This Tuesday, November 14, a report by the New York City Department of Investigation found that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has failed to conduct mandatory safety inspections in units that may contain lead paint since 2013.
New York State Senator Brian A. Benjamin is calling for:
- The completion of these inspections by the next HUD report.
- The immediate establishment of a task force to oversee the lead inspection process.
- The federal government to immediately provide funding and a time table for lead abatement in these 55,000 apartments, approximately 4,200 of which include a child under the age of six for whom exposure to lead is particularly detrimental.
- Mayoral review of whether or not the current NYCHA leadership can implement the policy and procedure recommendations of the Department of Investigation.
These inspections, which are required by both federal and local law, are intended to mitigate the risk of exposure to lead, which can lead to damage of the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, hematological system, and kidneys. These hazards are even greater for children, for whom lead poses a risk to healthy development. “My district has more than 10% of NYCHA developments, more than any other Senate district, and so this issue disproportionally affects my constituents,” said Senator Benjamin.
NYCHA’s roughly 150,000 units are home to a population comparable to Atlanta or Boston and roughly 5% of New York City’s population. Though the public servants at NYCHA are dedicated to providing a safe environment for residents, administering the needs of a community this large is a difficult feat. With the threat of funding cuts from Donald Trump’s administration, it is important that public officials provide the support and oversight necessary to NYCHA, its staff, and its residents to ensure that NYCHA is able to provide safe, affordable housing and facilitate access to social and community services.
“My background is in affordable housing, and so preserving and improving NYCHA, one of the last sources of truly affordable housing, is a priority to me,” said Senator Benjamin. “I am committed to elevating the voices of those who know best what NYCHA developments need–its residents–and to advocating for them in the State Legislature and at home in New York City.”
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