On this edition of Independent Sources, hosted by Garry Pierre-Pierre we meet one of the creators of Heat Seek, the latest device in the effort to make landlords more accountable to their tenants during the winter months. What are books deserts and what’s being done to get more students to read. Then part two of our look at how the Smithsonian is diversifying its staff and the art on display.
Typically, tenant advocates advising renters with chronic heat issues tell them to keep a thermometer in the apartment, and log the temperature regularly with dates and times. A group of tech-minded recent college grads, thinking they could improve on this idea, got together in 2014 and started Heat Seek NYC, an organization that provides remote sensors to low-income tenants, and logs their apartments' temperatures over time in a central database, for use in demanding that heat be restored, and if necessary, printing out and bringing to housing court.
Read the full article here.
Government Technology Magazine
The bill would require any landlord of a building with more than three units to install temperature sensors in living rooms to monitor whether minimum temperature requirements during winter are met.
Wall Street Journal
Tenants and their advocates are using new technology to document a lack of heat in apartment buildings, a condition they say has been difficult to prove in housing-court cases.
Small sensors provided by the New York City-based nonprofit Heat Seek, now installed in some city apartments, measure temperatures and transmit the data to a server. Tenant advocates say the data buttress their contention that some landlords withhold heat as a way to oust rent-regulated tenants.
Interviews for the article came before we learned that later that day for the tenants at this building, the heat came on...and has stayed on! Our sensors are measuring temperatures consistently 10-13 degrees higher today than the day before the press conference on December 1st. See more here.
New York Daily News
Tenants in five Brooklyn buildings with a history of heat complaints will soon have a powerful ally in the form of a small electronic device. Sensors that monitor temperatures and track them through a Web application will be installed at the buildings with funding help from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
The BP’s office said it intended to expand collaboration with Heat Seek NYC, by increasing awareness of the the monitoring hardware, providing data training for housing court judges and pushing for legislation that enables the city to monitor heat remotely from their homes anywhere int he city.
Startup incubator Beespace challenges the traditional pace of innovation, offering a two-year program exclusively to not-for-profit innovators in New York City. For Heat Seek, a current Beespace "incubee," this luxury of time has helped them shift from simply fixing a problem to finding their core value in the complex ecosystem in which that problem exists.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
On Thursday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joined impacted tenants and housing lawyers in announcing a lawsuit based on data from an expanding technology partnership to monitor heating-related harassment in Brooklyn apartment buildings. Standing outside 178 Rockaway Parkway in Brownsville, a property that has had numerous heat complaints through 311, they discussed how residents across the borough are utilizing sensors from Heat Seek NYC, the winner of the NYC BigApps 2014 contest, to remotely track the temperature in their homes during the winter months.
This February was the coldest on record in New York City since 1934. Most of us have been spending the winter bundled up inside with our radiators on. But not everyone in the city has reliable heat. Although landlords in New York are required to keep the temperature at a livable level throughout the winter, there are some 200,000 complaints from tenants every year that the heat is below the legal threshold.
The Huffington Post
Heat Seek NYC will help tenants document when the landlord is obligated to provide heat and when he or she is failing to do so. It will collect data about landlord violations, help tenants document those violations and then assist them in proving their case in court. It will also help responsible landlords who wish to comply with the law identify problems with the delivery of heat so that they can provide their tenants with this essential service.
NY Daily News
HEAT-scrooge landlords could face cold-hard data if Brooklyn tenants take them to court this winter. A new app that records temperatures and generates the documents shivering tenants need for a legal battle will be installed in at least 10 buildings across the borough, with plans to expand it citywide.
The new Web app, which tracks ambient temperatures inside apartments with an Internet-connected sensor, is designed to be used by New Yorker renters, who filed some 214,000 complaints last year alone, according to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The data recorded on the app produces a log that can be printed and taken to housing court.
Crain's New York
Heat Seek NYC collects data on heat in buildings and shares it with city agencies in an effort to "track patterns of abuse." Mayor Bill de Blasio called the app "very cool and very important."
New York Business Journal
A system designed by a team of web developers to identify and track violations of New York City apartment heating requirements won one of the grand prizes in the city's annual BigApps contest, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday night.
Heat Seek started as a school project for Jeffries, who was enrolled in a 12-week Ruby programming course at the Flatiron School at the time. Tristan Siegel, a classmate of Jeffries' and the son of a social worker, recognized the technology could be used to help New Yorkers keep heat logs. Together, they assembled a team around the project and entered it in New York's Big Apps competition where, in July, it was one of 23 projects singled out to receive continued funding, promotion and mentorship.
Google’s Nest thermostat makes it easy to save money by automatically turning down the heat when you’re not around. But many people don’t have the luxury of controlling their own temperature settings, let alone the money to buy expensive gadgets that can do it automatically.