The Real Deal New York

Feds probe elevated blood-lead levels at NYCHA housing, homeless shelters

Judge’s order compels city to produce information about cases
March 17, 2016 10:37AM


NYCHA’s Shola Olatoye and Preet Bharara

A federal judge issued an order demanding the city release information related to cases where people residing at public housing and homeless shelters had elevated levels of lead detected in their blood.

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene rejected an earlier request for the information from a civil investigation in order not to violate city and state health codes, according to court documents.

Federal prosecutors are investigating environmental health and safety conditions at New York City Housing Authority complexes and homeless shelters, the New York Times reported. The investigation is also looking into “possible false claims” submitted by the city to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Prosecutors are seeking documents from NYCHA and the Department of Homeless Services about cases where rising levels of lead have been detected in the blood of residents, the Times reported. The feds are also seeking the dates of those cases as well as environmental investigation dates.

NYCHA, which is already under court supervision for its handling of mold repairs, cited shrinking federal funds and aging infrastructure at its myriad complexes as part of the problem.

The agency is moving forward with its controversial infill plan, which will build apartments on underutilized public land on NYCHA complexes, to bring in anywhere from $300 million to $600 million in revenue. [NYT]Dusica Sue Malesevic