Statement released by NYCHA Federal Monitor Bart M. Schwartz on October 22, 2020
Soon after I was appointed, we immediately got to work to establish three new departments at NYCHA. The Compliance Department is one of the three and it has taken responsibility to determine the scope and scale of the lead problem and attack it, especially circumstances where children under six are at risk of lead contamination. As you may recall, under the prior leadership at NYCHA I met with resistance when I asserted that NYCHA had not done enough in this area. The work we have done since with NYCHA to locate those children, and to protect them, has been intensive. Under NYCHA’s new leadership, significant progress has been made. The effort reveals that a far greater number of children under six may be at risk of lead exposure than was thought just two years ago.
NYCHA reported to us this week that as a result of its dialogue with residents during in-apartment XRF testing visits, and NYCHA’s “door knocking” campaign, through which NYCHA directly engages residents, it has identified a significantly larger number of apartments where children under six reside who might be exposed to lead risks. Approximately 6,000 apartments have been added to the count available two years ago, which was around 3,000 based on an annual certification process.
Now, of course, the job is to ensure that the children are protected from lead risks. NYCHA already has undertaken numerous steps in that direction. With this new information, the importance of quickly and thoroughly implementing all necessary actions must be emphasized. I am committed to seeing these lead safety steps be taken as soon as possible. Protecting these children is a central part of my mission as Monitor.
Very truly yours,
Bart M. Schwartz
Federal Monitor appointed pursuant to Agreement dated January 31, 2019