FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2017
NYCHA LAUNCHES MOLD BUSTERS, NEW PILOT PROGRAM TO COMBAT MOLD
The Authority moves to aggressively tackle mold to improve resident quality of life and health.
NEW YORK––Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced the launch of a new pilot program to fight mold. The program, Mold Busters, aggressively combats mold by empowering front line staff with the knowledge and equipment to find and fix the source of mold. It includes new training, new tools like moisture meters, and strategic remedies such as new mold-killing paint. The yearlong pilot will be launched at 38 developments throughout the City on May 1, 2017.
The prevalence of mold in NYCHA developments is directly connected to the Authority’s aging infrastructure, such as roofs, facades, ventilation systems and pipes. NYCHA developments have roofs that have not been replaced in 20 years, facades that are no longer sealing the building from rainwater, antiquated ventilation systems that do not properly work, and decaying in-wall piping. All of which contribute to leaks and mold. Unfortunately, due to federal and state disinvestment, NYCHA has a $17 billion infrastructure budget gap. The President recently proposed a devastating budget cut that would further reduce funding for repairs by over 60 percent to only about $100 million annually to address all $17 billion of infrastructure needs.
NextGeneration NYCHA, the Authority’s long term strategic plan to improve resident’s quality of life and create financial stability, continues to provide a blueprint for NYCHA to navigate this financial uncertainty and become a better landlord. While the Authority’s funding gap presents a significant impediment, NYCHA is committed to fighting mold by changing how it tackles the problem.
“In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever for us to double our efforts to change the way we do business and be more efficient,” said NYCHA General Manager Michael Kelly. While we might not be able to put new roofs and ventilation systems in every building, we can do better in identifying and treating mold and its source – the first time, the right way – with these modern and strategic remedies. With Mold Busters, we are working to not only get rid of the mold but also prevent recurrence.”
In addition to being a key part of the Authority’s NextGen goals to create healthy and safe communities, the new mold protocol was developed in partnership with numerous experts and input from residents, including the Special Master appointed in the 2013 Baez court case, a certified industrial hygienist and building systems experts.
General Manager Kelly continued, “Over the past two years, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with the Special Master and experts on mold remediation and heard input from residents to develop this new protocol to effectively combat mold. We’re grateful for their participation.”
The goal of the pilot is to provide NYCHA staff, specifically the Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents, with enhanced training and instruments, setting staff up for success in solving mold by finding the underlying source and reducing recurrence. Reducing recurrence improves resident quality of life and also reduces the burden on staff dealing with repeat cases, allowing them to assist more residents.
This training will include 8 hours of classroom instruction as well as field training at each development. The Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents will learn how to use a moisture meter which differentiates between surface moisture (for example, condensation) and moisture within the walls (which would indicate a leak and potentially more serious problem). Staff will also be trained on how to use tools to measure airflow from vents, called anemometers, as well as how to use hygrometer which is a tool used to measure humidity. Each instrument will provide the staff with vital root cause information to ultimately improve the health and lives of our residents.
NYCHA also created a new mold inspection protocol with a certified industrial hygienist who is an expert on mold that is integrated into our work order system for staff to record and track and better utilize this information. This new inspection protocol creates a documented project plan in response to each mold work order and guides staff through finding the root cause, choosing the next steps, and appropriate remediation methods.
The results of the pilot will be used to modify the program before it is launched throughout the entire Authority in 2018.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)
NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 328 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/nycha and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/NYCHA and www.twitter.com/NYCHA.