Six tenants of an apartment building in Chinatown, New York City, conducted an outdoor hunger strike, Thursday, after they were evicted from their homes last month.

According to a report by New York Daily News, five out of the six tenants who were seniors, put on red bandanas and set up a makeshift camp outside the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in Lower Manhattan.

The tenants participating in the strike will only consume hot water, tea and their medications until they are promised that the orders to vacate their homes will be lifted as soon as the building’s staircase is repaired within a particular deadline, the report said.

The tenants of the Chinatown apartment building were engaged in a confrontation with the landlord, Joseph Betesh, for many years and accused Betesh of allowing the 16-unit building to worsen so that he could kick out the residents during the time of repairing and then charge higher amounts of rent.

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) evicted the residents of the apartment building on Jan. 18 after an inspection by a court found the building was uninhabitable, the report said.

One of the senior tenants who participated in the strike, Zun Jin Zhang, 70, said: “This is our last resort.”

Zhang, a married grandmother, who stayed in the building at 85 Bowery for 20 years, said the only way for her to let her voice be heard by the authorities was through putting her health at risk.

“I’m very upset. My husband is 80 and had surgery recently," Zhang said.

“My granddaughter always comes over for me to cook, and I can't cook for her. My daughter can't even stay at the hotel to help me. We were only given one room for me, my husband and my grandson,” she continued.

Zhang added: “I'm also very angry because the Lunar New Year is coming up, and we'll have no home for it.”

A statement by HPD officials stated that the original estimated time for the repairs to get completed was two weeks but an extensive structural analysis done last week by the NYC Department of Buildings found that repair wasn't an option.

Instead of repair, the owner has to do a “full replacement” of the stairwell which is 60-foot long along with other numerous structural supports, the officials added.

The officials now estimated that it will take six weeks for the work to be done. Another two weeks would be needed to look at safety measures which would include the removal of “unsafe partitions” inside the apartments which could prove to be a death trap in case of fire or other emergencies.

Caitlin Kelmar, a spokeswoman for the strikers said, Thursday: “Since Betesh bought the building five years ago, he's been trying to say that the apartments are not rent stabilized so he can flip the apartments into luxury units.”

“All the tenants know how dangerous it is to go on a hunger strike, especially in winter, but the city evicted them at night, when it was 20 degrees outside, so they've already been put at risk by the city's inability to prosecute this landlord, who's been harassing them for years,” added Kelmar.

A spokesman for Betesh said: “Our team is working diligently each day to repair and replace the severely damaged infrastructure of 85 Bowery and make the building safe for habitation.”

“Any reports claiming that we seek to demolish the building or replace it with a hotel or condominiums are false. We all share the same goal — moving families back into their homes as quickly as possible,” the spokesman added.

A resident who stayed in Chinatown for a long time, Karlin Chan, 61, who came to the hunger strike to give his support said: “Most Chinese families have an ancestral shrine at home. Now these families who live at 85 [Bowery], they're missing that piece. They're not allowed to go and honor their ancestors. That's a big deal. It really is.”

“It will affect their perspective on the new year,” Chan added.

The report further stated that the participants of the strike plan to spend each night at the site, with camping chairs and hand warmers. “We have some tarp, but it's unclear if the police are going to let us keep it up. They said no tents,” Kelmar said.

“They gave us a barricaded area and access to bathrooms. So far there's been no trouble. Hopefully they'll let us keep the tarp up because it's so cold and windy,” Kelmar added.

Kelmar stated that this case is an example of a much wider quandary of gentrification and tenant displacement happening in the area.