Pro Bono News

A Step Forward for New Yorkers Seeking Safe and Healthy Housing (NY)

Thursday, January 03, 2019

A Step Forward for New Yorkers Seeking Safe and Healthy Housing

"A team of pro bono attorneys at Proskauer recently celebrated a significant step forward in their fight for safe and healthy housing for the more than 400,000 New Yorkers who live in apartments operated by the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”), the largest public housing authority in the country.  Federal Judge William Pauley in the Southern District of New York entered an order requiring NYCHA to implement enhanced procedures to ensure the effective and timely remediation of mold and excessive moisture.  The order also creates independent oversight to ensure NYCHA’s compliance with these obligations.

The Court’s decision provides relief for a class of public housing tenants who suffer from asthma exacerbated by mold and water leaks.  As NYCHA has reported, 150,000 NYCHA residents, including 35,000 children under the age of 15, live in developments located in “asthma hotspots” that generate the highest rates of asthma-related emergency room visits in New York City.

In December 2013, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice and Natural Resources Defense Council filed Baez v. NYCHA, 13 Civ. 8916 (S.D.N.Y.), a class action lawsuit on behalf of these tenants and two nonprofit community empowerment organizations, Manhattan Together and South Bronx Churches, with the goal of eradicating mold from NYCHA apartments.  In 2014, the Court approved a consent decree in which NYCHA agreed to abate mold and excessive moisture problems within certain timeframes and to prevent the reoccurrence of these problems..."

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