Greg Russ has a tough job ahead of him.
And on Wednesday, it didn't necessarily get better. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) acknowledged it's lagging way behind on its lead paint testing.
"We're a little bit behind," Russ said.
In April, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to test 135,000 NYCHA apartments with an x-ray gun for lead paint.
NYCHA first said it would finish the job by September 2020.
Then it became the end of 2020.
And now, in another perhaps foreboding sign, NYCHA is hiring two more contractors to try to catch up to that goal. Earlier this year, it hired seven contractors to do the job.
Gross: Are you going to be able to get that done by 2020?
Russ: That's the goal. That's the goal. That's why we are hiring more vendors.
NY1 looked at the numbers. So far, from April through mid-September, NYCHA has tested 14,064 apartments. Of those, 5,187 tested positive. The agency is waiting for results in thousands of cases.
The new head of the authority remains optimistic, despite the fact he has a lot of convincing to do. He has to prove he is capable of righting the authority, while taking on massive projects to develop revenue.
Like redeveloping the Fulton Houses in Chelsea.
The project has sparked opposition from the community, seen at NYCHA's monthly public meeting Wednesday:
Russ: No one has 168 million.
Meeting attendee: Oh, you think not?
Meeting attendee: I can find the money.
"Just because we are low-income families, working families that cannot afford the rent around us, doesn't mean you have to displace us, demolish our buildings," the woman added.
Gross: Are you still sticking with the plan as is?
Russ: I think what I would say is that we want to make sure the residents understand the plan and they understand the implications of it.
NYCHA also acknowledged Wednesday that it has delayed a request for proposals for the project. It looks like the agency will try to convince the residents to come on board first.
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