Southern Brooklyn

Hell House To Be Homeless Shelter, Halfway House?


The owners of the two houses at 1809 and 1811 Voorhies Avenue told Courier-Life reporters they would prefer to subcontract the houses to the city for use as a halfway house or homeless shelter.

We wrote about the houses last week, after tenants at 1811 Voorhies sprayed graffiti reading “Welcome to Hell” and “Bed Bugs Paradise” along the front. The graffiti has since been removed.

One can only wonder what set Courier-Life on the case (hmm…), but reporters spoke to the owners, Iliya Honovich and Vladimir Parsol, who said they bought the properties back in 2006. They are approved only for single room occupancy (SRO) so they can only serve as rooming houses. The duo bought the pair of houses hoping to rezone it to build condos, but Community Board 15 rejected their attempts saying there are already too many condos in the area.

“Having an SRO is like a suicide deal. There’s always going to be some kind of problem. There’s always bums and weird people that live there,” Honovich told Courier-Life.

Now the owners are seeking to subcontract the buildings to the city for use as a shelter or other institutional housing, saying the guaranteed rent from the city would afford them better security and maintenance. To simply turn the houses into two-family homes would involve a lengthy,  expensive battle through housing court.

Comment policy


  1. Conversion for institutional use will require the owners to make improvements. Nevertheless, such changed use would be challenged by local residents. Additionally, there is the question of how many residents can legally live in these buildings. Seems to me that if the rumor mill is correct there are way too many. I'll bet that no more than 8 would be allowed in each building were it to be used for institutional purposes. Still, it would probably net each building at least 8G a month in income.

  2. So let me get this straight. These guys bought this house turned it into a boarding house (or it already was a boarding house), for many reasons their investment blew up and now they want the city to step in?

    If they had half a brain they would have screened their tenants better or would have converted it into a two family and would have rented it to two normal families. Keep in mind that everything can be done on the budget and it does not have to cost 100k to rehab this property if done properly.

    I have no sympathy for clueless investors and hope that Dept of Buildings/Dept of Housing and Comm Renewal (DHCR) steps up and does their job for once.

  3. It's been a boarding house for as long as I can remember. (definitely was in the late 1960s)

    Keep in mind that the buyers were hoping to demolish and build condos. Had they bought a year earlier their plans might have been approved.

    They might try selling it. Perhaps there is someone out there who wouldn't mind going through the red tape needed to convert at least one of them it into a one or two family house.

    Last year a house across the street, also pre-1890, was demolished. There are very few such houses left here. These two may not be the best examples of second development phase architecture in Sheepshead Bay (though the columns on “Hell House” are of interest) but they are among the earliest structures built on Voorhies Avenue.

  4. I have seen this house on MLS for a while already. The asking price is 699k (highly unrealistic if it can not be demolished and build into condos). My argument is that if they were hoping to build condos, they had to evict the current tenants first of course. They should the same logic and evict the current bums. I am no zoning expert but I am sure there is a way to convert this into a one or two family.

  5. Blaming the tenants seems like the thing to do when things go awry. The landlords are the ones who have the ultimate say about how they maintain the building and the tenants they choose.


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