NYC Housing Authority Failed to Close More Than Half of Mold Complaints
New York City Housing Authority federal monitor Bart M. Schwartz released his first report on the NYCHA and the conditions of its residential properties on July 22, 2019. One of the main concerns in the 267-page report was the prevalence of mold in NYCHA developments.
The position of federal monitor was created in agreement between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, NYCHA, and New York City, on Jan. 31, 2019 . Per the agreement, one of the duties of the federal monitor is to analyze and improve “environmental health and safety at NYCHA,” including issues related to mold.
Chronic mold problems are a hazard to residents of NYCHA developments, according to rulings from the Baez v. New York City Housing Authority case. Beyond risking the health of its residents, NYCHA is in danger of failing to comply with guidelines set by this case.
In an open letter to New Yorkers in the introduction of the first report, Schwartz wrote that “residents of NYCHA who have lived too long in unacceptable conditions.” He also acknowledged mismanagement in the NYCHA, describing the organization as “ fraught with serious problems in structure, culture, and direction, and perhaps even worse.”
The guidelines established by Baez v, New York City Housing Authority include mandating the NYCHA to respond to 95 percent of mold complaints within five days and most take steps to prevent a second mold incident within twelve months. Schwartz’s team noted in the report that many NYCHA staffers said that they were not able to follow these guidelines and meet deadlines “because of lack of resources.”
From Nov. 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2019, NYCHA reported that there were nearly 1,986 mold complaints in its properties. Of those 1,986 complaints, NYCHA managed to follow up with residents living in 1,613 of those properties, or 81 percent of mold complaints. Only 846 mold complaints cases were successfully completed, according to NYCHA, which is 43 percent of the total number of mold complaints during this period.
From Nov. 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2019, of 1,613 “successful contacts,” new work ordered were needed for 742 of these cases, or 47 percent of the total cases where there were successful contacts.