As thousands of health care workers from across the country come to aid NYC’s overstretched hospitals, regional property managers are stepping up to provide additional support with rent-free apartments for COVID-19 responders.
Doctors Iram Kahn and her sister-in-law Amber Kahn, of Connecticut, made the trek down 95 and have recently been accepted as volunteers to BronxCare hospital at 1650 Grand Concourse. While Iram, 41, has three children and a husband back home, she knew her services were needed in the Bronx.
She told the Bronx Times that it was music to her ears when she found out that Goldfarb Properties, a property owner and manager, had offered free housing for front line responders in partnership with BronxCare and other New York-area hospitals. So instead of traveling an hour and a half each way after working a 12 hour shift and possibly exposing her family to the virus, she now has an apartment next to the hospital.
“We don’t want to jeopardize our families and kids,” she said. “It was nice of Goldfarb to offer us an apartment.”
Iram, who was a licensed doctor in Pakistan and today is a radiology research assistant at Yale New Haven Hospital, said during her many years in the medical profession, she has never seen a crisis like this.
When the epidemic began she immediately knew she wanted to help. Iram began volunteering two weeks ago and has been working three days a week 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and sometimes longer shifts.
“They’re [doctors] dealing with it the best possible way they can,” she said. “When you opt for this profession you have seen a lot, but this is a totally different scenario.”
According to Iram, the staff at BronxCare has welcomed her with open arms and made her feel at home.
While the apartment is only for two months, Philip Goldfarb, owner and managing partner of Goldfarb Properties and Trevor Schaper, vice president of operations, said they will extend the agreement if needed.
Goldfarb, who has had the company since 1975, explained that his company houses doctors from Mt. Sinai, Montefiore and BronxCare year round, so helping out-of-state volunteers during this crisis was a no-brainer.
“I can’t make face masks but this is something I can do,” Goldfarb said. “This is something nobody has experienced. You just have to do the right thing and keep going forward.”
Schaper noted that with people coming from places like Texas and Massachusetts, not only are they working in a different hospital, but they are temporarily living in a foreign place. Many have been asking him places to go to dinner, making him feel like a concierge.
“In a way it has been more challenging than renting them like we normally do,” he said.