New York City Housing Authority’s 178,000 units spanning The Bronx and all the 5 boroughs of our city are in deplorable conditions.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that having to live in such conditions has negative impacts on families who are simply trying to get by.
Now, United States Attorney Preet Bharara’s office is, “…conducting a sweeping investigation of environmental health and safety conditions, including cases of elevated blood lead levels, in public housing and homeless shelters and the possibility that the New York City housing and homeless agencies filed false claims to federal housing officials for payment related to the conditions.” according to the New York Times.
There is absolutely no reason that in the greatest city of our country and the world that our poorest residents have to be subjected to such environments in a developed nation such as ours.
It is absolutely criminal that this has gone on for long enough and it has deep systemic and racist parallels in what’s going on in Flint, Michigan with the deliberate contamination of their water supply and elevated lead levels in Newark.
These communities are disenfranchised and more often than not, simply do not have the resources or will to organize and fight the fight when so many odds are stacked against them.
Our US Attorney General Preet Bharara is to be commended for his actions for he is unafraid to tackle corruption and stand by the people’s side.
“The order, from Judge Deborah A. Batts, compels the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to produce information about the cases of elevated blood lead levels among residents and complaints of “unsafe, unsanitary or unhealthful conditions” in public housing and homeless shelters.
The documents said the health agency, in response to an earlier civil investigative demand from the prosecutors, had declined to provide the information without a judge’s order, to avoid violating the city and state health codes.
Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department, said late Wednesday that the health department was “cooperating with the investigation.”
The Housing Authority, known as Nycha, has been struggling with deteriorating conditions in its aging complexes and is already under the supervision of a court-appointed special master to address issues of mold among the 178,000 apartments it manages.
The agency has blamed a lack of money to address maintenance needs and major capital projects because of deep cuts in federal funding over more than a decade.
But the court documents noted that Nycha is required to comply with federal requirements regarding lead-based paint and to maintain public housing “so that it is decent, safe, sanitary and in good repair.” The investigative demand said the investigation “concerns possible false claims” submitted by the city to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is a major source of funds for the Housing Authority.” Read the full article at: U.S. Investigating Elevated Blood Lead Levels in New York’s Public Housing|NYTimes
Do you live in a NYCHA development? What are conditions like in your apartment and building?