FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2013
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES NEW PROGRAM TO ADDRESS WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD IN NEIGHBORHOODS HARDEST HIT BY HURRICANE SANDY
Unique Public-Private Partnership to Help Expand Mold Treatment Assistance in Affected Neighborhoods
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations today announced a new initiative to address water damage and treat mold in homes impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Since Hurricane Sandy, the City has provided comprehensive 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 Mayor Bloomberg. “Through our first-of-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 mold-clean-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 unique 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.”
“The Mayor’s Fund continues to work closely with City and community partners to help tackle some of the biggest challenges, such as mold, facing New Yorkers in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,” said Mayor’s Fund President Megan Sheekey. “We are grateful to all of our donors and philanthropic partners who share this commitment to the City’s recovery.”
“As our focus shifts toward recovery, it is important that New Yorkers fix up their homes in ways that help address and prevent the return of mold,” said Josh Lockwood, CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York. “Thanks to the generosity of the public, and this partnership, we are taking an important step forward in helping our neighbors put Sandy behind them. There is still much more work to do and the Red Cross remains committed to helping meet the unmet needs of communities across the region.”
“Robin Hood is proud to partner with the Mayor’s Fund and the Red Cross on this important project,” said David Saltzman, executive director of Robin Hood. “LISC’s work will go a long way toward helping families in some of our most devastated communities – including Red Hook, the Rockaways, Staten Island and Breezy Point – get back on their feet.”
“This is a critical piece of an ongoing effort at LISC to address the needs of families hit hard by the storm, as well as the longer term challenges facing the communities where they live,” said Denise Scott, Managing Director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s New York City program. “Many of the neighborhoods devastated by Sandy were already facing significant economic problems. Helping families treat mold is one step toward helping their neighborhoods with recovery. We’re grateful to the City for this continued focus on the people who need help most.”
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 Senator 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 is one of the biggest public health challenges to come from Superstorm Sandy,” said Representative Michael Grimm. “If it’s not completely and properly removed, it could lead to a sick house and serious health problems down the road for residents. From the beginning, my office has worked diligently to educate homeowners on the dangers of mold and best practices for clean-up; however, the problem is still prevalent. The Mayor’s mold initiative meets a critical need on Staten Island and I urge residents to take advantage of this program without delay.”
“I commend the City for taking this initiative, which is another step in making people whole by helping them return to their homes,” said Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro.
“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 Senator Malcolm Smith. “It is something that we will continue to monitor as we work with all New York City residents to rebuild and repair.”
“I applaud the Mayor’s Office for their organization of important Mold Training Workshops and mold remediation efforts for the families affected by Superstorm Sandy,” said State Senator Marty Golden. “It is important that all homeowners and residents, who suspect or have mold present in their homes, be educated properly and those most in need receive help in removing it. New Yorkers must understand the danger of mold and must make sure to rid their home of it entirely to provide for healthy living. After what these families have experienced over the past three months, we do not need anyone falling ill from mold.”
“I am happy the Mayor is addressing this issue,” said State Senator Diane Savino. “Going forward we believe this is a public health issue for a while if not handled correctly. It is critically important to get people to get back in their homes. The Rapid Repairs program was the start now this is the next logical step.”
“Providing the tools that provide proper remediation of mold infested homes is vital to ensuring that people can safely return to their homes,” said State Senator Andrew Lanza. “The generosity of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and all those who made these donated funds available is greatly appreciated.”
“I commend the Mayor for providing much needed help to homeowners hit by Sandy,” said Assembly Member Michael Cusick. “Mold has been a concern from the start of the recovery process and could have long term health affects for families rebuilding. This is an issue we need to earnestly address in order to prevent future illnesses.”
“Mold has been a constant and frightening issue since the storm hit,” said Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis. “It’s hard enough to properly educate homeowners on how to perform effective mold abatement, and even harder to help them get the materials needed for the job. I’m glad the City has found a way to step in and get these people the help they need.”
“Staten Islanders impacted by Sandy continue to need help of all kinds,” said Council Member James Oddo. “The mold challenge is real, critical and needs to be addressed. I applaud the Bloomberg Administration for this program.”
“Neighborhoods hit hard by Sandy are now being overrun with mold, posing critical health and safety risks to New Yorkers who are fighting to get back on their feet,” said Council Member Dominic Recchia. “The initiative launched today is so important because it empowers people with the tools and resources they need to address this issue. I am proud to work with the Mayor and other partners to ensure this program's success.”
“The residents of the South Shore are facing myriad housing problems as they struggle to recover from the worst storm in this city’s history,” said Council Member Vincent Ignizio. “This mold cleaning program will help alleviate one of those issues for those residents who need it most.”
The first series of trainings on mold remediation are listed below, and locations in the hardest hit areas will continue to be updated as they are scheduled. More information on the sessions, locations and registering is available online at www.nyc.gov or by calling 311:
About the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations
The Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations is committed to planning and implementing innovative and effective solutions to the housing needs caused by Hurricane Sandy. Through NYC Rapid Repairs, the City has already completed emergency repairs on more than 14,000 residences. These emergency repairs are free of charge and include the restoration of heat, power and hot water and other limited repairs to protect a home from further significant damage.
About the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is supporting immediate aid needs as well as long-term restoration efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Working with City agencies, donations are being directed to recovery efforts and organizations. In the first stage of recovery, the Mayor’s Fund helped provide approximately 330,000 hot meals and purchased and distributed hundreds of thousands of urgently needed supplies including body warmers, warm clothing, baby supplies and groceries. The Mayor’s Fund is additionally supporting longer-term initiatives, including nonprofit and small business loans and grants, homeowner assistance, neighborhood revitalization and park restoration.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.
About the Robin Hood Foundation
The Robin Hood Foundation finds, funds and partners with programs that are a consistent force for good in the lives of New Yorkers in need. The Robin Hood Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund has granted tens of millions of dollars to hundreds of organizations throughout New York’s tri-state region that are helping individuals and families recover from the devastating effects of the storm. In addition, Robin Hood’s board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, so 100 percent of your donation goes directly to organizations helping victims of Hurricane Sandy rebuild their lives.
About the Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Local Initiatives Support Corporation combines corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize distressed neighborhoods. Since 1980, Local Initiatives Support Corporation has raised $12 billion to build or rehab 289,000 affordable homes and develop 46 million square feet of retail, community and educational space nationwide, and its support has leveraged nearly $40 billion in total development activity.
Marc La Vorgna / Kamran Mumtaz (212) 788-2958
Peter Spencer (Housing Recovery Operations) (212) 615-8085
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