The Housing Bureau investigate complaints concerning housing violations in rental units, provides routine inspections of permitted rooming houses and pre-rental inspections conducted on behalf of clients of the Department of Social Services (DSS). In 2010 the Bureau still saw a large number of DSS inspection requests, presumably in response to the poor economy.
Other Housing Bureau responsibilities include rodent and rabies control, public health nuisance abatement and the regulation of septic and chemical collection vehicles. In addition, staff collect water samples at private and public water supplies. We also regulate and permit temporary residences (hotels/motels), rooming houses, mobile home parks and campgrounds.
Free Rabies Clinics are run three (3) times a year. This allows residents a cost-effective way of keeping rabies vaccinations up to date for family pets. In 2010 we arranged for The Animal Rights Alliance (TARA) van to come to Rockland twice. They provide low cost spay and neutering and rabies shots. We hope to continue the practice next year. In 2010 we saw an increase in the number of animals positive for rabies. Most were non-domestic animals like foxes, raccoons and skunks.
In 2010 there was a huge increase in the number of bed bug calls and complaints. Staff has been giving presentations by request to inform residents on prevention tactics and what to do if you do get bed bugs.
The Healthy Neighborhood Program educates and assists residents in the prevention of lead poisoning, asthma, fire safety and carbon monoxide poisoning. We have received a very positive response from the public over the years and will continue the program next year. In 2010 we assisted local fire departments with the implementation of a NYS Fire Safety Grant that provides for installation of free smoke detectors in private homes.