By Yoav Gonen, Reuven Fenton and Bruce Golding
Andrea Logan’s possessions have been locked up — at taxpayer expense —
since she lost her Upper East Side apartment in 2006 after a
debilitating stroke, court records reveal.
And the city has picked up the tab, following a state law that requires it to cover storage expenses for homeless people.
Logan, 54, had jammed 11 storage units full of belongings in the
years after her stroke, and officials didn’t notice the huge tab until
it reached $3,585 a month last year.
That’s more than enough to score a one-bedroom duplex in Greenwich
Village with a fireplace and roof deck, or a newly renovated,
two-bedroom pad on the Upper East Side.
Even Logan’s storage units — some as large as 10 by 16 feet — cover
well over 1,000 square feet of space, way more than offered by most
It was unclear exactly how the city learned of Logan’s sprawling
storage empire. But officials finally refused to pay for all of her
units last year, prompting her to sue in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Under a deal this year with the city Human Resources Administration
and the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Logan
agreed to whittle down her belongings to fit into only three units at a
Storage Post facility in The Bronx, at a total monthly rate of $1,297.
Logan, who ran an antiques business before the stroke left her
legally blind, says her stuff includes “hundreds of cartons of books,”
as well as furniture, appliances and women’s clothing in sizes ranging
from 4 to 22.
Asked to estimate the value of the stash, she said, “There’s so much stuff that I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
“The most critical and valuable things are the irreplaceable items —
documents from medical-malpractice and personal-injury cases, personal
family documents, photographs and mementos.”
Logan said she also has accumulated a trove of household items that
she bought for each shelter stay but wasn’t allowed to bring with her
when she got relocated.
“I have 10 to 12 brooms,” she explained. “You name it, it’s there: soup to nuts.”
Logan said that while she remains homeless, she hasn’t lived in a
city shelter for four years and is instead bunking with friends or
squatting in abandoned buildings.
She said city officials have been trying to force her into a tiny
apartment in a “supportive building” in Chelsea for people with severe
disabilities so “they can justify not paying my storage.”
“I went to a meeting with HRA, and they popped a surprise psychiatric visit on me,” she said.
But taxpayers are still footing the bill for her belongings. State
law mandates that the city pay for storing furniture and personal
belongings for homeless people “so long as eligibility for public
assistance continues and so long as the circumstances necessitating the
storage continue to exist.”
In the years since Logan became homeless, the cost to taxpayers for
providing such storage to homeless people has soared from a total $6.8
million in fiscal year 2006 to $14.6 million in fiscal year 2014.
The average cost per case also rose, from $1,333 a month to $1,549.
The HRA wouldn’t discuss Logan’s case, citing privacy issues.
But agency spokesman David Neustadt said, “The policy of [Mayor Bill
de Blasio’s] administration is to house people, not just their
belongings, and we are actively implementing that policy.”
Additional reporting by Frank Rosari