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Tenants Pressure NYCHA to Speed Up Mold Remediation at Clinton Houses

By Gustavo Solis | September 1, 2015 5:30pm
 Residents chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho. This toxic mold has got to go," during a press conference outside East Harlem's Clinton Houses Tuesday morning.
Clinton Houses
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EAST HARLEM — Public housing residents say the city is not moving fast enough to rid their development of toxic mold.

Months after residents of the Clinton Houses blasted the new general manager for the complex's conditions including widespread mold they said NYCHA still has not eradicated the problem, resident Akrm Ahmed, 25, said.

“Here we are four months later and we are telling the public that NYCHA have not done what we asked for,” said Ahmed. “NYCHA is not doing their job to their fullest capabilities. Although they have come and made some repairs, they are not as effective as we want them to be.”

Ahmed spoke Tuesday morning in front of 1738 Lexington Ave. with about a dozen NYCHA residents during a press conference hosted by the local advocacy group Community Voices Heard.

The housing agency responded that they have been hard at work fixing leaks and repairing mold conditions in the development for months, spokeswoman Jackie Primeau said.

“We've done significant work to identify the root cause for nearly 120 apartments,” she said in a statement. “We've found plumbing fixtures that are 50 years old to be a major root cause for leaks, moisture buildup, and mold in the development. Expedited remediation is complete or underway at 65 distressed apartments.”

Additionally, NYCHA is in the process of securing 500 toilet replacements for the development, which will help tackle the cause of the mold.

Still, residents who have seen mold come back to walls after shoddy repairs are skeptical that the solutions will last.

“They send painters and plasterers with general work tickets to bleach, paint, patch, and conceal the source and effects of the leaks,” said resident Javier Sepulveda, 48. “I consider this a willful act of conceit bordering on criminal.”

Sepulveda has not paid rent on his $1,500 four-bedroom since 2013, when he was granted a rent abatement because of the water leak in his building, he said.

Since moving into the Clinton Houses five years ago, his teenage daughter has developed asthma. None of his other children have respiratory problems, he added.

To ensure NYCHA remains committed to making substantial repairs to Clinton Houses, Community Voices Heard asked that the city inspect every building for mold by Oct. 1.