This Christmas will be a time for special celebrations for people in one Bronx building as they’ve been given the present of getting to return to their homes. NY1’s Ty Milburn filed the following report.
It was finally home sweet home Monday for dozens of residents of 1204 Shakespeare Avenue in the Bronx.
“I've been waiting for this day because everyone wants to be in his own place,” said resident Carmen Rivera.
On December 4th, tenants in 26 of the building's apartments were forced to leave after the Department of Buildings issued a vacate order, saying part of the building was not safe to live in because their emergency exits were blocked by work going on in the basement. It took two weeks, but the management company fixed the problem.
On Monday at noon, the vacate order was lifted. Migelina Rivera and her family couldn't wait to get home.
“It's a warm feeling to be back for the holidays,” she said.
Many of the tenants spent the last two weeks living in city shelters spread out across the city.
Wanda Ortiz, an 18-year resident of the building, and her three children stayed in Brooklyn and commuted over three hours every day to work and school.
“I have to be in the front of the building before 6:30 so my son can get picked up by the school bus,” said Ortiz. “From there, I drop my daughter to school and then go to work.”
State Senator Jose Serrano was on hand to deliver the good news to tenants. He says he was disturbed his constituents were forced out of the building this time of year.
“For their safety, the Fire Department vacated them out, but again it took two weeks, which I think is too long,” said Serrano.
Fire fighters gave the building a final inspection before allowing tenants back in. Being home is the answer to Claribel Sanchez' Christmas wish.
“It's very happy,” she said.
Sanchez says she’s happy she'll get to spend the holiday with her family where she say she belong – at home.