FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2018
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NYCHA REACHES NEW SETTLEMENT TERMS WITH BAEZ PLAINTIFFS TO IMPROVE MOLD CONDITIONS IN PUBLIC HOUSING
Through ongoing mediation with a Special Master, parties agreed to new terms to treat and prevent mold issues at NYCHA developments.
NEW YORK – Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced the updated terms of the Baez settlement to improve mold remediation and prevention throughout the NYCHA portfolio. The agreement, submitted to the court today, includes the full rollout of the Mold Busters program authority-wide, improved training for staff, independent specialists, and an independent ombudsman as well as updated operational policies.
“This is a positive step for NYCHA and our residents. We appreciate the parties coming together to agree on real goals and science-based solutions that will help public housing residents,” said NYCHA General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo. “Mold is a serious issue, and we are committed to resolving it, not only on the surface but also by uncovering and resolving root causes and educating tenants on how to work with us to prevent mold.”
NYCHA has been working with a court-appointed Special Master, a certified industrial hygienist, and building systems experts since 2016 to improve and update mold inspection and remediation processes at the Authority.
Last year, the Special Master oversaw the launch of Mold Busters, a pilot program to aggressively combat 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 was 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 work properly, and decaying in-wall piping. All of these factors contribute to leaks and mold.
NextGeneration NYCHA, the Authority’s 10-year strategic plan to improve resident quality of life and create financial stability, continues to provide a blueprint for NYCHA to become a better landlord. In addition to being a key part of the Authority’s NextGen goals to create healthy and safe communities, the new Mold Buster’s protocol includes:
“I’m glad to see NYCHA is taking this step, but more must be done. When it comes to public housing, there can be no greater priority than the health and safety of residents. This will require working at all levels of government and, for my part, I will keep fighting for federal resources,” said Congressmember Nydia M. Velázquez. “To that end, I was proud the House Financial Services Committee just passed my mold and health amendment to the Committee’s Budget Views and Estimates for 2018. I also led my colleagues from the New York City Congressional Delegation in writing to the House Appropriations Committee asking for more funding to address mold and other health challenges in public housing developments. I applaud NYCHA for initiating this effort and will continue working to support them.”
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. Almost 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 325 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.