FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 21, 2021
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FEDERAL MONITOR APPROVES NYCHA’S INITIAL LEAD ACTION PLAN REQUIRED BY 2019 HUD AGREEMENT
Over the past two years NYCHA has developed a sophisticated online system for tracking lead activities; conducted more than 91,000 visual assessments; and organized several outreach campaigns to better identify apartments where children under the age of six are present
New York – Today, the Federal Monitor approved NYCHA’s initial lead-based paint Action Plan for improving the Authority’s benchmarks for lead compliance and abatement. NYCHA has already proactively been implementing many of the initiatives in this Action Plan. The Monitor’s approval will lend additional support to the significant efforts NYCHA has made over the past two years to rapidly remediate the presence of lead paint across the Authority’s housing stock – particularly in apartments where children under the age of six live or regularly visit.
The approval of the eleven specific actions developed by NYCHA in concert with the Federal Monitor, the City of New York, HUD, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York represent a significant milestone in the Authority’s approach to implementing its comprehensive lead assessment and compliance plan. Key measures developed over the past two years include the creation of the TEMPO program to further protect children under the age of six from the risks posed by lead-based paint; successful door-knocking and public awareness campaigns to encourage residents to complete and return the annual notice indicating whether a child under the age of six is present; the development of a sophisticated information technology system to track lead related activities across the city; and a formalized procedure for ensuring that NYCHA vendors and their staff performing work in apartments with known or presumed lead-based paint have the proper certifications in place. NYCHA will now work with the Monitor, HUD and the SDNY to supplement the initial lead action plan with additional action items covering procedures for occupant protection and clearance relating to lead paint work, as well as a schedule for painting common areas containing lead paint.
“This Action Plan is the culmination of months of hard work and we appreciate the Monitor and his team for approving it,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “NYCHA’s proactive efforts and the Monitor’s approval of the Initial Lead-Based Paint Action Plan show that real change is happening in how the Authority manages lead paint.”
“We want to thank HUD for their help and support, in particular former Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian Housing Hunter Kurtz and former Regional Administrator for HUD’s Region II Lynne Patton. We would also like to express our thanks to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York,” said NYCHA Federal Monitor Bart M. Schwartz. “Evidence of the falsification of records regarding lead in apartments with children under six was a prime factor in the establishing of this Monitorship. I have continued the focus on protecting children under six. Much has been done under the current administration to address the problem of lead even without this formal Action Plan. Now, with this initial Action Plan an important milestone has been achieved to protect NYCHA’s residents, especially young children.”
Over the past two years, NYCHA has aggressively worked to identify children under the age of six that live in NYCHA apartments or visit for more than 10 hours a week. This outreach effort was developed in concert with the Federal Monitor as part of its efforts to overhaul its lead programs and meet new requirements in local lead laws.
NYCHA also established a Compliance Department designed to ensure that NYCHA complies with laws and regulations that align with the Authority’s mission to provide safe, affordable housing to its residents as well as an Environmental Health and Safety Department to provide oversight, analysis, and evaluation of all matters and work conducted by the Authority which have any impact upon the environmental health and safety of the real property of the Authority, its residents, and employees.
To date, NYCHA has completed more than 60,000 XRF inspections in its apartments and has attempted inspections in another 10,000 apartments. Of those units tested, 53% of the apartments have tested negative for lead paint. Additionally, NYCHA has trained nearly 3,000 workers in lead safe work practices to ensure the work that impacts lead paint is done in accordance with EPA requirements.
In total over the past two years, NYCHA has conducted over 91,000 visual assessments; conducted biennial risk assessments in exterior areas and interior common areas at 229 developments; conducted over 30,000 remediations of paint deficiencies; and abated 1,325 apartments. NYCHA’s proactive efforts and the Monitor’s approval of this Action Plan show that real change is happening in how the Authority manages lead paint.
About New York City Housing Authority
The New York City Housing Authority is the largest public housing authority in North America, housing nearly 400,000 residents. 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 developments 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.