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NY1 For You: Neighbors Say Abandoned S.I. Homes Still Pose Health, Safety Threats

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Many homeowners who've recovered from Hurricane Sandy still have to deal with the effects of its aftermath on neighboring properties. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following "NY1 For You" report.

Mold has been a nagging concern that's plagued Christian Zagami and neighbors in one Dongan Hills section of Staten Island for a year now. Back in June, NY1 reported how an abandoned house, which was totally submerged in flood waters from Hurricane Sandy, sat littered and untouched.

"We had about 10 feet of water here," Zagami says.

At the time, the owner of the property couldn't be reached but a spokesperson for the city Department of Buildings said the agency would inspect the site. Now, four months later, nothing has changed.

Garbage has sat at the property for a year now and neighbors say they're so disappointed with the city's lack of action.

"You think they would take care of these things right away considering it could be a potential health hazard," Zagami says.

In August, "NY1 For You" reported on another abandoned house ravaged by Sandy with mold and cracks in its foundation in the New Dorp section of Staten Island, which also had neighbors on edge.

"I'm afraid it's going to fall onto my home and knock my house down," says New Dorp resident Jessica Abouabdallah.

"Sandy put a lot of water into it, and we're very concerned with the mold and the cracks," says New Dorp resident Jody Hannula.

At that time, NY1 contacted the Department of Health and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development which determined the house was structurally unstable and demolished it a week later.

The issue of abandoned homes flooded and damaged by Hurricane Sandy is one City Councilman James Oddo has tried to address by introducing a bill which would allow the city to remove mold in abandoned homes flooded by Sandy.

However, a spokesman at the city's Department of Health, who acknowledged they've received 40 complaints of mold in abandoned Sandy homes, says the agency has no evidence to suggest that mold in abandoned homes poses a health risk to neighbors. 

Meantime, all the same homeowners hold a collective breath waiting for the city to take action.

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