Public Housing tenants are hailing new guidelines for how the city assists tenants struggling with mold and moisture in their homes. Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Blanca Ramos has lived in the Jacob Riis Houses for almost a quarter century.
I love my apartment, I love my community,” she said.
Her children grew up here, but what won't stop growing is what she hates.
She says mold comes back every two years despite the New York City Housing Authority cleaning and painting over it.
“It's frustrating,” she said.
Ramos says the mold hasn't made her loved ones ill. Others aren't so lucky.
"I cannot spend more than 10 minutes in my bathroom at a time,” said Maribel Baez of the Melrose Houses.
Maribel Baez says her mold gave her asthma and a lung infection.
She joined other public housing residents and advocates Tuesday to announce what will be a binding agreement with the city.
After six months of negotiations, the Housing Authority has agreed to address the root cause of mold, moisture and often water leaks.
The talks began after tenants' lawyers threatened a class action suit.
"We know there is still a lot of work that we need to do,” said Rev. Getulio Cruz Jr.
The Housing Authority also promises a timely response to complaints and recognizes mold as a significant health threat, something that has these tenants hopeful.
"It makes me feel like something's going to get done, something's going to be accomplished. And I'm hopeful that this settlement actually will make this happen,” said Ramos.
If it doesn't, tenants now have a new power. The city agreed to oversight by a federal court for up to three years.