FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 15, 2019
NYCHA ACCELERATES LEAD TESTING AT BRONX RIVER HOUSES
The Authority will also host a weekend repair blitz at the development on Saturday, March 30
NEW YORK – The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced it will be accelerating its new lead-based paint testing plan at the Bronx River Houses.
Bronx River Houses is one of the first set of developments NYCHA will begin testing in April, along with Harlem River and Williamsburg Houses.
“Our residents and their children deserve to be safe from lead-based hazards in their own homes,” said NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia. “Accelerating our lead testing at developments with the most need is a vital step in our ongoing work to make sure NYCHA can be lead free.”
The Authority will also hold a weekend repair blitz at this development on Saturday, March 30 to help address the work order backlog. In response to recent Legionnaires’ disease cases, NYCHA also recently tested all buildings at the development for Legionella bacteria.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new undertaking in July 2018 for the City and NYCHA to fully test for the presence of lead-based paint in public housing apartments. In December 2018, NYCHA released a Request for Proposal to use portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing in all apartments that have not previously been tested and showed no presence of lead.
“I commend NYCHA for taking prompt action to accelerate its lead-based paint testing plan at the Bronx River Houses,” said State Senator Luis Sepulveda. “This, in turn, will help keep our community safe and make our borough a top priority. Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and I worked together with Mayor de Blasio to address and attack this issue immediately.”
“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for this rapid response to our communities,” said State Assembly Member Marcos Crespo. “Bronx River Houses residents have been through too much for too long, and the recent announcement of a delayed time for response to their living conditions was completely unacceptable. But this commitment reassures us as a community that we are second to none and brings much needed actions, information and repairs where they are sorely needed. This blitz as well as the water systems testing for legionnaires must be completed and remediation scheduled as soon as possible to ensure that children and families in The Bronx have a safe place to call home.”
“I applaud the Mayor and new leadership at NYCHA for accelerating lead testing and holding a weekend work order blitz at Bronx River Houses,” said City Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr. “I will never stop fighting for these residents to live in safe and decent homes.”
“NYCHA reached out to me in a timely fashion to address the many health concerns that has frightened the residents of Bronx River Houses and have assured me and others that there are plans in place to correct these issues,” said Bronx River Houses Resident Association President Norma Saunders. “We all look forward to a resolution for all of the NYCHA residents who seek nothing but the best quality of life.”
In February 2019, the Authority awarded seven contracts to Airtek Environmental, Arc Environmental, ATC Group, JLC Environmental, Lew Corporation, The ALC Group, and TRC Environmental, starting April 1 and continuing through September 30, 2020. The contractors are expected to inspect approximately 5,000 to 7,000 apartments each month.
Beyond the testing, the scope of the contracts includes identifying hazardous conditions detrimental to residents’ health and safety. As part of the testing, the contractors will also perform the HUD annually required visual assessments for all apartments built prior to 1978 that have not been previously cleared of lead-based paint. NYCHA will correct any paint deficiencies observed during the visual assessments.
This testing initiative is part of LeadFreeNYC, the City’s roadmap to eradicate childhood lead exposure. The Roadmap’s approach is twofold: prevent exposure to lead hazards in the first place and respond quickly and comprehensively if a child has an elevated blood lead level. To protect New York City kids, the City will increase resources and support for children, parents, and healthcare providers.
Efforts like the Saturday blitz initiative and the expansion of NYCHA Cares — a $20 million initiative funded by the de Blasio administration to tackle the skilled trades backlogs — make up major components of NYCHA 2.0, a plan to ensure quality affordable housing for all NYCHA residents. Regular and extra staff will be on site from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. Housing Assistants will also be available at the respective management offices to help residents with their annual income recertifications.
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. Over 390,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 316 public housing developments and PACT/RAD developments formerly managed by NYCHA around the five boroughs. Over 190,000 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.