Public-Private Partnership To Clean Homes
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations announced a new initiative to address water damage and treat mold in homes impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Since the superstorm hit, the city has provided guidance on how to safely and effectively treat mold, and has collaborated with the Environmental Contractors Association to supply homeowners and volunteers with proper equipment to remove it. While homeowners can use FEMA assistance to address mold, costs can be significant, and there is no direct Federal funding available for mold remediation.
Using private money raised to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is launching a remediation program to remove mold in approximately 2,000 homes in the hardest hit areas. In partnership with the American Red Cross and the Robin Hood Foundation, the Mayor’s Fund is sponsoring a $15 million remediation program that will be administered by Neighborhood Revitalization NYC, an affiliate of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a community development not-for-profit corporation with 30 years of experience working in New York City.
Neighborhood Revitalization NYC will coordinate mold treatment that will be performed at no cost to the homeowner by private contractors and not-for-profit organizations. In addition to the direct mold treatment program, the Mayor’s Fund is sponsoring new awareness and safe practice trainings on mold treatment work. These free training sessions will take place in many of the hardest hit communities to educate homeowners and volunteers on how to effectively treat mold, and thousands of mold supply kits will be distributed at no cost.
“Since Hurricane Sandy hit New York City we have undertaken unprecedented steps to help thousands of New Yorkers recover and rebuild,” said Bloomberg. “Through our firstof its-kind Rapid Repairs program, we have helped more than 15,000 families return to their homes. But mold remains a challenge that many residents are confronting. Thanks to generous donations from people around the country and the world, the Mayor’s Fund, the Red Cross and the Robin Hood Foundation have teamed up to sponsor a $15 million moldclean up effort that will help thousands of families.”
Over the next few weeks, Neighborhood Revitalization NYC will work with the City, community casework organizations, local elected officials and other not-for-profits partners engaged in storm-related support through a referral process to identify high-need families for mold treatment. Households most in need will receive priority for these limited funds, and Neighborhood Revitalization NYC will begin assessments of homes thereafter.
Through these assessments, home repair specialists will determine how the program can appropriately address each qualifying household’s mold treatment needs.
While FEMA provides individual assistance directly to homeowners to complete work on their homes, including mold cleanup, the city cannot be federally reimbursed for mold remediation in private homes. Following Hurricane Sandy, the city provided extensive guidance on mold removal, worked with the Environmental Contractors Association to supply homeowners and volunteers with the proper equipment to remove mold and distributed hundreds of heaters and dehumidifiers at relief centers in the hardest hit areas.
The city’s public-private partnership builds upon these efforts by expanding mold treatment assistance in affected neighborhoods.
“The best way to fulfill our commitment to return every resident affected by Hurricane Sandy to safe and permanent housing is to help them get back to their own homes,” said Brad Gair, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations. “From Rapid Repairs to this new public-private partnership to tackle the problem of mold, this is just another way we’re helping families recover and rebuild from an unprecedented storm.”
“Although mold is not a serious health threat for most people, it is important to remove it properly to avoid its return,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “These efforts will help many affected New Yorkers to do that.”
Trainings and awareness sessions on mold remediation for homeowners and volunteers, sponsored by the Mayor’s Fund, will be led by CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Public Health, in coordination with the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The program will include 40 awareness sessions and 30 safe practices trainings at locations selected in conjunction with the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and community officials in the affected communities.
The Mayor’s Fund is also partnering with Home Depot to provide mold supply kits, free of charge to individuals who attend the sessions.
“Mold removal remains a vexing challenge for many Sandy victims, which is why we are urging that some of the funds made available by the recently passed relief bill be used to help homeowners address the problem,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. “In the meantime, this is a creative and smart move to address this problem now – and the City deserves credit for working with Robin Hood, the Red Cross and LISC to take the initiative.”
“Mold removal and the severe health implications that accompany mold infestation are among the major remaining issues for residents still recuperating from Hurricane Sandy,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “My office and the Brooklyn Recovery Fund have made dealing with mold a priority, and bravo to Mayor Bloomberg, the Office of Housing Recovery Operations, the Mayor’s Fund, the Red Cross and the Robin Hood Foundation for addressing the significant challenges that so many Brooklynites and New Yorkers still face because of mold. By allocating these funds specifically for mold removal in the hardest hit areas at no cost to homeowners and continuing to restore what was lost, we will ensure that New York rebuilds, rebounds and recovers until this city is even better than it was before.”
“This is a welcomed and desperately needed program to address the dangerous health issue faced by vulnerable populations who do not have the resources or ability to eliminate mold after Super-storm Sandy,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. “The mold remediation training sessions, now underway, will provide vital information to residents who can proceed on their own. But for severe cases, eligible households will now get the help they need to get back into their homes safely. I thank the Mayor’s Office and our partners in this endeavor, the Mayor’s Fund, Robin Hood Foundation and the Red Cross.”
“I applaud the Mayor’s Office and the other organizations that are pooling their public and private resources and for recognizing the need to accelerate the mold remediation process,” said State Sen. Malcolm Smith. “It is something that we will continue to monitor as we work with all New York City residents to rebuild and repair.”
“More than three months after Hurricane Sandy, while recovery and rebuilding is ongoing, families are beginning to discover that mold is a serious concern for their families,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “For most, mold remediation was too costly or when done, not addressed properly and now with summer season approaching, mold can have a very dangerous effect on our health and environment. I am proud to see the city is finally addressing the mold problem by introducing a program that will provide assistance to the families who need it most.”
More information on the mold remediation training sessions, locations and registering is available online at www.nyc.gov or by calling 311.