Aug 24, 2015 5:54 PM

Portsmouth closes 'unsafe' Brewster Street boarding house leaving about 40 homeless

PORTSMOUTH - A boarding house has been declared unsafe due to 'structural and electrical' issues, leaving about 40 residents without a home.

The property, located at 21 Brewster Street in Portsmouth, was closed down Monday by city officials.

Landlord Brian Hogan denied an on-camera interview request with NH1 News, but told a reporter that he fixed any issues that the city requested and didn't feel a closure was necessary.

His own tenants, however, say the building is a nightmare.

“There’s code violations with electrical and black mold," said resident Scott MacDonald Sr. "Mushrooms growing in the bathroom ceilings.”

MacDonald, along with dozens of others, packed personal belongings into trash bags, boxes and backpacks.

The latest problem with the building was a leaking roof.

Hogan told NH1 that he was only notified of the leak late last week and had it fixed over the weekend.

“Water was pouring everywhere," said Nicholas Roosevelt, who said he contacted the city health department because he felt unsafe. "And then the next thing ... I could’ve taken a shower in my room when it rained.”

Signs on the front of the building said it was unsafe for occupancy.

Power was also shut off at the building around 1 p.m. Monday, and tenants were ordered out by 5 p.m.

Many residents told NH1 they were joining together to rent motel rooms.

Cross Roads, the local homeless shelter, has called in the American Red Cross to bring in extra cots and blankets.

The shelter said they are making room for anyone who needs a place to stay.


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