Week in Rewind: Borough’s first mobile drug treatment unit opens, finance records open door for potential Salamanca BP bid, lawsuit follows December building collapse and more

Billingsley Terrace lawsuit
A Billingsley Terrace tenant speaks alongside Council Member Sanchez during the announcement of the lawsuit against the landlords of 1915 Billingsley Terrace on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024.
Photo Gerardo Romo/NYC Council Media Unit

Borough’s first mobile drug treatment unit opens in South Bronx

The nonprofit Acacia Network, its affiliate Promesa Inc. and the State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASES) on Wednesday celebrated the opening of a brand-new Mobile Medication Unit (MMU) that will provide “substance use treatment on wheels.”

The MMU is the first mobile methadone service in the Bronx aimed at finding and treating people addicted to opioids. While another MMU by Bronx-based VIP Community Services opened in November, it does not currently operate in the Bronx.

“Mobile services are the way to go,” Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting. “We are not a one-size-fits-all borough.”

The chrome and white truck will be stationed primarily at 997 Brook Ave. in the Days Inn parking lot from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.

This mobile clinic comes at a time when the overdose epidemic is at its “worst stage ever,” according to Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, the commissioner of OASES.

A look inside the MMU. Photo Emily Swanson

Campaign finance records open the door for Salamanca’s potential 2025 Bronx BP bid

A filing with the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) indicates that Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson might have some competition at her podium next year.

Current Bronx Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. — who represents District 17 in the South Bronx — has joined the city Campaign Finance Program as a participant for the 2025 citywide elections in the race for Bronx borough president.

While being a participant in the program doesn’t mean a potential candidate has officially launched a campaign, it does “mean the candidate opened a campaign committee so they can raise and spend money,” according to CFB Press Secretary Tim Hunter.

Salamanca told the Bronx Times in a Feb. 6 statement that he still hasn’t officially decided whether or not to run for borough president.

“While I have yet to make any final decisions regarding the borough presidency, setting up an exploratory committee allows me to continue to have important conversations with my family, my team and the wonderful people who call the Bronx home, before I commit to anything,” he said. “When the time is appropriate, I will let Bronxites know what will be next in store for me after my term in the City Council ends.”

Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. attends a Tenant Resource Fair in his district in 2023.
Council Member Rafael Salamanca Jr. attends a Tenant Resource Fair in his district in 2023. Photo Jeff Reed/NYC Council

Lawsuit calls on Billingsley Terrace landlords to speed up repairs as tenants remain displaced nearly two months following building collapse

Following the partial collapse of a Morris Heights building in December that displaced more than 100 residents, the building’s tenants, along with help from the Legal Aid Society, have filed a lawsuit against the landlords of the property to repair the building and allow displaced tenants to return to their homes.

The announcement of the lawsuit, which was filed against landlords David Kleiner, Yonah Roth, Mo Doe, 1915 Realty LLC, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, was made Monday morning at 1915 Billingsley Terrace.