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Housing

Orange County Justice United Wins Tenant Rights

Justice United leaders mobilized tenants throughout Orange County to attend three bi-lingual Fair Housing workshops and collaborate on a Bill of Rights with the UNC Legal Assistance Clinic and the County Human Relations Commission.

The resulting “Declaration of Tenants’ Rights and Responsibilities” includes a Resource Guide to help tenants find redress. JU leaders successfully petitioned the Towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, and the Orange County Board of Commissioners to endorse the Declaration. The Declaration has special importance in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, where a respective 64% and 52% of the total housing units are tenant occupied.

Over 150 low-income tenants were directly affected by this action. Thousands of area tenants now have documentation of their rights and responsibilities, including notation of the state statute that requires landlords to provide safe, habitable housing. Local governments heard from tenants about many of the issues they are facing, as a result, they will now be better able to assist tenants with ongoing issues and concerns.

Read more from Chapel Hill News

Metro IAF NY Wins Federal Judicial Oversight to Ensure Real Cleanup of Mold by NYCHA

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS- DEC 16

The City Housing Authority is about to come under judicial oversight to erase one of its worst plagues — creeping mold in aging apartments, the Daily News has learned. The city signed off on a consent decree Monday that will give a federal judge the ability to ensure the New York City Housing Authority finally eradicates the longstanding and dangerous condition.

The federal court intervention is seen as a game-changer in the battle to reform NYCHA’s inability to tackle an issue that affects hundreds of tenants citywide.The residents have waited in vain, sometimes for years, for NYCHA to answer requests to clean up toxic mold. Often the work was useless, with the agency painting over the mold without fixing the leak that caused it. Now, with the power of a federal court behind them, tenants and their attorneys can for the first time go directly to a judge to impose significant financial penalties on NYCHA if it doesn’t get the job done right.

Over the past year, the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, a civic group, has threatened to file suit charging the city has for years violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by housing hundreds of tenants with asthma in mold-infested units. The Monday settlement will allow a Manhattan federal judge to monitor NYCHA’s promised improvements over the next three years. 

Most important for tenants, the agreement makes mold abatement NYCHA’s top priority, with the agency committing to remedy all mold conditions — including the underlying leaky pipes — within 15 days of receiving a complaint. NYCHA must then follow up within 60 days to make sure the work was done correctly and to ensure mold and moisture “have been eliminated entirely.”

“This agreement is long in coming,” declared tenant Maribel Baez, whose asthma has been aggravated for years by mold in her Marlboro Houses apartment in Brooklyn. “My hope is that (with) Metro IAF, our lawyers and a federal court all keeping NYCHA and the city accountable, conditions for me and my fellow tenants will begin to improve.”

 

Metro IAF NY Wins Federal Judicial Oversight to Ensure Real Cleanup of Mold by NYCHA

The City Housing Authority is about to come under judicial oversight to erase one of its worst plagues — creeping mold in aging apartments, the Daily News has learned.

The city signed off on a consent decree Monday that will give a federal judge the ability to ensure the New York City Housing Authority finally eradicates the longstanding and dangerous condition.

EBC and NYCHA Leaders Take Action

More than 450 NYCHA tenants and leaders gathered at Our Lady of Mercy last night to say, as Nancy Baptiste from St. Paul put it, "Enough!"  The room was electric with anger and energy.   

Father Mason began by putting our fight to clean up NYCHA in the context of a larger 35-year struggle to rebuild our neighborhoods.  We've made great progress but we are not finished yet.  

Leader after leader testified about moldy ceilings, huge leaky holes, giant water bugs, and the damage these cause to their health.  "My apartment is making me sick," said Tawana Myers, who is recovering from two open-heart surgeries.  "Let me breathe.  Get some people to my apartment and my neighbors' apartments and start making the repairs."

Michell Hernandez, a young leader from Mercy, held up her family's nebulizer machine that she, her father and mother must use to breathe at night because the mold is so thick in their apartment.  She implored NYCHA to stop using paint to treat their mold.  "If my apartment were a patient at a hospital run by the New York City Housing Authority, it would be dead. Dead."  Get in there, she added, and find the source of the leak and treat it properly.

Reverend Bachus recalled with anger at witnessing a member of Mt. Ollie have an asthma attack at church.  "You're health should not be determined by the address that you are from.  But it is for many people who live in NYCHA."

You could feel the tension as Carlos Laboy-Diaz approached the microphone. Laboy-Diaz is NYCHA's VP for Operations and supervises the borough directors, including Brooklyn's Philip Calandrillo.  Reverend Brawley and Nyginer Brewer laid it out to Laboy-Diaz clearly:  this is a test and it's pass or fail.  To pass, you've got to commit to make the more than 400 repairs that we have spent weeks documenting and investigating, and too many years living.  

Laboy-Diaz quickly withdrew into NYCHA babble about how much progress they've made over the last year. Reverend Brawley cut him off, "You're not answering our question.  You've failed the first test.  Let's start over."  The back and forth continued for almost 10 minutes until finally Laboy-Diaz begrudgingly agreed to stop the leaks, repairs the walls, paint the living rooms and send the exterminators to almost 150 apartments.  

Laboy-Diaz has made commitments like this before to our allies at South Bronx Churches and then failed to deliver.  It's up to us to make him and Calandrillo follow through.  Next Monday, we'll lead a joint tour of a handful of these apartments so they can see first hand what tenants are living with.

Both teams -- the one up front and the larger one throughout the church -- did an excellent job together.  We had a good mix of new and veteran leaders and churches, and great anger and energy.  Congratulations to everyone who has spent the last 6 months meeting other church and school members; organizing house meetings and listening sessions; and finding scores of talented leaders willing to do the work to continue the rebuilding.

Advocates: Pr. William communities to get $30 million for housing pilot program

 

Millions in funding for a housing pilot program that would go toward restoring communities affected by the 2008 foreclosure crisis in Prince William County will be promised by two major financial institutions and a Virginia housing agency Monday, according to Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement.

Bloomberg vows to eliminate backlog of NYCHA repairs by end of year

Mayor Bloomberg promised Thursday to eliminate a stunning backlog of 420,000 public housing apartment repairs by the end of the year. But critics were skeptical the city could meet its goals. “Today marks the beginning of the end of this problem,” the mayor declared at a press conference in the Drew-Hamilton Houses in East Harlem.

Mayoral Candidates Hold Public Forum

Six major mayoral candidates squared off for the first time Thursday night, and all went on the attack — not against each other, but against Mayor Bloomberg.

Unexpected Focus at a Mayoral Forum

This year’s campaign for New York City mayor was expected to turn on police tactics, education policy and economic development.  On Thursday, six of the leading candidates in the race found themselves discussing something different: mold.

First affordable townhome of planned 22 lowered on foundation in Jackson Hill ceremony

The first in a series of new townhomes in the Jackson Hill neighborhood of Jersey City was lowered onto its foundation yesterday as part of a ceremony celebrating the new affordable housing.

Public Housing Residents Claim NYCHA Just Paints Over Mold Problems

It’s a cry for help from residents of New York City public housing. Many have been complaining about mold in their city apartments for years, but charge the New York City Housing Authority never really confronts the problem. “I’ve been having this problem over ten years now, with the mold. We [call] the complaint center, we put in a ticket and what they do is they come and they paint right over it and within three months, the mold starts to grow back again,” Rosanna De La Cuadra told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.

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