FINDING EIGHT THE FAILURE OF DHCR TO PROPERLY ADMINISTER THE STATE'S RENT REGULATORY LAWS CAUSES HARDSHIP FOR THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE EVERY YEAR. IN THE MOST EXTREME CASES, THE DIVISION DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTES TO THE DISPLACEMENT AND HOMELESSNESS IT IS CHARGED WITH PREVENTING. We close our description of the Assembly's investigation by reprinting a brief case study of what happened to one unfortunate family when they depended on DHCR in order to keep their home. The following case was presented in testimony by Russell Engler, an attorney with South Brooklyn Legal Services. The difficulties Mr. Engler's office experienced in this case are typical of the difficulties which many witnesses testified they experienced in dealing with DHCR. "The tenant and her nine children and grandchildren had been burned out of their rent-stabilized apartment. They were homeless, and living in a shelter. In October 1985, the tenant applied for an order reducing her rent to one dollar based on the conditions in her apartment due to the fire. By early '86, the landlord had repaired the tenant's apartment but, from his actions, made clear that he did not intend to rent the apartment to her. We assisted the tenant in a Housing Court action seeking to have her and her family restored to their apartment. The court concluded that the main issue was whether the apartment still belonged to the tenant. To the attorney in our office handling the case, it seemed clear that if DHCR issued the rent reduction order, the order would carry tremendous weight in influencing the judge to decide for the tenant. Our office first contacted DHCR by letter in February 1986, inquiring about the status of the case. DHCR never responded to the letter. We repeatedly contacted DHCR by telephone, by letter, in person. We called DHCR over 20 times. Sometimes no one answered. Other times someone answered and placed us on hold and then no one picked up. If someone did speak to us, but learned that we had spoken to a different person earlier, we were told that only the original person could help us. The original person neither came to the telephone or returned the call. When we actually spoke to someone about the case, we were told that the case would be expedited and a result was imminent. Testimony in Housing Court was taken April 9th, May 30th and June 30th. DHCR was informed of each date and subpoenaed for each date but failed to provide a decision or respond in any manner to the subpoenas. After the hearing was completed, the judge held the record open in case DHCR issued its decision. Again, DHCR was contacted and again, there was no response. In July, the judge decided against the tenant, leaving her and her nine children and grandchildren homeless. This result could well have been avoided by reasonable action on the part of DHCR. To this day, we have never heard from DHCR on the case. It is not an exaggeration to say that the current operation of DHCR in its inefficiency, if not in its callousness, leads directly to eviction and homelessness."