The federal monitor who is in charge of overseeing reforms at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) (The Projects) stated in a recently-released report that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down the agency’s progress toward meeting deadlines to eliminate unsafe and unsanitary conditions in public housing developments, The Chief-Leader reports.
Lead Paint Inspections Lagging
Last year, NYCHA kicked off lead-paint inspections at 135,000 apartments using advanced X-ray equipment as part of a deal reached between the de Blasio administration, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office requiring NYCHA to address long standing problems including mold, broken elevators, aging heating equipment and lead paint that may
result in lead poisoning.
NYCHA planned to complete the lead paint inspections by the end of this year. But, testing started off very slowly and by March 26, only 30% of the units had been inspected. At the end of January, NYCHA also announced it would test 174 community centers that serve young children, as part of its agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Federal Monitor Bart Schwartz believed that the speed of these inspections would be further inhibited by the coronavirus pandemic. Schwartz said the pandemic has had a significant impact on NYCHA’s ability to enter apartments for inspections and repairs.
When the city reopens, there will be a tremendous backlog of work orders and Schwartz said the agency must develop a strategy to prioritize and complete those jobs. The crisis has affected the agency’s remedial work in a number of ways. Staff members have been taking time off. The report stated that just in the first week of April, more than 20% of the agency’s employees were absent from work, which is more than twice the typical absence rate. The monitor noted that staffing levels are beginning to rebound.
The Lead Paint Scandal
NYCHA came under scrutiny in 2018 after its agency head at the time falsely reported to HUD earlier that they had conducted thousands of lead paint inspections. Long-term lead exposure is particularly dangerous for children under the age of 6.
Lead poisoning in children can cause serious health issues including developmental delays, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. During the summer of 2018, it was revealed that between January 2012 and June 2018, 1,160 children living in public housing or the Projects had lead levels between 5 and 9 micrograms per deciliter of blood. That’s the level at which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a public health intervention.
COVID-19 has also disproportionately affected black and Latino residents and low-income communities. So far, more than 1,200 NYCHA residents have died from the coronavirus and questions have been raised about NYCHA’s response to the pandemic as well as its safety measures at the public housing developments.
NYC Lead Poisoning Lawyer
Whether you have been living as a tenant at a private apartment complex or in a public housing unit (the Projects), please remember that you have legal rights. If your child has been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, regardless of whether you live in public or private housing, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the NYCHA (the Projects) or private landlords (building owners) for damages. Those who have been affected can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, cost of diagnostic tests, permanent injuries, lost income and benefits, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If your child has been affected by lead poisoning, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
Our firm recovered $1,162,500 for a child who suffered lead poisoning from paint in her apartment. The child’s injuries were subtle and difficult to recognize. We recovered $162,500 above the $1 million dollar total insurance policy in this case. Despite the judge’s efforts to settle the case for $950,000, we fought hard and recovered $162,500 more than the insurance policy of one million dollars. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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