NYCHA agrees to court’s monitoring in mold case

 Rosanna de la Cuada has a daughter with asthma and mold that keeps coming back after faulty NYCHA fixes in her home at Van Dyke Houses in Brooklyn.

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

Rosanna de la Cuada’s 7-year-old daughter has asthma, and mold in their apartment keeps coming back after faulty New York City Housing Authority fixes.

For public housing tenants like Rosanna de la Cuada, help is on the way.

The New York City Housing Authority signed off Tuesday on an unprecedented settlement agreeing to judicial oversight of its troubled effort to erase tenacious mold from hundreds of aging apartments.

De la Cuada’s daughter, Amanda, 7, now suffers from asthma in a Van Dyke Houses apartment in Brooklyn crawling with spores.

RELATED: NYCHA TO COME UNDER JUDICIAL OVERSIGHT OVER MOLD

“In the entire time, my family and I have had repeated leaks which we reported to NYCHA,” she said. “They painted over it, but the mold came back.”

Second-grader Amanda sometimes had problems breathing when the mold got really bad, and takes medication twice a day to control her illness.

Rosanna de la Cuadra and her daughter Amanda Santos live at Van Dyke Houses in Brooklyn. Their mold-plagued apartment will be fixed in about two weeks, NYCHA promises.

Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News

Rosanna de la Cuadra and her daughter Amanda Santos live at Van Dyke Houses in Brooklyn. Their mold-plagued apartment will be fixed in about two weeks, NYCHA promises.

When de la Cuada informed NYCHA about her daughter’s condition, NYCHA gave her a repair date — in June 2014.

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Under the settlement, NYCHA must fix the problem within 15 days. If they don’t comply, de la Cuada, a 39-year-old drugstore employee, and any other NYCHA tenants with asthma can ask the judge to impose fines.

“I hope that this is a beginning of a new day at NYCHA,” she said standing outside Manhattan Federal Court as the settlement was filed.

NYCHA agreed to settle the suit — filed by the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, a civic group, and the Natural Resources Defense Council — that alleges for years the agency has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not eradicating mold from apartments where tenants with asthma live.

RELATED: NYCHA HEDGES BET ON FINISHING FIXES

NYCHA Chairman John Rhea’s repair crews will have 15 days to scour mold from apartments where asthmatics live, including the unit that houses Rosanna de la Cuadra and her daughter.

Craig Warga/New York Daily News

NYCHA Chairman John Rhea’s repair crews will have 15 days to scour mold from apartments where asthmatics live, including the unit that houses Rosanna de la Cuadra and her daughter.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley got the case and will monitor NYCHA’s compliance for up to three years.

A key change is that NYCHA has agreed to abandon its practice of simply painting over the mess and vows to repair underlying problems such as leaky pipes that spawn mold.

And every three months, NYCHA will, for the first time, be required to provide detailed reports about what they’ve done to address mold complaints, including the number of repairs not effectively addressed.

RELATED: NYCHA TENANTS WAIT YEARS FOR BASIC REPAIRS

On Tuesday, NYCHA officials said in the past year the agency “has made great strides in reducing the number of mold complaints,” though they provided no specifics.

NYCHA spokeswoman Sheila Stainback said the agreement “will lead to protocol enhancements that are beneficial to our residents.” She declined to discuss how they would accomplish this.

Tenants’ lawyers have asked the judge to allow all tenants who have asthma and mold in their apartments to sue as a class. The city has agreed not to fight the class designation, but the judge has the final say.

Pauley still must approve the agreement, and lawyers expect the agreement to go into effect early next year.


Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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