City Hall mum as NYCHA FOIL data lays bare more information about horrors facing NYCHA tenants

By LOUIS FLORES

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) was reportedly on a week-long vacation through several New England states as new information released by the New York City Housing Authority shed more light on the living conditions of public housing tenants.

As reported on Monday by Progress Queens, NYCHA data received by Progress Queens in response to an open records request revealed that NYCHA properties were the subject of over 13,000 separate records of the possible presence of asbestos. The .TXT file from which the analysis was made provided summaries of asbestos records that appeared to be test results ; no records of underlying tests were provided by NYCHA. Of those 13,000 records, building materials were reported to be positive for asbestos in over 3,800 instances.

The information about asbestos test results adds to the list of hazards shown to be in the building materials in, and in the general physical conditions of, public housing apartment complexes.

The municipal public housing authority is reportedly the subject of a Federal investigation over the exposure to lead or the risk of exposure to lead faced by NYCHA tenants, and NYCHA tenants have separately filed a class-action lawsuit against NYCHA, demanding the removal of mold from public housing developments.

As reported by Progress Queens, the exposure to lead and the risk of exposure to lead includes the presence of lead in drinking water at some NYCHA apartment complexes.

Besides the toxicity of hazards, public housing development tenants have had to confront plumbing leaks, leaks from exterior walls and roofs during rainstorms, lack of heat during the winter, and elevator accidents.

The de Blasio administration's response to the compromised living conditions of NYCHA's tenants has ranged from instructing tenants to let tap water run for an undetermined amount of time before taking tap water for human consumption to proposing the leasing of parking lots, playgrounds, and green spaces for future development to raise money in the future that could possibly someday pay for repairs.

Those responses have promised to have no impact to address the immediate need to improve the physical condition standards of NYCHA's public housing developments. Indeed, the Federal judge overseeing the class-action mold abatement lawsuit lost patience with movement on the mass tort litigation and appointed a special master to oversee the municipal public housing authority's compliance with a Court-approved settlement calling for the scheduled removal of mold.

NYCHA's public housing developments have fallen into such a state of disrepair due to a lack of adequate funding from the Federal Government, which provides funding for public housing through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the face of Federal budget cuts, neither the State of New York nor the City of New York have stepped in with replacement funding.

The de Blasio administration's response to NYCHA's troubles, including its financial challenges, have thus far been seized upon by the Editorial Board of The New York Post as an excuse to radically turn NYCHA over to private ownership.  Meanwhile, the Editorial Board of The New York Daily News have willingly embraced Mayor de Blasio's more neoliberal approach of getting rid of just some of NYCHA.

As Progress Queens has reported the latest revelations being gleaned from the maintenance logs produced by NYCHA in response to the open records requests, Mayor de Blasio has been on holiday. 

Mayor de Blasio's on-going absence from the City was noted in a message posted by the journalist Erin Durkin on the Twitter social media network.

Although the mayor was on vacation, City Hall declined to make available a housing administration official for an interview for this report.

For its part, NYCHA officials have ceased answering press inquiries submitted by Progress Queens in relation to the series of reports about the maintenance logs. Important questions, such as how NYCHA officials differentiate mold from mildew service requests remain unanswered.

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