
Tenant leaders from the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, local elected officials and community leaders are coming together on Thanksgiving morning for ...
Joy Noel PIX 11 NEWS

Tenant leaders from the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, local elected officials and community leaders are coming together on Thanksgiving morning for 85-year-old Joy P. Noel who is spending Thanksgiving homeless.

The vigil is being held on Thursday at 11 a.m. in front of Noel's building at 585 E. 21st Street in Brooklyn. The group will light candles and speak out against Noel’s eviction, while also remembering that more than 60,000 New Yorkers who are homeless.

Noel’s landlord, Isaac Jacobowitz of Carnegie Management, started an eviction proceeding against her falsely claiming that she refused to sign a lease renewal. Noel was not aware of the court case because it was filed with the wrong zip code and her name was misspelled. She lost by default after not showing up to a case she knew nothing about, while she was away for medical treatment. When Noel returned from her trip, all her belongings had been removed from her apartment and she was homeless. She was living in the building for 20 years.

Advocates say Noel's eviction is part of an aggressive pattern of building-wide and Brooklyn-wide harassment by the landlord who is also using the rent laws to try to deregulate her entire 65-unit building through the “substantial rehabilitation” loophole. The group demands that Noel get her home back and that the landlord is held accountable for his harassment and displacement.

“Instead of giving thanks today with my friends and family, I am here fighting to get back my home from landlords who destroy the lives of low-income families to get as much money as possible," Noel said. "I may be the cause of this vigil, but this vigil is not just for me. This vigil is for our community, for our people who need a home. This city needs to stop predator landlords from putting money in front of humanity .”

Flatbush Tenant Coalition leader Tammy Brake said her organization is helping Noe l so that no other seniors will go what she's going through.

"We are doing this to shine the light on the ruthless and heartless predatory landlords that prey on the sick and elderly," Brake said. "It is Ms. Noel’s story today. But whose story will this be tomorrow if we don’t stand up for justice now? Housing is a right!"